Re: Jeffrey Lord’s The Coming Conservative Platform Fight:
Ambassador Bolton stuck to his principles in his role for the writing of the 1984 Republic Platform. He paid a price for his standing on principles when he was denied Senate approval for his post as U.N. Ambassador. Will true Conservative and Libertarian Republicans be willing to stick to their principles when they fight the Moderates (i.e., RINO’s)? If the GOP is to survive as a viable party, the platform must be a formal statement of fiscal, social and moral responsibility. With Senator Fred Thompson dropping out of the race (what was the point of running, Senator?) the remaining candidates all fall short on Conservative bona fides. Governor Romney, his record is, at best, inconsistent. Mayor Giuliani, even with his pledge to nominate conservative judges to all levels of the court, would be a bitter pill to swallow for social conservatives. Governor Huckabee, well, he will be out of money and then the race soon enough. (Good riddance. His lack of fiscal restraint, questionable judgment and backwoods charm and willingness to pander to audience — e.g., his talk about the Confederate Battle flag while campaigning in South Carolina — was sickeningly reminiscent of another Arkansas Governor.) Now is the time for all good Conservatives to rally to the protection of their country. Without a solid platform to stand upon, no matter who our nominee might be, he will be standing on shaky ground.
Although the late, great comedian Red Skelton spoke the following words, his meaning is deadly serious:, “Our principles are the springs of our actions. Our actions are the springs of our happiness or misery. Too much care, therefore, cannot be taken in forming these principles.”
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
I would like to express my appreciation of the work that Mr. Bolton has done for the country and the Republican Party. My hope is that his tenacity will endure and he will continue to influence the platform in the coming election. He is a rare breed in the land of bureaucracy, man who stands by his convictions.
— Tom Bullock
West Covina, California
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Mitt’s Premature Obits:
I appreciated Jeremy Lott’s article on Romney today. It was the one article throughout the ‘net that recognized that Romney does indeed have a chance to win the GOP nomination.
The Novaks, Barneses and the like are consummate Washington insiders…all they want to do is promote McCain. George W Bush would have faced the same resistance if it hadn’t been for his name as well as the enthusiastic support of a wide spectrum of talented GOP governors. President Bush hasn’t played the insider game, either, opting to do his job, go to bed early and keep a tight reign on his administration. That doesn’t make him popular among conservative “insiders.” The Beltway insiders realize they would face the same with Romney. He would treat them with the same relative disdain that Bush has.
Another thing Romney is facing is out and out class warfare, even in the GOP. All the other candidates resent that Romney has the money and is willing to “put that money where his mouth is.” Of course, being someone who cares little about Washington insider politics, Romney needed to do that if he had any chance of winning. He certainly wasn’t going to get the good press that their buddy McCain has.
If the new Florida Rasmussen poll is any indicator at all of the movement in the Florida primary, maybe, just maybe, people are taking a look at Romney despite all the bad press he gets from the well-known Washington mouthpieces. Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the country will start looking past the negativity of the standard columnists as well. If so, Romney will start leading the pack as the candidate most closely aligned with the GOP. It remains to be seen.
One other thought that I have yet to see written anywhere:
People are fed up with the partisan bickering in Washington. Knowing their approval rating is lower than low because of the bickering, the Congressional Democrats are playing nice with President Bush right now on the stimulus package. They realize there is an election coming up for them, too.
— Sue Evans
Re: G. Tracy Mehan III’s More Sadness:
The points made by G. Tracy Mehan need saying and re-saying. Sometimes a little perspective is necessary. We gloss over the fact that the 40 million choices made since Roe v. Wade meant that 40 million souls were never allowed to live through their gestation. We’re often smug in our perceived goodness, and like to think of the United States as the “shining city on the hill,” and the one-way traffic at the borders would tend to confirm it. But we neglect to look at ourselves as God would.
Forty million lives taken. Kind of makes Hitler and Eichmann with their 6 million, look like amateurs, doesn’t it? And we’re gaining on the evil empire, and the Chi-Coms who both took near 100 million while imposing the joys of Communism on their respective populations. We need to remind ourselves that Christ died for our sins too, and there are a bunch of them.
— John T. O’Connor
The sanctimonious pontificating by G. T. was just a tad too much. What is there about the word “choice” does he (and others in the Morality Police) not understand?
Scoffing and lecturing about the evils of abortion, gay crap and stem-cells can be very annoying when harped upon so relentlessly (and I sure can see the replies coming!), but the fact remains: My wife and I were/are pro-Choice, and we had three kids.
Additionally, having those “social conservatives” (who would joyfully outlaw the Morning After pill) ceaselessly tell our daughters what they may/may not do with their bodies — that’s pretty damned presumptuous.
One more time — clean up your own houses first, so much of the hypocrisy I’ve seen/heard (especially from the thoroughly ignorant Huckabee backers) recently is appalling!
Stop looking through our bedroom windows and get the priorities in a better sequence, ‘ay? We need a STRONG president, not just a bunch of supercilious platitudes — we have to survive the terrorists and illegal alien threats to our very existence first.
— Jack Frost
Is it a coincidence that the number of abortions over the past 30 years is roughly equivalent to the number of illegal aliens who entered the U.S. during the same period? I think not.
— David Govett
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s The Cost of Hollow Words:
I understand the point: Recognize disasters while they are happening and try to do something effective to stop them. Any normal person who goes to a Holocaust exhibit has an emotional reaction of horror and disgust that our fellow humans are capable of such atrocities. President Bush had that reaction. However, the article presumes that the U.S. fought WWII in order to save the Jews from genocide. When held to that premise, the failure to bomb the camps, or the railroads leading to the camps, is to share in the guilt. But the U.S. did not fight the war to prevent the genocide of the Jews. Instead, the U.S. fought the war to defeat Japan and Germany. This defeat also stopped the genocide of the Jews. I reject the notion that the U.S. “enabled” the atrocity by “our apathy.” The hundreds of thousands of U.S. war dead were not “apathetic.”
— C.J. Small
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
I fear you understate the problem re: the Holocaust and Israel, and Bush’s comments, which though they may reflect W’s attitudes, do not reflect the direction of his administration, which is toward accommodating Islamofascism. To connect a few dots, that perhaps shouldn’t be connected, I would call your attention to the article on “Forever War” in the latest issue of The American Conservative, which has a picture of Rudi Giuliani on the cover in brown shirt. The edition has several articles on Rudi and calls him a fascist. The article on “Forever War” is by Michael Desch, a realist, recently ensconced in the Robert Gates Chair at the Bush School in College Station, Texas, at Texas A&M University. As you are well aware, Robert Gates recently left the Presidency of the University to assume the Secretary of Defense position, where he has done little except make some rather unusual comments here and there. He has no clear cut ideological position, but seems to be a place holder with Realist credentials possibly sent in by the Elder Bush, or his advisors such as Scowcroft, ostensibly “Realists” all, to keep Bush 2nd from going too far off the tracks with his “Democracy” thing (too late for Bhutto and Pakistan, where chaos reigns following her unfortunately all-too-predictable assassination). Mr. Desch, on the other hand, reputedly a scholar, in this recent article, seems to be nothing more than a partisan hack for the Realist school labeling Giuliani a fascist. And why does he do that? Apparently because Giuliani has a cadre of Jewish advisors who happen to be strong on anti-terrorism, particularly of the Islamic variety. The American Conservative is Pat Buchanan’s magazine. Pat Buchanan has always evinced a certain degree of anti-Semitism. Imagine Pat Buchanan calling Giuliani fascist because he hires Jewish advisors (neocons, all, supposedly). And because he is strongly anti-Islamofascism???!!!
Combine the above with the fact that Mr. Coughlin, the Pentagon’s top expert on Islamic law, was just fired, ostensibly for being too recalcitrantly hard on Islamofascism!
Combine that with George Bush’s attempt to get an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of his term. When Bill Clinton was trying to broker peace, and achieve his “legacy,” he ignored Islamic terrorist attacks across the board and built a wall between intelligence services to apparently avoid offending Arab and Islamic sensibilities while he brokered peace, which of course was rejected after virtually complete capitulation to Arafat’s demands. It seems that the Bush administration is going out of its way to avoid offending Jihadists while it tries to broker an impossible Israeli/Palestinian peace (most notably this effort may at least rid Israel of the Olmert administration, with a likely collapse of his government and a return of Benjamin Netanyahu and the conservatives to power in Israel — not exactly George Bush’s goal, but he seems to be falling a lot short of his goals lately). It appears that Bush is softening his position on Islamic terrorism to facilitate peace negotiations a la Clinton. Although Bush has been strong on support of Israel to this point, he seems to be shifting, trending more in the direction of the “Realists” toward appeasing Islamic terrorism. And Bush doesn’t seem to mind having surrogates at his father’s school do the dirty work.
Imagine bashing Rudy because he is the strongest by far on Islamofascism. Why would Bush seem to want to bury Rudy in his presidential bid? Do the Bush’s think Rudy is too strong on terrorism? What is the game here? Why has Bush said so many nice things about Hillary, and how well she would do as President? Is this all money from Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, and the Arab world that is behind both the Bushes and the Clintons? (Bill has certainly received a lot of money from Arab interests, incredible amounts for speeches, and including a coming 20 million dollar payout from Burkle’s company for which Clinton is an “advisor” in bed with Dubai princes.) I sense a potential betrayal in the making vis-a-vis Israel, a cashiering of Israeli interests even though Israel is by far our best ally. I think this administration is going to not just go wobbly on Islamofascism, including Iran (note the recent NIE taking Iran off the hot seat), but actually act to traduce Israeli interests in the name of “Realism” and “American interest” or W’s legacy, as Clinton tried to do. This of course would be completely shameful and extremely short-sighted. Nevertheless, the administration tilt seems to be back toward the Arab states, away from Israel, as was more characteristic of George H.W. Bush’s administration, even as we are treated to ever more efforts within the country to promote Wahhabism and advance a Jihadi agenda through our courts. Not a pleasant picture, from my standpoint. And not in America’s short or long-term interests, although I think it would be helpful to get Olmert out. That might even result in Israel taking unilateral action to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which obviously the U.S. is not going to do (and so of course no one else is).
— Kent Lyon
College Station, Texas
Jay Homnick writes that “The official reasons for not bombing the crematoria [at Auschwitz-Birkenau] were shifting and flimsy at best.” While I can’t speak for the “official reasons,” there are several reasons to question the retrospective judgment that the Allies should have struck Auschwitz from the air.
(1) Auschwitz received its first prisoners in May 1940 but was not in range of Allied bombers until the capture of Foggia airfield in October 1943. The last prisoners were killed in November 1944. Thus, even if a raid had been launched at the earliest possible date and been entirely successful, it would have done nothing for those killed before late 1943, and would have shortened the camp’s operations by only one year out of four and a half. (Realistically a raid would have required photo reconnaissance and other preparations: the later the raid took place, the fewer lives it could arguably have saved.)
(2) Strategic bombing in the Second World War was notoriously inaccurate. Allied bombers could easily have killed large numbers of prisoners yet not damaged the gas chambers and crematoria, which were relatively small targets. Gas chambers and crematoria are also not complex facilities: and if damaged or destroyed, they could have been easily and quickly repaired or rebuilt.
(3) Bombing Auschwitz would have required diverting resources from operations that were (or at least were perceived to be) critical to ending the war quickly. Thus bombing Auschwitz would have prolonged the war, extended the duration of the Nazi regime, and probably produced a net increase in the number of Holocaust victims (along with the risk that prisoners in the camps would be killed by the bombing itself).
(4) Even if Auschwitz had been destroyed from the air, the Nazi regime was fully capable of killing elsewhere or by other means. Auschwitz accounts for only about a quarter of the Holocaust, and gas chambers (including those at other locations) for about half. Even after the largest camps shut down in the winter of 1944-45, the murder continued through death marches, forced labor, starvation and execution. The Nazis’ goal was extermination: gas chambers were only a means to that end, and if those were not available (e.g. if they had been destroyed by bombing), they could and did use others.
Whatever the Allied leaders’ motives or their attitude towards Jewish suffering, they were right to concentrate their available power on destroying the Nazi regime as quickly as possible. Had they done otherwise, I wonder if Mr. Homnick would condemn them for wasting effort on a futile and counter-productive bombing that did nothing but save the Nazis some effort by killing by killing some of their Jewish prisoners.
— Charles Kalina
Your contributor Jay D. Homnick states today that “McGovern was one of those American pilots who flew over Auschwitz to bomb oil rigs five miles away. He told his questioner: ‘God forgive us this tragic miscalculation.'”
While I agree with the sentiment expressed, that Allied military action against Nazi death camps seems on the surface to have been desirable, I cannot help but question the detail presented by Mr. Homnick.
The USAAF would have had substantial difficulty locating oil rigs five miles away from Auschwitz as there were none.
On the 1st August 1943 the US did conduct a raid on Europe’s main oil field from bases in Libya, but this oil field was in Ploiesti in Romania, a considerable distance from southern Poland and at the extremity of the range of the aircraft involved ( B-24 Liberators). So difficult was this mission and so high were the casualties (66% of those involved ) that the operation is sometimes known as “Black Sunday.”
Operations by the RAF of a similar distance from base (e.g. the raid on Konigsberg of the 29th/30th August 1944 ) were only successful if they could avoid flying over the massive anti-aircraft defenses of occupied Europe. Any raid on Auschwitz would have involved Allied aircraft flying in substantial numbers over the whole of Germany, the Low Countries and much of Poland, subject to ack-ack and fighter attack all the way and at the absolute limit of their range. Ploiesti was bad, but this had all the potential to be much worse.
Any assertion that this is not so tends to ignore fact, as Mr. Homnick did on this occasion.
More importantly for conservative discourse, this approach exalts the ability of both the writer and the reader to emote above the power to reason.
We rightly condemn the “liberal” left for this — none of us should follow the same path.
Israel has a better friend in truth and the balanced thought regarding future eventualities which Mr. Homnick seeks to display toward the end of his article.
— Alan Healy
Re: George Neumayr’s The Two-Headed Billary Beast:
I agree with Mr. Neumayr. The Clintons vs. the Forthright Young Senator was fun to watch, especially when Mrs. Clinton bugged her eyes out in pretend astonishment. But don’t let the entertainment value of the event delude you, no matter how prickly the language. Senator Obama is helping Mrs. Clinton take the White House. That’s why he’s not using the really juicy things Mr. Neumayr suggests. That stuff may stick or leave bruises.
The simple melody of the bogus conflict between the Honorable Bill and Sister Souljah in ’92 is now the grand opera of a running fight between Senator Obama and the former First Lady, with her helpmate providing comic relief. Obama’s role in this undertaking is threefold:
(1) He is to run his mouth about truth, justice, taxes and diversity using rhetoric so extravagant it will make Mrs. Clinton appear sane.
(2) He is to fight the good fight to the very last, saying enough silly and inflammatory things along the way to keep the Birkenstock and Ovaltine wing of the party from losing hope and deserting when Hilly talks tough about national security. Such a campaign should stir up enough turmoil and hot water to attract a tribe of adolescent zealots who believe in Obama, who will follow him into the desert carrying signs and sealing envelopes.
(3) He is to make whatever noises it takes to keep Ralph Nader from running, or to make Nader drop out and endorse Hillary before the November election.
When the primaries are over Obama will concede defeat, embrace his former opponent, and deliver the goods: support of the faithful, labor of the zealots, his aura of sanctity. She will congratulate him on a noble effort, and her nomination will not seem so much like a coronation. In return, he will get bottom spot on the ticket.
If she loses, he’s the sure-thing candidate in ’12, although he may be that even if she wins. If she wins two terms, he will still be a young man when she leaves office. All of this is predicated on the assumption that she will keep her end of the bargain.
This arrangement will be rendered unnecessary if the NYSE closes down a thousand on Tuesday, driving gold up to two thousand an ounce, and launching world markets off into the great beyond. After that, no Republican in America will be able to undo what lies ahead. Start hoarding Rolaids. Learn Farsi.
— Edmund Dantes
It appears that the Year of the Migraine is to be accompanied by the Year America Lost It. It saddens me to say, but I believe that America has reached a crucial tipping point, in that too many Americans who vote, have become civically ignorant and or stupid. As Mr. Neumayr accurately points out, most Democrats and the MSM remain enamored with the Clinton Circus act of 2008. Hillary’s sense of entitlement, ( for which ever of her many crosses she bears) along with Bill Clinton’s unseemly and narcissistic desire to once again occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as co-president, has received to date, little admonishment from the “adults.”
But for the fact that the “Billary Beast” is viciously tag-teaming a fellow Black Democrat, this phenomenon would go on, supported by wild cheers of admiration. On the other hand, Republicans, looking for the most conservative among our nominees in the primary process, are chastised as being out of touch, too rich, or just not with the “new conservatism.” In addition, we’re chided for aiding and abetting the way for the Hillary coronation. Call me thick, but when exactly did cutting and pasting the Constitution, big government R style, and open boarders, become Republican values? I for one, really take exception to some of the supporters of McCain and Huckabee for pushing this line of talk. But I also remember the discussions we at TAS had in ’06. We argued over why the loss of solid conservatives such as Santorum and Allen would be important. Many R’s refused to listen then, and we now suffer with the Pelosi/ Reid comedy act. I don’t intend to fall into the ’06 trap, but if you folks think McCain / Huckabee will win the day, you’re sadly mistaken. Let’s not fall into the heads I win; tails you lose trap, OK?
— A. DiPentima
So this is the “Clinton crackup”?
Somebody tell Obama not to get too close a falling fragment might whack him right between the eyes.
— Martin Owens
THE WRONG MAN
Re: The Prowler’s Huckabee Broke:
So, the Huckster isn’t getting the funds he needs?
Possibly, the Christians who have been swooning over him have begun to check his record and don’t like it? Or is it possible that they realize that he has been lying to them and acting the hypocrite? Maybe both? Whatever the reason, it will be good to see him go and take his pseudo-Christianity with him. As the son of a Baptist preacher who truly followed our Savior’s teachings I will be ecstatic to see his departure.
Do you think it possible that the conservatives will open their eyes to John McCain’s real political bent? Can they wake up to Mitt’s flip-flopping? I’m not even concerned with Trudy!
Perhaps the Christian conservatives will start to look for the one man who actually lives his faith without flaunting it?
Maybe they’ll understand that only one candidate has stood rock solid throughout his life?
The man Ron Paul!
— David Cheney
Baker City, Oregon
Re: A. Wood’s letter (under “Question Time”) in Reader Mail’s Hating on Everybody:
A. Wood apparently thinks she has stumbled onto some devastating evidence when she writes, “I read Michael Fumento’s article with interest and would like to pose a question: Even if thimerosal itself isn’t the cause of autism, what do the majority of children with autism have in common? Like it or not, the answer is vaccines.” Perhaps Mrs. Wood would like to reconsider her statement applying both logic and the rules of evidence to it. Yes, the majority of kids with autism have received vaccines. But so have the majority of kids without autism, and since these outnumber those with autism by about 998 to 1 (or 994 to 1 for Autism Spectrum Disorders), one could say that vaccines appear to prevent autism, rather than cause it. Both statements would be classic post hoc fallacies: because something happens or does not happen after kids get vaccinated, it is because they were vaccinated.
On the other hand, we know very well both the infection and the mortality rates for a host of childhood diseases prevented by vaccination, which are orders of magnitude higher than the incidence of autism. Therefore, if we follow Mrs. Woods’ reasoning, we would trade the low possibility of something bad happening as a result of vaccination, for the high probability of something much worse by foregoing vaccination. This shows a marked inability to weigh risks and make rational decisions based on the evidence.
But then, her reliance on homeopathic remedies merely confirms what the first part of her letter suggested–that we are not dealing here with people interested in objective facts but rather those seeking after fantasies that correlate with their own preconceptions. If her son made it through childhood without contracting measles, rubella, diphtheria, typhoid, whooping cough, mumps or chicken pox, she should not congratulate herself, but rather those parents who did vaccinate their children, thereby reducing greatly the risk faced by her child. She should consider what her experience would have been if all parents, or even a large proportion of them, followed her own reckless example.
— Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
WITHOUT A PRAYER
Re: Rev. Lisa Haase’s letter (under “Putting Huck to the Test”) in Reader Mail’s Hating on Everybody:
Lisa Haase wrote that Mr. Huckabee’s call for a “faith ticket” violates the Constitution. I hope the Rev. Lisa is a better theologian than constitutional scholar. The Constitution refers only to the acts of the government, not to those of private individuals or political parties. If a political party wants to establish an explicitly faith-based ticket or party platform, imposing religious qualifications on its members and candidates, it is free to do so. Of course, its half-life would be shorter than that of some man-made elements, but the fact is they could do so if they wanted — the Constitution does not protect against stupidity.
Or ignorance, for that matter. Which brings up Rev. Lisa’s understanding of American history. She wrote, “I would like to see an article reminding the American people of the true reasons that the Puritans came to America (to escape state religion) and that separation of church and state is NOT a myth.” That’s wrong on so many counts. First, while it is true that the Puritans came to America to escape state religion, in fact their argument was not with state religion, but with the religion the state had imposed. Once in the New World, the first thing the Puritans did is establish their own state religion, and Massachusetts had an established state church well into the 19th century (as did several other states). The First Amendment does not establish separation of church and state (I defy her to find that term anywhere in the Constitution or in any legal decision prior to the 20th century), but rather narrowly precludes the state from establishing and funding one particular church and requiring citizens to belong to it as a qualification for holding public office.
The First Amendment also allows for the free exercise of religion, which means, whatever Rev. Lisa thinks, that Mike Huckabee is free to spout all sorts of nonsense from the pulpit, and to shape his political campaign and policy positions according to his own religious beliefs. It is the glory of our system that he is free to do so, and that Rev. Lisa is free to vote against him.
— Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia
Rev. Haase has it wrong when she claims that “running on a faith ticket” somehow constitutes a breach of the Constitutional provision outlawing a religious test. She, like so many others today, seems to think that the Constitution is somehow a document that governs the actions of the citizens of the United States when in fact it outlines what the government can and cannot do. There can be no religious test instituted by law that bars anyone from seeking public office, but every voter can impose a religious test on the candidates in order to determine whom they will vote for. That is not in any wise a violation of the Constitution.
Further, the popular meaning of the phrase “separation of church and state” is a myth, since it is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. The Constitution simply says the Congress shall make no law establishing a state religion or make any laws that restrict the rights of the people to worship (or not) as they choose. It does not say that religion has no place in the public square, nor does it say that religion and politics are to be kept strictly separated. That may be how we want it, and it may even be for the best, but it is not a part of the Constitution.
— Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina
A REAL PERSON
Re: Reid Collins’s A Dream Deferred:
Mr. Collins, I thank you for your homely memory of Mr. King, whose real person often blends too readily into the two-dimensional legend that has both grown up out of admiration and been constructed over the years. You remind me that Mr. King was an actual, gifted person who gave his life for his country as surely as so many men, most of them young, have done in war. Every year I’m reminded to thank Mr. King, too, on my own behalf and that of my children.
— Don Carlson