A NEW DEAL
Re: William Tucker’s Nation Building in Bayji:
Ah yes, Mr. Tucker has brought up a much-missed point concerning what builds a nation.
We have all heard the phrase, “all politics are local politics.” This is indeed true and for a very good reason. Nations arise from local groups of people (towns and cities), through states and provinces culminating in a national government. Power flows upward rather than down. This has been missed by the Bush Administration, ensconced as it is within the federal government of the United States.
The premise upon which the rebuilding of Iraq was based was flawed. The U.S. took the easy way out and merely changed the central government. It did nothing to build a stable, multi-level society. Unfortunately, now that a central government has been established, the U.S. options are extremely limited.
The way to eliminate future homicide bombers and “insurgents” is to put them to work. Jobs will appear, as if by magic, where stable local governments exist. Local governments, not national ones, provide all of the necessities for a good life; security, education, career opportunities and satisfactory living conditions.
Hindsight is always 20-20, but it would have been much better for everyone, if there had not been a knee-jerk rush to establish a federal government in Iraq, before local stability had been established.
William Tucker did a very nice job of bring to light a facet of the situation in Iraq that is always overlooked by reporters.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
BABY BOOM, HILLARY BUST
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s 2008: The Battle for a Generation:
Thanks so much to Mr. Tyrrell for publishing this excerpt of his new book. He is such a pleasure to read, and as a baby boomer, I appreciate seeing something in print that doesn’t lump my generation into some kind of bra-burning, “give peace a chance” groupthink. I do think of the hysterics of the 1960s when I hear the over-the-top language of a Chuck Schumer, a Ted Kennedy or a Patrick Leahy. Surely, I’m not the only one who can see through their shtick. I keep hoping that those elderly of the ’60s generation (Kennedy, Leahy, Levin) will get off the stage, but they just will not leave our country in peace. I just hope the rational part of my generation will have the strength to save this country from its ’60s radicals for whom power itself is all that matters.
— Deborah Durkee
If Hillary Clinton gets the Democrat-presidential-candidate nod –and that’s no certainty, though I’m sure we’ve seen nothing of her teeth and daggers yet — you bet this will be a take-no-prisoners engagement. And for the sake of our country, she and the Democrats and liberals must not win.
Personally, I don’t think HRC understands how many defectors from the Coat-and-Tie liberals will work against her. We’re out here. And we remember.
I think she’s in for more than she can imagine. And I don’t think she’ll withstand the phoniness, including that smile, she’s having to wear that masks her true Angry Left, socialist, feminist tendencies. There will come a defining political moment when her mask drops and she exposes herself for what she is. It will shock even her supporters.
Even now, as she moves even more into the spotlight, she cannot hide those tendencies. Nor can she camouflage the very apparent fact that she and her husband — and his vice president — really do represent some of the most despicable and counterfeit behaviors of the 1960s culture. Maybe their defeat will put an end to the romantic fantasy of what those times never were. And who these people have never been.
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
This article is an excellent example of why I have become an avid reader of the Spectator. I recently had a confrontation, in my own home, at a dinner party with a radical leftist who grudgingly supports Howard Dean “though he has considerable conservative credentials.” The gentleman’s diatribe began with the heated and specious likening of the President to Hitler. Of course radicals have a visceral hatred of Mr. Bush for a reason they seem unable to articulate except that he’s head of a police state; committing genocide everywhere; and made Europe hate America.
I attempted to probe for evidence of any of these occurrences, but got an actual screaming tirade about my eagerness to don “jackboots” and “goose-step” through life. I was embarrassed for him and so I began to build a “we’re not so different” bridge. To my utter amazement Mr. Tyrrell captured the result without being present at my table (though he is indeed, always welcome there). My screaming radical has never served in the military; comes from inherited wealth; finds the church of his Irish fathers “stultifying and horrifically retrogressive”; and began his lifelong anti-American political activism in his late teens. “Politics is what I do.” And surprisingly he has moved his fortune off shore in a manner that, like the Kennedys, he has no income tax liability. He does not contribute to charity — “the government will take care of those in need” — except for his annual $100 contribution to Beloit College his alma mater.
On the other hand, I come from a very small town in upstate NY where all worked and went to church. I was as destined to serve this great Nation as to breathe and did so during the Vietnam War (as did my great-great grandfather during the War of 1812; my great grandfather did during the Civil War; my grandfather during World War one and every male of age did in World War two). I had no inherited wealth; worked my way through university with considerable help from my wife, and have worked and saved since the sixties. I go to church; I give 10% of my income to a variety of charities and I don’t scream at friends’ dinner parties.
Thank you, Mr. Tyrrell, for providing me the framework in which to understand these really significant and extremely bitter differences.
— Jay W. Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina
P.S. I asked him to leave the third time he referred to another friend at the table as a “political and cultural moron.” These radicals really do have no substance.
Much is made of Hillary’s youth as a “Goldwater Girl” turned liberal torchbearer. This is brought up as an emblem of my “boomer” generation. What is not discussed (except within conservative circles) is the much larger phenomenon of leftist youth turning to the right.
I was a radical leftist in the late sixties and early seventies. Most of my friends thought I was so radical that I fell off the scale. But I slowly changed. In college I returned to the Lutheran faith of my upbringing. I married my high school/college girlfriend. And after graduating I went from a small college to a much larger University for my masters.
It was there, observing campus politics, that I saw for the first time what leftists do when they come into power. Receiving the consent of the governed was not their style. Raw power and suppressing political opposition was their modus operandi. Cornering student funds was done without a hint of shame.
After graduate school, we moved away and had children. Becoming a father proved to be decisive in my full acceptance that I was a conservative. As much I had thought I had been abused because I was a committed leftist, it was nothing compared to the malice I have received as a conservative. So much for “all you need is love.” Still, I can see no real wisdom except in my faith and the Burke’s politics of reflection, experience and prudence.
My experience is just one particular one; yet I have met many who had their own stories of their movement to the right. These are stories I am sure many will try to conceal from the generations who follow us.
— Michael Wm. Dooley
Today’s Tyrrell piece “2008: The Battle for a Generation” on Hillary Clinton and generational politics is a new testimony to our boomer lust for self-dramatization. The chief quality still shared by the leftist boomers, the rightist boomers, and the columnist boomers is rapture over their unique, world-historic greatness. The resulting politics of nostalgia has not exactly solved any of the nation’s problems, and I (a boomer, too) will be glad to see it go, someday. Somebody please step up to actually fix our government.
— Robert A. Miller
FLIP FLOP FLAT
Re: Jennifer Rubin’s Read My Lips:
For a little historical perspective, during the 1996 presidential campaign Mr. Romney was quite vehement in attacking Steve Forbes’ flat tax proposal. This does not support the governor’s claim to be a supply-sider.
— Paul DeSisto
Cedar Grove, New Jersey
MOTOR CITY BLUES
Re: Eric Peters’s We Can Work Out:
How can Ford and GM compete with Toyota and Honda when the domestics are carrying millstones like the UAW and spineless management around their necks? Contrary to Peters’ rosy assessment, the trends don’t look favorable for Ford and GM.
And oh yes. I’m one of those who bought a domestic lemon years ago and will never go back.
— Peter Skurkiss
I enjoyed reading your column on the U.S .auto industry. I am a life-long resident of Dearborn, Michigan, and have seen first-hand the reduction in activity, the loss of pride, the loss of confidence at Ford Motor as well as GM and DC.
Our area (Metro Detroit) is suffering a real economic recession of serious proportions. I do believe Detroit’s vehicles are much improved and some are excellent but as you point out, trust is hard to regain. I also feel that the constant, 24/7 preaching of free-trade, globalism, mass importation (immigration) of foreigners to work in our country has drained some of the pride and creativity involved in creating good, American vehicles. Given Japan and China’s currency manipulation, I also believe we should at least consider some small tariffs to place on imported goods such as cars and trucks. We as a nation are losing our ability to engineer and manufacture things of significance and that can be very dangerous for us in terms of national security.
— Ray Golich
In 1978, upon my return to my old neighborhood in Michigan after four years in the service, I trotted down to the local Ford dealer and purchased my first new car; a Fairmont Futura. This was what everyone did in my old Detroit neighborhood. To my chagrin, during the next seven years, in which I was struggling to secure stable employment and working low-wage jobs (what with Carter’s “stagflation” and the “Reagan Recession”) I was forced to invest ever-larger sums of my hard-earned money in that piece-of-junk car. I needed it to run to get me to and from my various employers each day. Whatever it cost to repair, I had to bite the bullet.
When it finally died in 1984 (after “Reaganomics” kicked in and the economy began to improve) I bought a new Buick Somerset, which was supposed to be a move into an upper class car. But the Buick didn’t even live long enough for me to pay off the five-year loan I took to finance its purchase. I spent just as much on repair of the Buick to keep it on the road as I did on the Ford. When the Buick finally failed, I had it towed to a Honda dealer and traded it in for a used Honda Accord. That used Honda had better performance with less maintenance costs than either of the brand-new, right-off-the-line, Ford or GM vehicles ever did. And I owned that used Honda for seven years! Since then, I’ve bought nothing but a Honda Accord.
During the eleven years I owned American cars, I swear, there were times I thought my sole purpose in life was to work to meet my car payments and the car repair bills, so some UAW member could enjoy the high life, while I suffered financial loss and a certainly lower quality of life. I vowed that I would never again give my hard-earned money to an American car company. Ever! The way I figure it, the only way the American car companies (and the UAW) can make me whole for the losses I took on their junk products in my naive youth (when I could least afford it) would be to give me a car for free for the rest of my natural life! …And get rid of the UAW!
— Harry Hill
I am one who always insisted on buying an American car until I was burned with a 1980 Pontiac Sunbird.
I later found out that the American car manufacturers had eliminated the final quality control checkpoint in the assembly line process of manufacturing cars. This left the consumer to be the quality control department. The car dealers said, “If you have any trouble in the first 90 days, we will fix it for you.” This did not always work. I had an engine block that was not installed properly. This resulted in an “oil leak” which would appear after driving 50 or more miles. This oil would spill onto my driveway each night.
The dealer finally installed a new engine block after I complained to the district office three times.
My thought about the current situation with American cars is that if the manufacturers would install a new quality control department at the end of the manufacturing process — during which time a car was totally tested for any possible defects and any found defects were corrected before the car went to a dealer to be sold, the American people’s confidence could be regained.
Since it appears that it will take some time to regain the public’s confidence as you point out, I feel that this new end-of-the-line quality control operation would be a step in the right direction.
— B.D. Reynolds
Eric Peters is right that American automobile companies will take years to reacquire the trust once placed in them. That is if they continue on with their present narrow business plans. But GMC and Ford have the ability to change their environment and acquire new customers as well as old if the expand their business plans by entering the recreational vehicle market. That doesn’t mean simply buildings travel trailers and motor homes. It means extending the utility of their vehicles into the air, sea and land. SUV’s that expand to motor homes or have attachable units, autos that can negotiate small bodies of water, or even autos that can either fly, levitate like high speed trains, or attach to road or monorail systems are feasible. Autos of today will soon be thought of like horse drawn coaches of old. Most companies do not survive a century without changing their business plans. The prospect of competing with the low cost labor markets of Asia and South America with the same business plan is daunting.
— Howard Lohmuller
I think Eric Peters underestimates the recovery time for American car manufacturers because the length of ownership of a car, good or bad, has gotten longer. It takes longer to finance a car now than it did when the quality gap started to be obvious.
— Danny L. Newton
Detroit offers mostly automatic-transmissioned, marshmallow-suspensioned granny-mobiles built by anti-competitive, Hillary-voting UAW members, pitched with jingles from communist nincompoops John Cougar Mellencamp and Bob Seger. And they expect me to buy what they’re selling? No thanks.
— R. Trotter
I buy American cars, used, after the depreciation. At that point they are a really good deal.
— Bruce W. Peek
AIKEN TO LEAVE
Re: Jay D. Homnick Strong Goals:
Although your points are well taken, the Republican senator who said that we should declare victory and leave Vietnam was essentially spot on, so to speak, as it really was despite the Cronkites of the world comes to mind, a certain question or set of questions come to mind as well. Admittedly, the circumstances are somewhat different (no apparent state sponsorship, e.g.) but, should we (the U.S.) not then leave Kosovo, South Korea, Germany, Japan, the Pacific, and any other place in which we have had troops for years and years?
Call me an isolationist or an anti-Wilsonian or…but, there seems to be a bit of a double standard at play in such discussions. In any event, I strongly suspect that chaos would be the result of our leaving Iraq prematurely, not unlike the killing fields of Cambodia (with which, I am sure, Sen. Kerry is most familiar) or the boat people exiting Vietnam, and I would bet that we (the U.S.) would have to engage the asymmetrical enemy at much greater risk and loss in the future. I also suspect that there is extensive, multiple-state sponsorship, albeit hidden, of the Islamofascist project which we ignore at our peril.
— P.A. Melita
DEALING WITH IT
Re: W. James Antle III’s Are Pro-Lifers Ready for Rudy?:
I am pro-life, and if I have to, I will vote for Rudy .
The various government bureaucracies throughout the country are decidedly liberal and Democrat. This includes school districts, state universities, city, county, and state government. They know who butters their bread, and they get the willies every time they hear about shrinking government (or vouchers). Therefore in the interest of self-preservation, they will do their bureaucratic best to sabotage a conservative agenda.
That being said, the federal government was infiltrated by the Clintonistas and were supported by their entrenched cohorts in various departments. This is very obvious when you consider the amount of leaks coming out of the CIA, FBI, State Dept., undermining President Bush’s agenda.
It only takes a low level (or medium level) bureaucrat to stymie or stall the implementation of change. There is little accountability, and nobody gets fired for misfeasance.
That being said, when and if a Republican President is elected (either pro-life or pro-abortion) in 2008, the dilemma that he faces is the entrenched bureaucracy.
The President has the authority to appoint people to shake up these departments, not the least of all is Health and Human Services. Now this is where the powerful lobbying arm of the pro-life movement comes into play.
We’ll support the nominee if he nominates acceptable people to positions of power, once he is elected. This could be a back-room deal. Otherwise, you will have a Rodham, Obama, or Richardson making those appointments, and rallying their already present troops. Four years to eight years of Democrats nominating judges (with very little Republican opposition) is too much for this pro-lifer to take.
Don’t give up the ship.
I found Barry Downes response to your column “Did Valerie Plame Lie?” quite telling. Aside from being very wordy, it never once answered the main question. As a matter of fact it reflects the ambiguity of the entire case. At the end of the day Scooter Libby is going to jail not for “outing” a NOC, but for offering testimony that contradicted two well known national reporters (Matt Cooper and Tim Russert).
Since January we’ve known that Dick Armitage was the person who leaked Plame’s identity to Novak; we’ve also known that not only did the Justice Department know this fact, but it was clearly evident to Fitzgerald from the day the case was handed to him. I had hoped Mr.. Downes would at least have responded to this because he did quote from the Fitzgerald’s famous Fitzmas press conference. Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference used strong almost eloquent language to make his case; however, his language had nothing to do with the actual indictment handed down from the grand jury. While Downes liked to use that press conference to solidify his point, it only weakens it. If Fitzgerald’s point was to bring to justice the culprit who leaked the name of a case officer working for the CIA (let’s assume for a moment that Plame fell under this definition), then Fitzgerald knew from day one it was Dick Armitage. Why expand the case and go on a fishing expedition? At best, Fitzgerald’s press conference was disingenuous.
The questions surrounding Valerie’s identity, which were raised during her testimony to the House are fair questions. If her identity as a covert agent of the CIA was to be protected why was she so careless in protecting it? We now know that she met in public along with her husband a famous Washington Post reporter. She also attended a Democratic Party function in public with her husband. Like other readers of TAS, I’m not holding my breath. This affair has run its course. The Democrats will continue to run cover for the Wilson’s and the GOP has not the courage to press the issue.
Well, the affair isn’t quite over yet. The Wilson’s filed a civil case against Cheney, Rove, and Libby. This drama will continue. In this regards I think the Wilson’s overplayed their hand. As most people know, civil suits can get quite nasty as the gloves can come off. The Wilson’s will not have the press, the Justice Department, nor the CIA, nor a Special Prosecutor to cover for them. Judges normally allow the defense wide latitude in defending their clients in these cases. Who knows what the trial judge will allow as evidence, but I don’t think the Wilson’s will want to be put on the witness stand. What could possibly come to light in the civil trial is the dirty truth of this entire affair.
Barry Downes quoted National Review to state that an unnamed judge had opined that the CIA “was making specific efforts to conceal” Valerie Plame’ identity. It seems that this phantom judge doesn’t pay attention to the on-line version of the magazine, else he might’ve noticed this ironic article by Andrew McCarthy in the installment dated July 18, 2005.
In it, Mr. McCarthy explains that, on two occasions, Ms. Plame’s identity was compromised. First, to the Russians by a spy in Moscow, then to the Cubans by the CIA itself, in documents the agency sent to the Swiss embassy in Havana, which were intercepted and read by the Cubans. So much for their concealment efforts.
He did manage to get one thing correct, though: he asserted “There is no question that Valerie Plame’s name was revealed and that it did destroy her usefulness in doing undercover work for the CIA overseas,” which is absolutely true. He just fails to mention that it happened years before Robert Novak published his column and Patrick Fitzgerald went scalp-hunting. As Mr. Downes says, let’s base our political debates on fact, rather than fiction.
— David Gonzalez