Hero or Hype? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Hero or Hype?

Re: Philip Klein’s Damn Yankee and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s He’s Ready If You Are:

In discussing Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Klein has touched upon one of the intangibles that great leaders are imbued with. Reader Michael Tomlinson, in a recent letter, talked about the need for us as conservatives to regain Reagan’s optimism about the greatest country in the world, and be damn proud of it. This is what movement leaders do, and what second-rate professional political hacks dare not try. Giuliani captures this optimism and does so eloquently; that’s why he is a rarity in politics. By all accounts, he’s a real person, one not controlled by handlers and pollsters, a man with a sharp intellect who actually thinks for himself. More importantly, a politician who actually dares to speak from the heart, take it or leave it.

This is the rarest of all qualities to be found in a politician because it is a complete anathema to what professional pols need for political longevity. I suspect it’s why some conservatives, who are a bit squeamish about his “liberal views” are nonetheless drawn to him, reasons perhaps they can’t quite explain to themselves. Speaking of which, if may segue into some of the Reader’s comments generated by Bob Tyrrell’s article; may I suggest to those conservatives who see abortion and gun rights as the nadir issues which constitute Giuliani’s Achilles Heel, that God forbid, should al-Qaeda manage a major hit on several American cities, with tens of thousands dead and the stock market tanking at Dow 5000 in a week, that neither of those issues will be the topic of conversation that night at the dinner table. Furthermore, neither issue will ever be directly acted upon by Washington, unless a Democrat is elected president in ’08.

Rather, I suspect, a savvy President Giuliani and a do nothing congress, will allow those issues to be relegates to the states, (a direct vote by the people) or, left in the hands of the Supreme Court. If Giuliani is true to his word to appoint judges whose judicial philosophy is consistent with the original intent of the Constitution, then ipso facto, these conservatives should be assuaged. If however, conservatives are hell bent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, or as one Reader suggested, eight years of Madam Hillary rather than “sacrifice one’s principles,” then let’s just call it a day and end the whole grand experiment of America.
A. DiPentima

Sorry, I don’t buy those who’re trying to hype Giuliani. Economic issues that score in upscale Manhattan are a yawner in the rest of America. The debate over welfare and regulation was won in the 90s. It’ll win no brownie points in 2008. And if you look at the numbers, in comparison to the rest of the country, NYC remains a Euro-style tax and regulatory state. If he makes the country like the NYC he created and ran, we’ll all suffer.

The average person has good reason to be upset by all the niggling regulations Giuliani imposed on NYC. They’ve spread like a plague to places like Seattle where I live. Seattle has bought his graffiti-is-the-cause-of-crime mindset with a vengeance. No, they don’t try to catch the criminals, even though surveillance cameras to do so are dirt cheap today. They fine property owners for not quickly concealing the crimes they don’t punish. We can all thank Giuliani for that.

And that’s not getting into guns or unborn babies. Pundits may make much of his willingness not to call the NRA or pro-lifers by nasty names. Whoopiedo (not). People who live in the vast stretches of the nations where that sort of uncouth, boorish behavior is never done aren’t going to be impressed that he’s simply less nasty in his rhetoric than Hillary. It’ll win him no more points than he’d get by simply remaining clothed in public.

If the Republicans want to go belly up in 2008, all they need do is nominate Giuliani. No one who’s for abortion and gun control is going to flip Republican to vote for him. A lot of us who’re against both are likely to sit out a race that will be close. In my case, it’ll be the first Presidential race I’ve stood aside for since I first voted in 1972.

Yes, you’re probably tired of Bush’s awkwardness and inarticulateness and want someone smooth like Giuliani. We all are. We all wish Reagan wasn’t in a better place. But all the paint in the world isn’t going to turn Giuliani into someone he isn’t. He’s remains an East Coast liberal in everything that matters.
Mike Perry
Seattle, Washington
Author of Chesterton on War (soon out)

It’s difficult to say a bad word about Rudy Giuliani, but let’s face it, he’s not a conservative. He’s on the wrong side of the fence on nearly every important social issue. I like the guy, respect him, but will campaign AGAINST him in the run-up to ’08 — The Republican Party is the party of life, not the abortion party.

It would be nice to see AM attempt to encourage a true conservative like Rick Santorum to run, instead of this doomed effort to re-invent Mr Giuliani.

As Wesley Pruden of the Washington Times so correctly, down to earthly, put it: people have to decide what they’re most frightened by; the terrorist armed with a Koran and a dirty bomb, or by an abortionist and two little men atop the wedding cake? Why does not everyone understand this simple, simple, simple issue? The only, I repeat ONLY, candidate to win against the person we know will take us to hell, is Rudy Giuliani. Period. Let’s not be distracted by issues that are personal and decided by courts, not individuals. If you appoint constructionist judges, you know what you’ll get when it comes time for Roe v Wade. The Second Amendment will be upheld by a conservative court. Let’s get the full picture, people, this is about winning in 2008, not flying the flag into purgatory. Get out those checkbooks, write out the check that squeezes your bank account dry, and do the right thing, with a clear head, and send it to Rudy For President. Today. Get the bandwagon rolling and the momentum building. This is about our future, personally and nationally. Don’t be distracted.
Steve Heafey
Alamo, California

Rudy, for all his Yankee pride, was boosted into office by Mets fans. I’ll leave it to some enterprising statistician to verify this, but, in the meantime, look at the NYC demographics and voting patterns by borough.
Robert A. Miller

Are you guys now in the tank for Giuliani? Tyrrell yesterday and Klein today?

I don’t care how much you sing his praises, that bird will not get off the ground with the conservative base, of which I am proud member. Let me explain it this way: Hillary vs. Rudy or McCain — I get to take election day off.
Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri

If the conservative Republicans sit out the vote in ?08 because the candidate is not conservative on abortion, gun control, etc., then they will ENSURE the election of a socialist Marxist candidate — Ms. Clinton. Just remember, the next president will likely be appointing at least one and probably two Supreme Court Justices and you DO NOT want her appointments on the court. Think about that and be sensible, folks.
Sue Gray
Roswell, Georgia

Let’s see if I’ve got this right. First, I believe Rudy will make a fine President, very much in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, once we agree on what that tradition is (per A. DiPentima’s recent LTE). And, much has been said about Rudy’s failings which set social conservatives’ hair on fire. Mr. Klein has given us Rudy’s out, and we should listen very closely. Rudy may say he believes in a woman’s right to choose, gun control, and for all I know Federal subsidies for keeping mistresses and vegetarianism, but he has also stated he would appoint “strict constructionist” judges. He’s trying to tell us that his personal views on these matters are subordinate to his respect for the Constitution. Let me remind my social conservative friends, IT’S THE JUDGES, STUPID! Just what kind of judges do you think Hillary will nominate?
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Regarding Rudy, I?m not a single -issue voter. I don?t vote for people based on a single issue. As such I?ve worn the cloth pin for about 35 years now and it is starting to hurt more than I like. Rudy?s strengths may not matter by 2008 in a very real sense and his negatives will dovetail perfectly with his opponent, regardless of which Democrat that is.

The Bush Administration has run on national defense and economic issues in every election since 2001. Realists know someone is at war with us and means it but realists lost the last election on their opponent?s promise of getting us out of Iraq and giving some people in this country a government-mandated pay raise.

Realists also know we are highly likely going to be in Iraq in 2008 and beyond. It might not be real stable and the Democrat controlled Congress will have two budget cycles to either force us out of Iraq or make staying there moot by then. A strong wartime president may not have much appeal by Election Day 2008.

As effective as Rudy was in New York City at cleaning the place up, it is about 20 clicks to the left of anywhere I want to live in or visit. Like Washington, D.C., I would be a criminal the moment I set foot in either exercising my constitution rights. Call it what ever you like but Rudy sees a disarmed New York City as the way it should be and his follow on Major Bloomberg, is essentially waging war against my state because he doesn?t like our gun laws. Supporters of Rudy have no idea how offensive that is to those that believe in our constitutional rights. Reagan had his weak moments in this regard but he never was a cheerleader for such things. Rudy can?t say that with any conviction. . . .

I have a lot of respect for the man given what he had to endure on 9/11 and beyond. Nobody can take what he has accomplished to this point from him. On the other hand, conservatives in large enough numbers will not vote for any president based on a single issue and at this point 21 months from Election Day that is all Rudy has to offer, strong leadership skills in times of crisis (war). If the Democrat Congress gets up the nerve to force us out of Iraq between now and Election Day, Rudy?s strengths simply won?t have an appeal to the majority of voters that won the last election by sticking their heads in the sand and pulling the Democrat lever. A lot can happen in 21 months for sure but Rudy has very big negatives with the base of the Republican Party. Perhaps he should consider running as a Democrat against Billary? There is merit to that given the crop of Republican candidates in the field at this point.
Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

I could support Mayor Rudy IF he would pledge to modify a couple of his stances. I can live with his pro-choice position IF he agrees to support and sign a partial birth abortion ban. That is because I believe that we will only win back this issue one step and a time, and that would be one step in the right direction.

I would trust him on the issue of judges.

I would have to have from him a binding pledge that he will NOT support any parts of the homosexual rights agenda. That means no federal law supporting gay marriage OR civil unions, and support for removing “gay” or “homosexual” as a protected class for preferences or “hate” crimes.

Finally, and most importantly, he would absolutely have to pledge to support and defend the 2nd Amendment as a guaranteed INDIVIDUAL right, to be protected by the federal government. No New York gun control laws on a federal level. No “assault weapons” bans. No registration of guns or owners. No one gun per month laws. No repeal of the law prohibiting the lawsuits to restrict trade (bankrupt) lawful companies engaged in firearms manufacture or sale. This issue, above all others, is NOT negotiable for me.

But hey, other than that, I love Rudy.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Is this RET’s personal endorsement of Rudolph Giuliani for the Presidency?
Jeff Anderson
Richmond, Virginia
P.S. Regarding the column’s last sentence, “What they need to hear next is where the mayor who would be president stands on conservative social issues.” We already know where he stands.

Re: Letters under “Giuliani Time” in Reader Mail’s Ready or Not:

Mr. Phillips, indeed, all who wrote questioning Mr. Giuliani’s conservative credentials, I believe you are all very sincere, which is why I am writing, myself. Yes, Mr. Giuliani is not a dyed-in-the-wool red state conservative, but then again, who in the GOP either running or considering running has a chance of beating Hillary or Obama? Duncan Hunter, while a nice man, has a chance of winning the primaries, but then what? He can’t win the general election, not against the media and star power of Hillary. Neither can Newt, simply because of the baggage too many Americans associate with him. McCain, while recognizing the danger of radical Islam, has already proven enough times that he will sell his base down the river for his “maverick” media label. At least with Rudy, you know where he stands. Plus, to be truly honest with ourselves, President Bush has not really done much to burnish his conservative image, either. Yet we all voted for him.

Because politics is a give-and-take business, not a zero-sum game, we need to learn that we have to sacrifice some things on order to gain others. Mr. Phillips, the reason I have to single you out here is because of a point you made in your letter. You said, “…the former Mayor’s position on firearms issues is not just unacceptable, it is the reason why I, and many other conservatives like me, would God forgive me, rather see Hillary in office than vote for someone who will sell our rights down the river.” Pray tell, what good would Hillary winning the election do for the Second Amendment? Hillary will feel absolutely no compulsion to listen to the NRA or gun owners, since she already knows we won’t vote for her. Rudy, however, needs us more than we need him. He’ll have to listen to us, otherwise he won’t win a thing.

I truly believe that Mr. Giuliani is our best bet to keep the White House in GOP hands, and if you’re a social conservative who is feeling uneasy about that, than the best thing to do (in fact, what I am already planning to do) is to work your butts off to make sure that Congress reverts back to the light side of the Force in Nov. ’08. President Giuliani can’t make legislation, and a solidly conservative Congress will make sure to keep the ever-greedy government out of our wallets, churches, and firearms.
Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri

Re: Jennifer Rubin’s No Classroom Left Alone:

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but in the last several months, conservative writers such as Ms Rubin, and luminaries such as Charles Murray (in a WSJ article a few months back) are piping the same tunes as the National Education Association and the public school monopoly. Rubin’s article on the evils of testing in Fairfax Virginia doesn’t tell us about the English Language Learners (ELL) requirements and why they were enacted in Bush’s No Child Left Behind act (NCLB). First, the ELL requirements make sure that students with limited English proficiency must move into mainstream English speaking classrooms within three years. Mainstreaming ELL kids has been heralded as a huge success by conservative educators and minority parents in places as far flung as Los Angeles and Boston where, before NCLB took hold, minority (mostly Hispanic) students showed large learning gains in a few years after these English mainstreaming requirements were enacted.

Second, most Spectator readers would not be aware of a game that some public school districts have played in the past, and that NCLB put a stop to, which was to put failing students into ELL or special education classes where students went without testing altogether, or, they were assessed with tests that couldn’t be compared to the mainstream tests. This way, the poor performing students’ results wouldn’t show up in the main pool of test results. The net effect of this practice made many schools and teachers look more successful than they were in reality. The ELL and SPED kids were the losers, because bad teachers and bad programs went undetected, and parents who might have sensed that something was amiss, had nowhere to turn, or hard data to point to. NCLB also assures that ELL kids are making adequate progress along the way to English mainstreaming, because, over Ms. Rubin’s objections, ELL students must be assessed with a test that it is aligned with the state English standards and the main streamed language tests. This provides a way to measure progress on a common scale, and if there’s a problem in the first or second year, it can be caught and addressed parents have a right to know where their kids are along the road–again, the teachers and schools are made accountable.

As NCLB comes up for reauthorization, the noise against mandatory testing will get louder and louder. Yes, there is some nonsense in NCLB, but the main thrust of the law is the essence of commonsense — to wit, all students should be tested regularly so that ALL parents can make informed decisions. It’s unfortunate that a federal mandate has been needed to begin some commonsense accountability practices in the schools, but given the clout of the NEA and the education monopoly, it may be the only way to go, short of an unrestricted voucher system.
Therese Cross
Leominster, Massachusetts

Unfortunately, there is now a federal program as with all federal programs that is a perpetual involvement machine. It will not go away because the Democrats want to throw more money at it and the Republicans will not admit it was another boondoggle.

So my advice to teachers and parents would be to take back those weeks after April and actually teach kids how to read, write, and perform math functions. I know a few parents with children in public schools and have not heard these complaints. Two parents are married to teachers in public schools. But then again these are parents who are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives.

Regarding Jennifer Rubin’s claim of the successful Fairfax County school system would that success be measured before they started dumbing everything down or after? But I do agree it is a delicious irony because Fairfax County is the bedding land for all the federal bureaucrats that live off the taxpayer in D.C.
Diamon Sforza
Bartlett, Illinois

It is so ironic that the party that in 1994 vowed to ELIMINATE the Department of Education has been responsible for the debacle of No Child Left Behind. Bush has been allowed to do to this country what the Clintons would have been fought with every step of the way before they could have achieved….
Genevieve Brown
A reader in Kentucky

You all HAVE to remember, while President Bush endorsed this, it is another Kennedy et al. produced liberal feely-good program. This was done “back in the days” before the events of September 9th 2001 when our President really was a bit naive and wanted to work with “the (dis-)loyal” opposition party.

Here was something “everyone” could feel good about, till the bureaucrats, the unionists and the money-grabbers got their hands on it. As a parent of a daughter that was “supposed to be covered” by “NCLB,” I found it to be a total and dismal failure, even with the local school board trying to work with us.

It compares apples to oranges, (in 2002 the fourth grade class did X; in 2004 the fourth grade class did >X.) Excuse me, that is TWO totally different groups of school kids. How about how well the sixth grade class did in 2004, the eighth grade class in 2006? The same group of school kids as they progress through school???

It was bad in 2001, it’s worse in 2006 and I see no changes coming.
S. Dent

The No Child Left Behind Act is an absolute travesty.
Daniel McNamee
Somerville, New Jersey

Re: Paul Chesser’s See the Sin Eater:

When I first saw the ads for the Sin Eater, I flashed on an old episode from Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. “The Sins of the Father” aired on 2/23/72, starring Richard Thomas and Geraldine Page. It was explained that sin eaters were poor people who earned a meager living by “eating the sins” of the newly departed so they may enter heaven in a more pure state. After years of taking on others’ sins, the sin eater had little chance of entering heaven himself. Thomas played the teenaged son of a sin eater. Richard’s father had died and his mother was instructing him to take his father’s place. Unfortunately, his first night on the job was at the wake of his father, eating all the sins which his father had eaten before him.

That is the only episode I can recall; its impact of living a clean life has remained with me all these years.
Kitty Myers

Re: Lawrence Henry’s Anatomy of a Hoax:

Great article.

I have always called it the Witch Doctor effect. There is a significant portion of humanity with the skills and the desire to prey on other humans, and another significant portion willing, indeed eager, to be that prey. The smoke smell fearing lady in Mr. Henry’s elevator was no more sophisticated than some jungle tribeswoman getting ready to give tribute to the local witch doctor on the basis of some jungle spirits fairy story. Many, perhaps most, professional ‘weather scientists’ and ‘environmentalists’ are those very same witch doctors telling of those same jungle spirits, only this time they call it climate change. Modern witch doctors are saying ‘The climate spirits are threatening you and your family. Only I can hear them because of my special training. Give me money and power and I will deal with them.’

Perhaps it’s a matter of evolution. Can having a bunch of credulous idiots among us be useful to our species in some way? Cannon fodder? Labor? Who knows.

Society seems to have dumbed down considerably. The Romans 2000 years ago understood the deeper meanings and implications of the question “Cui Bono.”
Fred Zinkhofer

Kudos to Lawrence Henry for another fine article. The real reason that our culture is so susceptible to hysteria is that we have forsaken a Biblical worldview. We no longer affirm the Sovereignty of God, not even in the church. If God is no longer on his throne then truly all is hysteria, but if he is indeed sovereign, then like the Master said, we can “be anxious for nothing.”
Jim Whittle, Pastor
Chapel Hill Presbyterian (PCA)
Douglasville, Georgia

It all starts with the little woman, and the perpetrators all know it. Why? It is pretty simple and I see it every day. In relatively modest communities, most women don’t have to work because their husbands make enough to support them. So, the women communicate with each other every day. All someone like Al Gore has to do is speak in front of some of these starry eyed gals that feel someone is paying attention to them, and he has them hooked. They then have a propensity to pass on these revelations to their friends and no matter if it is true or not, the lie becomes truth. Think about it.
Sidney Morris

Lawrence Henry has it exactly right. Common sense of the enemy of Global Warming. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, Paul Ehrlich and his moonbat cronies were predicting with certainty the coming Ice Age.

My rule of thumb on any of this stuff is to learn who supports it. For instance, red flags go up with most Hollywood types, any Democrat from the Northeast or California, or Paul Ehrlich, to name a few of the easy ones.
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Mr. Henry is right, politicians need a bugaboo in order to keep the masses confused and scared while their pockets are picked. Global warming, a conundrum with no immediate answer, is just what the politicians, read ruling class, can use to divert the attention away from what is really important and immediate; border control, the Iraq War, national health, taxes, terrorism, etc. They can schedule hearings and parade a whole cadre of so called experts, including some Hollywood fanatics, while they can pontificate in front of a TV camera to give the voting public the idea that they are really doing something. Many of the so called experts by the way are financed by public funds. In the end, after much posturing and finger pointing, a new commission or agency will be created with a dubious mission but with plenty of bureaucrats generating more studies with typical answers such as; (1) yes there is a problem, (2) we studied the problem really, really hard, and (3) we need more money to continue to study the problem. This scam will ensure the incumbents can garner more votes, because they are doing such a good job, just ask them, and they can stay in office in order to provide jobs for their kinfolk and send more pork to their loyal constituents back home.
Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

Lawrence Henry writes: “What does it mean, for example, commentators ask, that the current IPCC report has dropped all mention of the formerly sensational ‘hockey stick’ graph developed by Michael Mann which was such a feature of the 2001 report?” The answer is that neither he, nor they, have troubled their minds by reading the report. To do so is to know it features three large and colorful renderings of the graph that so obsesses those devoted to demonizing it unread.

One appreciates that the cost of enlisting in the war against cliche by actually editing Mr. Henry’s prose might be prohibitive, but please remind your frugal publisher of all the cents to be shaved from your bandwidth bill by publishing his blog link in lieu of his prose and letting the readers sort it out. Somewhere, in some language, there must be a market for a sequel to “you may properly respond, Cool your jets.” Snake-oil salesmen and demagogues of every stripe seek first to create a clamor. Like a child’s tantrum, the demagogue’s message doesn’t matter” and I wish Mr. Regnery Godspeed in discovering it. I wish I could say it compares favorably with the worst passages of the IPCC report, but I’m afraid they made the 620 authors stop after only 4000 pages.
Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Re: Yale Kramer’s and the four letters (under “Strong Grasp”) in Reader Mail’s Ready or Not:

I read with interest, Mr. Kramer’s article in re the nettle and have concluded his solution to Iraq, psychiatrist or not, is brilliant! I was shocked to see that letters in re his article are, for the most part, negative.

In contemplating his piece after re-reading it more than once, it seems an ideal solution that would be in our best interest and would give us a non-Arab foothold in the Mideast. Considering that a significant portion of Iraq’s oil is in the Kurdish area, establishing a base there would protect that portion of the oil even though our “redeployment” might leave the rest of the oil at risk. So what? While the Shia and Sunni wage war with each other, thereby destroying the oil infrastructure, Iran, Syria, Saudi et al would acquire the burdens we now have, and we would be sitting there, still in Iraq, completing special forces missions where we are the initiators NOT our enemies, the Persians and the Arabs.

One writer was negative because Turkey would object. But if we established a permanent presence there one stated and real purpose would be to diminish the potential for clashes between the Kurds and the Turks–both of whom are our friends. As I contemplated the “Nettle” piece, I brought out my large regional map of the mid east. As I considered the geography, there stood the Kurdish area of Iraq smack dab in between Iran and Syria. The location, strategically speaking, is capital as the Brits would say. With our presence in Qatar and Kuwait then coupled with a base in Kurdish Iraq with, say, F-16’s, F-15’s the new F-22 and a sprinkling of UMV’s, supported, defended and exploitable by significant special forces, we could sit astride the whole mid east mess with a Cheshire grin.

Of course, the likes of Jimmy Carter, John Kerry and Teddy et al would deplore such a favorable position for our bullying the glorious rest of the world. That fact alone is just cause for proceeding with the plan.
Morris J. Turkelson
Lebanon, Ohio

Re: Bill Croke’s High Country Hikers:

I was offline for days — still playing catch-up — and just got the chance to read Bill Croke’s “High Country Hikers.” If Cody’s demographics are changing as its population grows, then Bill Croke is partly responsible. His TAS articles on Cody sold me years ago. My goal is to at least visit Cody, and its surrounding panoramas. As another reader noted, it sounds like heaven.
Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

Great story. Rather than duct tape for blisters and “hot spots,” Mr. Croke should get some Moleskin, available in the Dr. Scholl’s-type display section of virtually any good drug store. Works wonderfully.
Bruce Clark
Texas (and, though sadly only temporarily, NM, CO, UT, OR, WA, ID, and Black Hills of SD)

Re: Christopher Orlet’s Don’t Worry, Be Vigilant:

I found “Don’t Worry, Be Vigilant” by Christopher Orlet a very interesting article. I think the comparison with the Iraq war is ignoring the huge number of soldier that are arriving home seriously wounded, which is somewhere between 20 and 50,000 depending on your criteria. Another aspect is the Iraqis that have been killed, now estimated between 30 and 200,000 depending on whose survey you like. Finally there is the little issue of spending 5 billion a week, the growing sense that our government does not have a clue, and the growing hatred of our government in the world. All of these add up to something that is justifiably truly worrying for a number of reasons.

On the other hand there have been very few domestic attacks, and so the amount of fear that generates is more or less like the fear of being eaten by a shark, in that it is very unlikely (for most people) and it has a graphic violent image that inflames the imagination (with lots of help from our leaders and media).

If car accidents or even falls in the bathroom (a major cause of injury or death) were pounded into our heads like “THE TERRORISTS” we would have a different perspective on them.

Anyone for a War Against Stairs?
Michael Crumpton

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