Holding On Tight - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Holding On Tight

Re: Quin Hillyer’s Republicans Will Hold On:

I agree!!
Virginia S. Hudson

I read your article with great interest. I believe the Democrats will gain 4-6 Senate seats and 22-30 House seats. Hope I’m wrong.

I will be voting Republican on Tuesday but will be holding my nose as I do. If the Democrats were still a serious party with regard to national security, I would likely be voting differently. If Republicans do squeak this one out and hold their majorities, they had better not view it as vindication. I plan to let them know as often as possible that even though I helped bail them out this time, my patience is paper-thin. If they don’t get serious about limiting the size of government by controlling spending and pork, protecting borders, and bringing many more qualified judges to a floor vote (to name a just a few issues) then I am done with them in ’08, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one who feels this way.
Paul Schlick
Maple Grove, Minnesota

NEWSFLASH! Republicans actually gain seats in mid-term elections. Experts baffled! Where could we have gone wrong? We were predicting this every day on the mainstream news outlets in order to suppress the Republican base. Could it be that Republican voters are smarter than we give them credit for? Do they not drink the Kool-Aid like our Democrat voters do?
Americus, Georgia

This article is one of the few I have seen that attempts to bring realism to the elections tomorrow….

In reading the tealeaves, it appears the Dems should legitimately be looking at 24 pickups give or take 2 seats in the house and at most 1-2 in the Senate. This even looks optimistic if you only use polls started on Friday and completed today. With the 3 open seats polling almost dead even. It almost puts me into a panic if I were a Dem.

Additionally, the ignorance towards the key stat so far in the races. In the Senate, the Rep seats are moving along the chart to the right… and the Dem seats appear to be moving to the right as well. The fact that Chafee and Burns are in a tie, which even last Monday would have seemed farfetched, should be the signal of the bow wave. The Reps seem to have placed all but PA-I in the tossup category, and the Dems have had less numbers of for sure seats. The Reps seem to now have 47 locked down seats with 2 more as likely. The Dems have 44 locked down seats with 7 somewhere towards dead even.

My only other take is that the liberal media is making a lot out of this Democrat (democratic is a process not a political affiliation) surge against the Reps. But have downplayed the seats that the Dems may lose. If Mike Steele pulls out MD (I’d bet a lot of this is happening), it’s all over for the Dems in the Senate

Lastly, let’s say the Dems fail to even take the House. How can they have fumbled 2 “gimmee” elections in 2 years? If ever there were easy wins it was ’04 and ’06. If they fail to even get the House by whatever margin, they are done donuts.
Christopher N.

From Quin Hillyer’s lips to God’s ears. The only problem is the Dems will whine about stolen elections for the next 2 years. Ironic — since the only real evidence of a stolen election lately is the Washington governor’s race.
Joe Hayes
Stamford, Connecticut

I agree with your article about the Republicans keeping of both houses of Congress. I base this on a variety of information, much of which you provided so well in this article. Michael Steele will win MD, keeping our Senate losses to 2 or 3. The House is harder to predict but it is my gut feeling we will keep it by 2-3 seats. One thing that is impossible to measure is the mood of the electorate on election night. Each election takes on a life or trend of its own. The Liberal AP tried to influence this when they reported false exit polling results. They knew if the country saw things swinging to the Democrats then it could influence later races. Fortunately we knew early on that the exit polling was in gross error.

The key this time around are results in VA and MD. If we keep VA and take MD it will set the tone for the rest of the country.

Time will tell,

Predictable outcome!

Hillyer and his predictions this year are on fertile ground. Even as the polls say things are starting to change they are still off the mark by a large margin. They have been off for quite a while now. I have been saying this for more than a year. Why? Instinct of the voting public and habits for good or not. Let’s start on instincts. The public is fickle when asked touchy questions, they shift as fast as there answer comes out of their mouth, so the polls taken today can change tonight… and they do. Instinct to protect this country is deep and not a movable like a sliding scale and the Democrats have never been credited with helping this president with this war. Habits. They are creatures of voting habits as the last Presidential election has proven. These habits of voting for your party for good or for bad is not thought out but instinctively acted upon. As the last election has proven. And the last most important point is by nationalizing this year’s problems the Dems think they have been smart. They have really caused the public to think nationally and not only on the local level and we are at war nationally and people do not generally vote against their President during wartime.

So they are voting for the president again when they vote for their local man. A terrible idea by the Dems driven by polls that were not accurate to start with. A good commentary made was on polling about the Republicans not answering polls call for there opinion like the black population did many years ago, so the polls have been off big time for quite some time now.

They will blame Kerry for this loss! But they will off base again.

Thank you, Mr. Hillyer. Thank you for being practically the only political analyst on the planet willing to lay it on the line without the CYA equivocating we have been subjected to by “experts” whose limited talent seems to be sour, baseless predicting or Monday morning quarter-backing.

It was refreshing as well as educational to read, state by state, your projections and the solid reasoning accompanying each. Win or lose, you are to be congratulated for the courage to put your money where your by-line is. After having suffered through a day of the usual suspects on TV hedging their bets, expressing little knowledge of the way the voting should go, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading and re-reading this article.
Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California

Re: Jed Babbin’s The Coming Conservative Renaissance and David Hogberg’s Running on Empty:

Certainly Mr. Hogberg and Jed Babbin are renowned thinkers and each had things to say that show great insights and predilective abilities. But as a Mama of a pilot that serves I have only two observations. The Republicans will win for two reasons: namely Americans hate to lose (this pertains to the war in general) and Democrats are losers more ways than one…even if they vote, vote often, and vote felons and the dead. Secondly, we will win because I noticed the fashion statement this fall was Camouflage. That’s it, you heard me… camouflage. It’s everywhere — purses, children’s and women’s fashion clothing, and men’s as well. And I’m not speaking of hunter’s camouflage, but the latest craze in clothing. Now, how does this apply to politics? Well, as the wife of a retired officer and mother of another and the grandmother of four fashion statements, it tells me that we have come to accept on a conscious level that we are at war. I believe that fact has sunk into the consciousness of everyone, not just our military families.

So there you have it — Republicans over Democrats — wait and see…
Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Jed Babbin’s rant in a way makes me glad that I am no longer a “conservative.”

To me, “conservative” circa 2006 is vastly different — and much worse — than “conservative” circa 1986.

The 1986 conservative was supportive of Israel; the 2006 conservative is skeptical of the Jewish state and more willing to pander to fundamentalist Muslims — probably because such folks disdain women and modern pop culture (on the latter, I recall R. Emmett Tyrrell’s words in his 1984 tome The Liberal Crack-Up that he “stands with the mullahs” on contemporary American music, movies, and culture in general).

The 1986 conservative was for free trade; the 2006 conservative is for protectionism.

The 1986 conservative was for lower taxes; the 2006 conservative wants to raise taxes (usually referred to euphemistically as “tariffs” or “import fees”).

The 1986 conservative was for spreading democracy abroad; the 2006 conservative doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about how many innocent victims are slaughtered in Somalia because it’s none of our damn business.

The 1986 conservative was for limited government; the 2006 conservative wants massive government expansion in areas such as abortion, protectionism, immigration, and yes, income distribution.

The 1986 conservative welcomed all races, creeds, and religions; the 2006 conservative hangs a sign out that says, “Whites only.”

The perfect example of this rather bizarre dichotomy is Patrick Buchanan. In 1986, he was for free trade, democracy abroad, and low taxes. We all know where he stands on these issues in 2006.

Unfortunately, Jed Babbin is not far behind. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mr. Babbin’s next article is entitled “Why We Should All Stop Worrying And Celebrate Osama bin Laden’s Cultural Values.”
Daniel K. Weir
Atlanta, Georgia

As usual, Jed Babbin has nailed it. If we had a Ronald Reagan to rally behind, we would see election numbers that would closely mirror Mr. Reagan’s. The MSM and the liberal elitists in politics and academia are almost loco because they cannot persuade regular folks in fly over country to let the said liberal elitists run the show for them. We keep insisting that we be given a say in what happens to us. How absurd.

I would suggest that recent history (from 1900 to present) seems to indicate that a governor is a better choice that a Senator or Congressman for the office of POTUS. I am not sure that Romney is that diamond in the rough, but I would at least listen to his pitch. I had thought that Gov./Sen Allen might be that conservative, but he seems to lack some of the instincts needed to keep from verbal faux pas, and then he is too quick to move to the abject apology stage, instead of telling the media to get a life and move on. Truthfully, I don’t see a conservative Republican out there with the charisma that Reagan had. What drove the Dems crazy was that Reagan had the knack of going directly to the people and drawing them together into a common vision. Other great thinkers and strategists seem more adept at grating on people nerves. There are some Repub Governors that have done some good work, but they have all the charisma of a bowl of sour milk. Much to the chagrin of several readers here, a Repub candidate with the last name Bush will NOT win anytime soon (the next 12 years or more).

I would personally like to see you folks publish a series of articles by Jed Babbin analyzing in some depth possible candidates. I would like it if he would do that for the obvious candidates, but also if he could do some digging for names that do not come rolling off the tongue to contest for POTUS in 2008. Perhaps Jed would know of some within the military community (active or retired) that could make excellent candidates for POTUS and who might be interested in making the run.
Ken Shreve

Conservative pundits, unlike liberals, love to bash their Presidents when they’re in office to prove to the drive-by media that they’re “independent thinkers.” They started beating up on President Reagan during his first administration. President Bush has been luckier — they’ve held off till the second term. On the record President Bush has governed to the right of President Reagan. Just a few examples make this clear.

On taxes President Bush has cut them every year and never raised them while President Reagan cut them then raised them (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 and the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the massive FICA increase on the self-employed with the liberal Greenspan Social Security “reform” plan). When it comes to deficits Reagan was king at 5.9% of GDP. The Bush deficit is currently 2.5% of GDP and headed to being balanced. Reflecting his open borders philosophy President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 was blanket amnesty and citizenship for millions of illegal aliens. President Bush has signed legislation to build a border fence, sent the Nation Guard to the border and beefed up the Border Patrol. His guest worker program is still to the right of Reagan’s plan. President Reagan’s record of fighting terrorism was at best mixed. President Bush is the only U.S. President to consistently fight terrorism. President Bush is the most pro-life President in U.S, history. Reagan is not even close. On the 2nd Amendment President Reagan supported the Brady Bill while this is the most pro 2nd Amendment time in the last 30 years. President Bush has appointed two conservatives to the Supreme Court while Regan gave us one conservative, one moderate and a quasi-moderate heading left.

Like Reagan, who expanded the Departments of Education and Energy and created a massive new bureaucracy the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, President Bush grew government with No Child Left Behind and the senior drug prescription program. The difference is that President Bush promised to do the latter while Reagan promised to abolish the former. Government spending was 17.5% when Reagan entered the White House. It peaked at 23.5% and when he left office it was 21% of GDP. Spending under President Bush has been always been lower with the peak being 20.1% of GDP. To defend both the need to rebuild the military and their wars (Cold War & Global War on Terror) account for most of the spending.

Too many conservatives seem to be mesmerized and enamored with rhetoric while ignoring reality. Reagan was rhetorically a strong conservative, but he governed as a moderate. President Bush is compassionate and rhetorically challenged, but his record is clearly that of the most conservative President in modern history. That’s why liberals now yearn for Reagan “the conservative President they could work with.”

As conservatives we need to appreciate what we have and quit retroactively creating a false reality. Reagan’s Presidency laid the groundwork for the last 20 years of moderate conservatism, but they were far from a conservative panacea. If we refuse to embrace reality now we have doomed ourselves to a moderate-liberal hell in 2008 with a Giuliani/McCain/Rodham-Clinton/Obama Presidency.
Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland


Good American Presidents govern from the center. Policy decisions are tempered by ideology, but not driven by it. This was as true for Reagan as it was for Clinton (did I just say Clinton was a good president?).

George Bush fits this mold. Some of his policy decisions are conservative and some are not. The overriding factor is often expediency. Expediency can be defined in this context as how to achieve a goal, remain true to your ideals, and do the most good for the most people. The bedrock foundation of American democracy is compromise.

Bush is a conservative. His conservatism is informed by Reagan, but not identical to Reagan. History will judge Bush not on how close he came to duplicating the Reagan presidency, but on the success or failure of his policy of spreading free government as a means to curb extremism. This policy may or may not succeed (it is too early to tell), but it cannot be denied that this policy was a new and bold change from previous democratic and republican administrations.

On a smaller scale the Bush economy is booming, housing prices are high, the country is almost fully employed, interest rates are low, inflation is under control, and the stock market is achieving new highs.

Right now, my money is on the notion that history will place President Bush in the second tier of American Presidents. The first tier being occupied by the likes of Washington, Lincoln and perhaps FDR and Reagan. The second tier is not occupied by slouchers. Second tier Presidents include the likes of Grant, Truman, Eisenhower, and others.

Conservatives must not make the mistake that many liberals make, assuming that no decision is a good decision unless it fits neatly in some ideological box. Conservatism is not black and white. It is many shades of gray. To maintain power is to maintain compromise. Achieve good things through the political process and the nation will follow.
Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

Who let the troll in to bash Bush? This is what passes for conservative plans for the future? If I want to read “It’s All Bush’s Fault” I’ll just park my browser over at DU and/or DailyKOS.

If Mr. Babbin represents the “conservative base” then the GOP is already dead and just does not know it yet.

Let me phrase this as simply as I can for the benefit of everyone:


In the way of constructive asides, no political party will succeed for long unless its membership learns to compromise. In a nation this large and diverse, trying to get a homogeneous base to agree on every issue is utopian fantasy. You can get the most important of your agenda at least considered but expect to be disappointed in the particulars.

Case in point: anyone here recall Bush’s attempt to reform Social Security by edging in personal control? Without some sort of fix, Social Security is headed for serious trouble (although the economy could outgrow the problem I have my doubts it will). And who were those handing Bush his teeth after the firestorm that ensued? Some of them were “conservatives”.

But it’s easier to blame that uppity servant Bush for our political misfortunes than actually having to get involved in the grass roots Republicanism of it all.
Arnold Townsend

On Election Day 35% of the voters will vote Democratic and 35% will vote Republican regardless of who are the candidates. They are rock solid party adherents like me – I’ll vote Republican and my good friend for sixty years, Buz, will vote Democratic. Of the remaining 30%, half will vote also according to basic principles but not adhering to political party philosophy. The other half will vote emotionally according to bumper-sticker sound bites they received from telephone calls, TV ads, newspaper headlines etc. and seeing or hearing the word “Iraq” will make a difference. I hope this thought gets across to all voters:

When we think of or read of or hear of “Iraq”, I hope we don’t automatically attach the word “war” to it because it is totally misleading to say or write “Iraq War.” It is truthful and not misleading to say or write “Iraq Conflict in the War on Terror.” Iwo Jima was a battle or conflict; it wasn’t labeled World War II. Iraq is not the “War”!
James Robbins
Eatontown, New Jersey

Back 30 years ago, like many who proceeded me, I “escaped” to Alaska. What I found was contrary to what the Lower-48 had: Republicans were (with rare exceptions) the big spenders and the Democrats were, for the most part, the more conservative. Bill Sheffield served on a committee with me before he successfully was elected governor. I called Governor Steve Cowper a friend, Lt. Governor Steve McAlpine too. I voted for Oral Freeman, probably the most fiscally astute/conservative candidate ever, when he ran.

Those days are probably gone forever. Republican Congressman Don Young deserted his principles, and we all know what a spender Senator Ted Stevens became. Other GOP legislators did too, Trent Lott and a host of others.

Some of us became further soured by Dubya’s lack of leaky border correction, humongous spending and the phenomenally bad growth of government. That was compounded by a “containment” approach to the Iraqi war, a sloppy No-Win attitude with Dr. Rice apparently conned or brainwashed by the State Department she was supposed to be running (but seemed to be running her). Other Republicans have sponsored legislation to outlaw Internet Wagering, and even the Morning After pill in an attempt to disguise all of that horrible spending or pandering to pressure groups.

Moral of the story? The president hasn’t done anything to make me feel proud since cutting taxes and 9/11. Nothing. The economy is successful despite Dubya, not because of him; he’s been an awful president. I feel that he and much of the Republican Party betrayed me.

Yet, I remain thrilled that neither Al Gore was elected. And I thank God daily that creepy John Kerry didn’t make it!

In fact, his sorry pronouncements, especially those of last week, have so gut-wrenching and (in my not-so-humble opinion) evil, I doubt if I’ll ever vote for another Democrat, ever. Following his hideous “joke” is the fact that the quiet veterans paid careful attention, have gnashed their (remaining) teeth, and have pledged to beat all of the miserable bastards who share his dementia.

Understand, I don’t like settling for the “Lesser-of-Evils” but will be holding my nose and voting Republican Tuesday.

Regarding Mr. Hogberg’s article, I would like to say, “AMEN.”
Ken Shreve

Re: Peter Hannaford’s After November 7: Jihadists 1, U.S. 0?:

I do not disagree with Peter Hannaford’s argument that a Democrat-controlled Congress would be a disaster for American foreign policy, especially with respect to the War on Terror. But his article makes two fundamental errors.

First, it assumes that the current course being followed by the Bush administration is the only viable strategy in the war. The refusal to acknowledge that, perhaps, there is a better way to fight the global jihad than trying to bring “freedom and democracy” to the Middle East is, I think, at the heart of much public discontent over the war. For example, there are plenty of people in this country who (implicitly or explicitly) subscribe to Jed Babbin’s much more muscular and nationalistic “Endgame” perspective. These people are not happy with the President’s approach to this issue.

Hannaford’s second error is to endorse the President’s “understanding” that the terrorists “have twisted the Koran’s meaning to reinforce their belief that the world will be perfect when all the infidels — non-Muslims plus Muslims living in secular states — are disposed of.” Hannaford obviously has never read any of the scholarly writings that explain the true nature of Islam — which is precisely a call for Muslims to wage jihad against infidels, until the entire world is brought under Islamic law (sharia). This is the orthodox understanding of Islam, which so-called “radicals” and “extremists” follow explicitly. For an excellent introduction to Islamic theology and culture, see here. Contrary to Hannaford (and Bush), it is non-observant and secular Muslims who “twist” the meaning of Islam. If more Muslims emulated their example, the world would be a much better place.
Steven M. Warshawsky
New York City

Re: The Washington Prowler’s Cheapskate Kerry:

Did you ever hear of the fictional southern Senator, Beauregard Claghorn? Among his favorite lines: “That’s a joke, son! Ahh say, that’s a joke!”

Senator Claghorn inspired the cartoon character, Foghorn Leghorn: “I almost had a gag son. Joke that is. Hey that’s a joke son, don’t ya get it. I made a funny son and your not laughin’.”

Perhaps, with the help of his handlers, Kerry can effectuate the accent.

But Foghorn Leghorn’s pal, Rhode Island Red, might be suitable as an anthropomorphized Kerry. From “Animal Facts” we learn that “The Rhode Island Red chicken was originally developed in Massachusetts….”

And that “They are very good layers of…eggs…”

Not only is the name fitting, John Kerry bears a striking resemblance to Rhode Island Red. (Note the long face. And could that be “the hat?”)

So, while Senator Kerry is re-working his punchlines, the Prowler tells informs us that he is also hoarding cash. In the early part of the last century, the Democrats boldly nominated William Jennings Bryan, not once, not twice, but thrice.

For the entertainment value alone, I pray that the Democrats of this young century keep coming back with Kerry.
Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


I never thought there’d ever be
A thing I could dread more,
Than the horror I might live to see
A President Al Gore.
But when Kerry got the Dems’ pick,
Vying for our veteran votes,
Like other vets I re-upped quick
For a tour on Swiftees’ boats.

We handed him his haughty head
In November 2004,
Made him pay for all the lies he’d said
About us in our war.
We knew this colorful fellow;
He wasn’t red white and blue;
He was Hanoi red and yellow,
Or any shade could get him through.

Again he’s shown his colors true,
Neither olive green nor camo;
No, more a patrician, elitist blue,
To give him academic ammo.
Angry now he stands defying,
On millions of glowing tubes
Telling us our eyes are lying:
He didn’t call our troops all boobs.
Russ Vaughn

Re: Diane Smith’s letter (under “Still Fighting Over Bush”) in Reader Mail’s Speaking of Pence:

Bravo Zulu (a traditional USN pat on the back) for Diane Smith. Ms. Smith, the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) were not disgruntled by the President’s visit. They were excited, energized, and enthusiastic to have their Commander-in-Chief take the time to visit them after completing their successful mission. If you compare how troops respond to him versus Clinton you will find the civilians who speak for the troops are as wrong about this as they are his conservative record (he’s cut and never raised taxes, rebuilt the military, most pro-life President in modern history, on the way to balancing the budget during a time of war, appointed only conservatives to the Supreme Court and Federal bench and the first President to actually fight terrorism). This President is respected and in many cases beloved by the majority of the military. Sadly, some self-anointed “conservative” spokesmen are as misguided as the liberal media they parrot.
LT Michael Tomlinson, CHC, USN
Crownsville, Maryland

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