ALL HASTERT BREAKS LOOSE
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Hastert La Vista, Baby!:
I’ve got boxes and packing peanuts if somebody’s got a truck and a dolly…
— Mark Stewart
Everything Quin Hillyer says is absolutely true — every word of it. However, since Dennis Hastert is my very large elephant, I have trouble finding a lot of fault with his actions over the last eight years. It has been a comfort to know that while the preening, prancing Republican Senators could not be counted on for anything of importance, at least the House was getting work done.
Now a couple of questions for Mr. Hillyer: Did the mainstream press carp at Tom Foley’s methods of getting his party’s agenda through? I don’t remember any of those hit pieces, do you? Wouldn’t it be nice if “our” pressies and commentators would go a little easier on Mr. Hastert? Why must Republicans eat their own?
I agree the Speaker over-reacted to the FBI search of Jefferson’s office, but that combined with many other attacks on Mr. Hastert, only points up his need for a vacation. Let’s give him a rest and go after the pols who really need a roughing up — the denizens of the Senate!
You leave my Dennis alone, please.
— Judy Beumler
A thoughtful and well-written reminder of how Hastert and Co. have gone astray. Our Founding Fathers were indeed prescient. Their remarkable document has withstood not only the test of time, but also various attacks by Congressional hacks whose prime obligation is to the very document they seek to distort.
You claim that some of the Founders were against term limits for Congress; that may indeed be so. However, I doubt that even these intellectual giants could have foreseen the practice by professional politicians to rig districts by gerrymandering so as to deprive the “citizenry to choose its favorite representatives.” With perhaps only 20 Congressional districts out of 435 in “play,” I suspect our Founders might have a jaundiced view of this faux “competitive” process.
— A. DiPentima
We can soft-pedal the effects of illegal immigrants overrunning our country, to the tune of unreported billions of dollars in taxes for which legitimate U.S. citizens are held harshly accountable, regardless of their origins, but let one Congressman be held accountable for his criminal acts and all Hastert breaks loose. The Republicans warn us of the consequences of Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House, should us ignorant rubes and hicks fail to support them in November. However, at least Nancy Pelosi can be entertaining, in contrast to some fat non-entity whose strongest position to date, other than Pro-Pork, is Pro-Congressional Criminality.
(Official notice to all U.S. citizens, especially the Republican base: That is not a Seinfeld marathon you have been watching in Washington since the Contract With America Revolution in 1994. That actually IS the REAL U.S. Government, led by Republicans, in actual action).
— Gene Wright
Supporting Kramer for President in ’08 (could he do worse?)
Laguna Niguel, California
I absolutely agree, it is long past time for this blundering, lukewarm RINO to step aside. His vigorous defense of a blatantly corrupt Democrat really is the straw that broke the camel’s back. When he decided to defend Wiliam Jefferson, he really stepped in it, and that stink isn’t going to go away anytime soon. What a shame that Republicans are giving credence to the Democrats’ charge of “a culture of corruption.”
— G. Sorrentino
Mr. Hillyer’s article is one that contains a great deal of good common sense ideas and judgments. I find myself in agreement with it in several particulars. Mr. Hillyer comes up a bit short in a couple of points, however.
The first one may seem minor or picky, but I think not. He cites the late night abomination of a vote on a House bill as a prime example of Hastert’s rule by brute force. Well, sir, that was the only way that Hastert (and Tom DeLay) could get that particular piece of George Bush’s agenda passed, as such a large number of conservative Republicans were against it. I certainly hope that tactic will NOT be used again in order to pass a compromise immigration bill containing amnesty and citizenship for illegals as George Bush wants.
Secondly, Mr. Hillyer needs to redo some of his historical research on Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and how they performed in office. Mr. Hillyer states; “Thus did Hastert institute a culture of brute power in the House divorced from both rules and tradition, not to mention consistency.”
Mr. Hillyer, have you ever heard of Speaker Sam Rayburn, or Speaker Tip O’Neill? These two men alone held the post long enough to have established “tradition” in performing the duties of the office. These two men are considered giants in the long line of Speakers of the House. These two men used any and all techniques necessary to pass legislation at a given time. In fact, I would propose that Hastert’s main failing has been in NOT using brute force to replace RINOs that hold committee chairs.
Mr. Hastert is wrong in picking this particular fight with the White House over the Jefferson affair. The White House has been wrong in picking many of its fights with the House Republican Caucus. The White House has been wrong in the marginalization and then termination of Mr. Hastert’s personal friend and ally, Porter Goss at CIA, and the installation of what seems to be a Negroponte (think State Dept.) ally in his place. What I am suggesting is that the White House in their disrespecting of Congressional sensibilities has conditioned Hastert, and many other Repubs, to take strange, hasty stands.
If Hastert is tone deaf on issues of criminal conduct by legislators, George Bush is totally deaf on immigration/illegal alien amnesty issues. Maybe both should go. Would a President Cheney be so bad?
— Ken Shreve
Quin Hillyer replies:
Hey, I was for Cheney for president way back in 1995! I’m for Cheney as president whenever he wants the job. If Mr. Shreve can figure out a way for us to merely appoint Cheney to the Oval Office in January of 2009, I’m all for it.
Hillyer on Hastert: Bravo! Well done. Crocker on amnesty: Phooey! Just secure the borders and forget all the double-talk… it’s not convincing.
— C. Baker
READY FOR THE AL SHOW
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Is Al Gore Ready for His Close-Up?:
Al Gore for President? Well, it’s worth a(nother) try, I guess. Although I don’t see how you can win an election while drowning in flop sweat.
Will Republican ads include Al’s SNL guest appearances? I thought the one with Al and an actor playing Joe Lieberman in the hot tub skit was especially presidential. Then there was the famous 2000 debate with Al stalking George Bush, moving in to “take his measure” so to speak, — “Hey, look, I’m taller than Dubya, and I am VP, so it follows that I should be the people’s choice.” All the while babbling “What about _______(I can’t recall)-Dingle (some bill he was sure George Bush had never heard of). I will never forget the dismissive nod of the head George Bush gave Al — leaving him no place to go but back to his podium. We could also re-live the Buddhist Temple visit, where he collected alms for Al.
Does this country need a manic depressive has-been who could not even carry his home state in the election? If he had managed that he wouldn’t have needed Florida. Darn, though, it would have been so wholesome to have had a first lady with a name like a fox terrier’s.
However, lest we underestimate Hillary — what is the role she plays best? That of VICTIM. She can waltz into the primaries singin’ “Why is evahbody pickin’ on me?” and wind up with the nomination. Either way, we win. Keep hope alive, as our ol’ friend, Jesse Jackson used to say when he could still find an audience.
— Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California
I am a great Al Gore fan. From the time of his putative nervous breakdown (sometime during the Clinton impeachment ordeal) he has reminded of no one more than Frank Gorchin. While Mr. Gorchin is a mimic who flawlessly imitates others, Mr. Gore has, due to this breakdown, become unsure of who he is and so almost quarterly invents someone new. We all remember his long incarnation as an Ed Sullivan-ish wooden marionette who spoke on the nasal monotone used by our beloved Ben Stein in his television persona. This persona swept Mr. Gore into the vice presidency, the Clintons apparently believing he was as dumb as he sounded.
Then there came the omniscient Al. He was the one that invented so many things, among which were the Internet, cars, polio vaccine, and soft rock. Then we got Al the Angry. He was the Al who concluded that George Bush was responsible for every plague and difficulty, including the September 11 attacks on America, that have ever plagued us. Then we got Prince Albert of Tennessee. He was the mogul; the maker of radio and television networks given to lying about achievements of the extreme left wing of our present day communist party. Now we have Josef Goebbels Al, the maker of really bad (I’ve seen it) gloom and doom propaganda films.
I predict the next iteration will be Martyr/Savior Al. This Al will sacrifice himself on the alter of presidential politics — my friends and neighbors told me only I can save America — and so I give up my body for you. And hopefully this will be his last iteration and we can be rid of this arrogant, condescending, pompous, self aggrandizing fop.
— Jay W. Molyneaux
I read with great interest the opinion piece of Lisa Fabrizio on Al Gore, and his environmental movement. Gore has been missed. We have let our environment, and the world take a downward turn the last several years due to poor leadership.
Without proper leadership, the world’s environment will deteriorate and threaten the existence of mankind. To preserve our planet for our grandchildren is our most important goal. Without an inhabitable planet, what good is our inheritance?
— Robert E. Griffin, Psychologist
Forty Fort, Pennsylvania
I don’t know what to make of Al Gore.
What is inside his core?
What does he believe?
I cannot conceive
Of a more bewildering bore.
— Mimi Evans Winship
NONSENSE WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES
Re: James Bowman’s review of An Inconvenient Truth:
Mr. Bowman is correct in placing the latest Gore polemic An Inconvenient Truth and by implication, Gore’s masterpiece “Earth in the Balance” along side some of the other master works of idiocy from the hyperbolic left, i.e. Professor Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bomb, Population Bomb. Among some of Ehrlich’s truisms was the fact that the “battle to feed humanity is over, and that in the ’70s and ’80s hundreds of millions will die of starvation”. Oh well, it seems this small miscalculation hasn’t cost Ehrlich his position at Princeton. Yes, as Rush muses, leftist nonsense, despite its collision with facts, always seems to get rewarded without any consequences. Mr. Bowman was kind enough to spare the preeminent marine biologist, ecologist and sometimes actor, Ted Danson, from his learned prediction that Earth’s oceans would be “dead” in 10 years. That prediction is, I believe, 20 years old. Seems 10 year periods of time have some magical significance for these prognosticators of absolute truths. I believe Gore has recently pronounced, somewhere in Europe, that we have 10 years left before global warming destroys us as well as the hearty cockroach.
One last thought: what do Al Gore, Al Franken, and Joe Wilson all have in common? Their “seminal” masterpieces all have the word truth prominently displayed in their titles. Enough said.
— A. DiPentima
Thank you for writing this article on Al Gore’s “film.” We must keep exposing this man for what he truly is (a loser). Why so many fall into his lies I’ll never know! Again, thank you.
Los Angeles, California
I can’t help but get discouraged that more people do not see through the bloviating and poor logic of the global warming agenda, while interesting thinkers like Bjorn Lomborg get sidelined. I think creating alternate scenarios of global catastrophe may help put the proposed solutions to global warming into perspective. Imagine it is the year 2009 and NASA were to make a public announcement that astronomers have discovered a very large asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. According to their orbital calculations, the impact will occur on June 23, 2067, at 12:45 pm EST somewhere in Central Asia, and it will be of a larger scale than the impactor that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Seeing that the magnitude of this disaster will cause the end of civilization as we know it, U.S. politicians, led by President Al Gore, sell the American public on a massive program to deflect the asteroid. Seeing that the U.S. is the world’s current preeminent space faring nation, the vast bulk of the expense will fall on the U.S. Other space faring nations make token contributions, but it pretty much falls to the USA. Over the next 50 years, trillions are spent to launch payloads into space to deflect the asteroid. By 2066 the nation’s treasury is depleted and its people are impoverished, but alas we have bought a future for our children and grandchildren. NASA makes some final orbital calculations to verify the effects of the effort to deflect the asteroid, and announces the project has been successful. The asteroid will not impact Central Asia on June 23, 2067, at 12:45 pm EST.
Meanwhile, an intrepid astronomer in China makes his own measurements and publishes his findings. The asteroid has indeed been deflected, but it will still impact the Earth. The new impact time is some 13 hours later over North America. The American public reacts with fury, NASA indignantly defends itself by pointing out that this information was disclosed in the initial proposal for the deflection project, it’s not their fault the public did not read the fine print of the whole thing. “Why the fury?” asks the NASA administrator, we did it for the children, they can all sleep safe and sound for an extra 13 hours, isn’t that worth it?
— Stan Wright
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s A Half-American Original:
I never tire of pointing out to my generally ignorant leftist acquaintances, both Hitler and Mussolini were men of the left. It seems to me that the National Socialist Workers Party and Italy’s syndicalist mishmash should not be put on the right wing shelf. Further evidence: Goebbels’ comment upon the invasion of the USSR that now we (Germany) would show them how real socialism worked.
It infuriates and confounds the lefties as it points out their profound lack of any historical reference and gets them off the day’s talking points.
— Bruce Karlson
Just wanted to throw a little in the pot and stir up more trouble.
Mr. Tyrrell’s article on Carter isn’t “filled with hatred”; unfortunately for our country, Tyrrell’s article is filled with truth. The left and their ilk, such as Carter, spew forth hatred constantly against our country and are given a pass, so when someone like Tyrrell comes along and calls them on it, they don’t like it much. Well, boo hoo. Get used to it because when history is actually written men like Carter will be seen as the Benedict Arnolds they are.
Also, I avoid “Jimmy Carter Boulevard” in the Atlanta area as much as possible just for my own private rebellion. Keep ’em honest, Mr. Tyrrell.
— Deborah Durkee
In most college courses we are taught that we must support and document our theses if we expect to have them taken seriously. This is true for a parsing of the Carter administration. The only caveat is that to support the conclusion that the Carter presidency was an abysmal failure; the only documentation necessary is the public record. Mr. Carter was ineffective in virtually every aspect of his presidency. From taxation to national defense, from foreign policy to economic development, his failure was obvious and catastrophic. Remember the saying that the only thing that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing? Well Mr. Carter’s presidency would have been immeasurably more successful if he had only done nothing rather than the things that he did. And, by the way, I humbly and embarrassingly admit that I voted for him in ’76.
— Joseph Baum
Typical leftist garbage, or maybe it was really disguised humor? Reminds me of the daily letters to the editor published in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Always worth a laugh.
Three cheers for Junior and Ben!
— Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico
Yes, I’m sure that Tyrrell is more than capable to respond to this screed, but I can’t let it go. Yes, Carter was given a Nobel Prize, the first ever that actually cited anti-Americanism in the announcement. It was given to contrast with the current U.S. president. By the way, Jimmah’s campaigning for the award for so many years was a very pathetic display. Secondly, the only tin horn Latin American “election” that the Carter Institute hasn’t “validated” is a Cuban election, but I’m sure they will certify one of those soon. This same organization negotiated the wonderful agreement that allowed North Korea cover to develop their nuclear weapons. The only human rights stances he takes seem to be in developed countries, never anywhere else.
It’s true that Carter was a Southern Baptist minister until his views (pro-abortion, pro-gay rights) became so far out that he had to leave that denomination. And contrary to the Carter myth, he did not found Habitat for Humanity; he only provided them with much needed start up publicity.
As for being the worst president of the United States in the last 100 years, it, like all listed above, hardly qualifies as a “good work.”
— Tom McGonnell
It behooves a fellow libertarian to return musket fire at a passel of malcontents, and sciolists who have attacked the bona-fides of Bob Tyrrell, a confidant of President Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Malcolm Muggeridge, all luminaries! We have had democratic presidents who have aroused fears in the republic and fomented hatreds, think Roosevelt.
Mr. Carter, though, was a public nuisance with a misplaced arrogance who anchored a ship of state where employment fell, prices rose, interest rates rose, and all the smart money and smart people boycotted the American economy! Here is a cipher in chief who chose as his secretary of state the milque-toast Warren Christopher, who was understood to say when he heard of the initial plans to free the hostages in Iran, to effect, “You’re going to shoot them between the eyes”!!!! Dr. Tyrrell’s Coogler Award is a spoof on such awards, as Pulitzers, et al.! Dr. Tyrrell is a sophisticated and polished journalist and student of history in the tradition of a William Buckley and H.L. Mencken. To paraphrase the sage of Baltimore is assessing a pol, and nuisance such as Jimmy Carter, “his failures are ignominious, and his success, disgraceful”!
— Edward Del Colle
LIBS FOR JESUS
Re: Mark Tooley’s Fellow Methodist Demands Bush Impeachment:
I just read the article by Mark Tooley entitled “Fellow Methodist Demands Bush Impeachment.” All I can say is “Kudos, Mr. Winkler. Kudos.” It is about time someone from the Religious Right paid attention to the raping and pillaging of the American land and people as well as the Bush assault on moral integrity by claiming the war in Iraq is a war on terrorism. I believe Mr. Jim Winkler deserves a medal.
— Kim Gelinas
I was a member of the UMC congregation where Mr. Winkler was a member. His opinions where an embarrassment to the people that I associated with in various men’s and Sunday school groups. Yet the congregation refused to withhold funding for that particular hierarchal group or any of the other “liberation theology” organizations. After about a year I sadly moved on.
— Tom McGonnell
Just for the record, I’m the opposite of a conspiracy theorist. On the other hand, I would think that by now all of you would recognize that the Bush Administration has close ties to the business world, particularly in Houston, and that the Bush clan isn’t very good at thinking outside the box. If you look beyond George W. Bush’s maverick veneer and his embarrassing Texas twang, the guy has team player written all over him — he was even a cheerleader at Andover! He knows better than anyone that he would not be where he is today without lots of support from family and friends. This opens the door to all kinds of opportunism. And his pals aren’t the kind of people who know much about world history, cultural anthropology, sociology, etc. Many elements contributed to the disaster in Iraq, and I doubt anyone in that group is smart enough to be a mastermind.
— Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois
A TONAL NOTE
Re: Letters in Reader Mail’s At His Reflective Best:
I always dive into the Reader Mail in TAS first. Most of your correspondents are constructive and enlightening, and some, like Mimi Evans Winship, are enchantingly creative. So whence came all the distemper in the May 31 edition? Sure, it included some thank-you’s to Ben Stein, with a few props to Jed Babbin, but then it morphed into a venomfest. “Right-wing hack” Mark Tooley was maligned as “snide and sarcastic,” while poor R. Emmett Tyrrell was mercilessly savaged with “hater,” “waste of ink,” “smug, shortsighted,” “shallow,” “Punky-lips,” “puppy-torturer,” “loud-mouthed, lilly-livered (sic) coward,” “idiot,” etc.
However, most distressing was that even I appeared to have contributed inadvertently through my follow-up in the “spot on” series. I apologize to the lovely and talented Diane Smith for conveying the impression that she was “flippant.” She was no such execrable thing. Au contraire (yes, I even steal expressions from the French!), Miss Smith, your notes are invariably charming and I look forward to the next one. If you ever visit Richmond, it would be an honor to buy you dinner.
— Jim Bono
I always like Ben Stein’s articles. This one is especially good. Please let him know.
Yes, let us make sure of the meaning. If it cannot be verbalized, it can nevertheless be known. If we never reach agreement on details, let us nevertheless agree on principles.
Love ya, Ben. Thank you.
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