The Tide Turns - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Tide Turns
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FAITH NO MORE
Re: Reader Mail on the Harriet Miers nomination

I have enjoyed reading your writers on line for sometime but not anymore. The hate that you all are spewing forth is too much for me. Your writers have accomplished something I didn’t think possible: Outdoing the libs. You should be proud of yourselves.
Lou Leggett

UNEARNED
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s SCOTUS Honor:

I agree. Like it or not, a nomination to the Supreme Court is a reward. It is a reward to someone who has labored long and hard in the political fields. Harriet Miers is a lawyer with all the connotations that come with the profession. First, she is a Democrat, then a Republican — she contributes to Democrat causes AND THEN, she works quietly in the basements of power dispensing legal advice to a governor and then President.

At the same time, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owens, et al. have stood out in front and worked to apply the law as it is written. They have suffered stinging rebukes for practicing judicial restraint. They are upstanding, elected and re-elected Conservative judges who deserve THE promotion of all time — nomination to the Supreme Court.

Harriet Miers may be a fine Christian and a wonderful woman, but she has not earned this elevation. It has nothing to do with her gender.
Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

I have a friend that often sees folks getting excited over nothing and she instructs them in this manner: “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!” She lets them know that things have a way of getting sorted out. I feel that way about folks fidgeting over Harriet Miers. I want to tell them to not let their knickers get in a twist. This will sort out. Let the hearings begin and either Ms. Miers will, as I suspect, be able to handle the mountains of questions about her positions, or she won’t. I suspect the lady has both a backbone of steel and is firmly fixed in her ideas. After all, she didn’t get to where she is floating on the ever-changing opinions of others.

So, y’all calm down and don’t get your knickers in a twist, it will all sort out in the end!
Beverly Gunn
East Texas Rancher

Just read your article as I am waiting for the printer to complete a document and then I am heading for home. First, thanks for your comments, particularly to wait for the smoke to clear before making a decision, except as you point out, it hasn’t. I will read this again in the morning; the main purpose tonight was to note the connection between your first paragraph — the Philippine spy, and the last paragraph, sending the column to the White House in a Manila envelope. Nice!
Mark Davis

You are being too cute by a very large margin. “Some say that her SMU degree is a smudge in her makeup.”

I am sure that you can find “some” who have said anything that you want them to have said. I am reasonably confident that you could even find “some” who would say that this latest submission of yours makes sense, from an intellectually honest point of view.

Perhaps you could identify exactly which critics of Ms. Miers are slamming her for her SMU degree. Every candidate that I have seen touted in this current mess by the conservative side is a NON IVY LEAGUE graduate. That includes the male and female candidates, the minority and majority candidates.

As far as saying that both sides are right in these diametrically opposed arguments, that is almost as silly as the nomination of Miers itself. You sound just like Ms. Miers, herself. Take two opposing sides of a debate, split the difference down the middle, and demand plaudits from both sides for your wisdom. The last person that got major plaudits for that tactic was written about in the Old Testament of the Bible. The only thing you do is to antagonize both sides and reveal yourself as too timid to make a decision. Stand in the middle of the road and see if you get hit from both directions, why don’t you.
Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

Jay D. Homnick replies:
Here is one example of many, written by the editor of The Weekly Standard‘s on-line edition. (I wouldn’t write that people are writing it if they weren’t writing it.)

REVERSE ELITISM
Re: Lisa Fabrizio’s Wishful Tinkering:

Lisa Fabrizio repeats the charge that Miers’s opponents are elitists. She’s wrong. The elitist is Bush. Bush is a standard “white bread Republican” who has some conservative views and is far more comfortable with ordinary Americans than his father. But Bush is almost as uncomfortable with the very idea that ordinary Americans could actually influence the government as John Kerry is. That’s why he supported Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary, why he signed the McCain-Feingold bill, why he was almost as upset as John Kerry with the Swift Boat Veterans, why he ignores public outrage at illegal immigration.

And, no, you don’t need to be a brilliant intellectual to read and understand our constitution. You don’t even need to be a lawyer. But to defend decisions that actually follow it against most of the legal and journalistic professions and resist conversion to their elitism, you do need to be a brilliant intellectual with plenty of experience with such things.
unsigned

Absolutely excellent article about the current conservative dustup over Harriet Miers’s nomination. I thought she neatly summed it all up in the paragraph quoted below:

“It is easy to understand the near hysteria from some on the right. The courts have been the Holy Land that conservative crusaders have been trying to reclaim for decades. They are the reason some have looked the other way at what they regard as President Bush’s major transgressions; profligate spending and his reluctance to deal with the illegal immigration mess.”

To this, I would offer one new, but equally important, fact. Bush’s nominees to the lower courts have been applauded by conservatives as helping to change those courts for the better. However, in order for those judges to effect some changes in federal jurisprudence in this country, they must be backed up by a Supreme Court which doesn’t quote foreign law, or find non-existent new rights, when reviewing those conservative lower court decisions.

Miers may be a staunch conservative, worthy of everyone’s support, but, unfortunately, several past appointments by Republican presidents have been very disappointing. Hence, the great unease among those of us who would like to see the Court return to strict originalism.
R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

On occasion a wish is granted. I submit the 1992 presidential election for consideration. The 2008 contest may not have a viable third party contender, but the mood is similar today and is getting worse. Regarding the Miers nomination family induced feud this could be considered President Bush’s read my lips (was he speaking of another “mold” like the kind that is all over Republican Party leaders?) moment against the backdrop of economic stresses building in time for a 2007 fracture. I would also not stereotype all conservatives as cranky in their nature. Conservatives can be cranky when they start coming to the conclusion that they have been duped by a closet liberal or at least by somebody who has built a perception to be conservative but has often displayed very liberal actions.

It is true that Conservatives are now a political force but also equally true that these spineless Republicans do not seem to grasp the simple fact that leadership demands responsibility. And equally true is our President seems not to understand this reality. If he did he would have vetoed obese spending measures, not conspired with liberals (especially after such a vile 2000 campaign against him) to enact new entitlements that can not be funded and undermine tax cuts, and not taken his base (except the religious right) for granted. The President has not lead his party. Consider an issue such as illegal immigration where the country is begging him to be proactive he vacillates for purely political (mis)calculation. His party has lead him on over a waterfall on almost all matters except the war on terror.

What good is holding the reins of power if they have no purpose except to hold the reins? Today’s Republicans are nothing like those of 10 years ago. Republicans then did more good out of power than those with power today. Even the embattled Delay has morphed into some strange being when he said there was no more fat in the federal budget.

Lisa, the best thing we can all do is to hold those in the Republican Party accountable for their failure to live up to the plank. We should make them walk it. It has been suggested that the President is not weak but the Congress is weak. They have both gone wobbly. A group intervention is required because they are truly not aware of how out of touch they have become with conservative philosophy or they just do not care. If the Republicans must become the minority party again then a walk in the wilderness will probably do them good. There they can rediscover their roots. It is foolish to think that conservatives have no other place to go or that they will not sit on the side lines next year. The Republicans can keep their eyes closed for a very long time, but that does not mean Conservatives will go away though their checkbooks just might.
Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

PROP WORK
Re: Peter Hannaford’s Propositions From Arnold:

Now this Proposition 75 (payroll protection) is a sure winner. Something that should be done in every state. Thank goodness that Texas is a right to work state and would be even better with this prop.
Elaine Kyle

McCARTHY WAS RIGHT
Re: James Bowman’s Good Night and Good Luck:

Can we expect a movie anytime soon setting forth the actual truth: The historical fact that Senator Joseph McCarthy was factually correct in his findings that Communist infiltration and corruption of the U.S. government during and after WWII existed on a broad scale? No? You mean the Hollywood left was an actual reality and still (gasp) lives on? One piece of good news in all this is that movie industry revenues are dropping like Bill Clinton’s pants. In the New World of the New Media, wouldn’t it be ironic if America’s most viciously competitive, conscienceless, backstabbingly brutal, winner-take-all form of capitalism — perhaps the most corrupt form of legal enterprise in the world — was actually forced to reform one day by the very forces of the capitalist system which it so bitterly denounces (as it nonetheless lives by), thus finally curbing its hypocritical dictation to the proletariat about what it ought to think.
Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California

Helpful is David Halberstam’s idea in The Fifties that some liberals were and are blinded by the prejudice he calls “anti-anti-communism.” KGB files show that Communists were indeed in the government, and not in numbers smaller than those McCarthy variously charged. Note that in the same pretentious spirit as Clooney’s movie and for the same reasons, Keith Olbermann has been known to use Morrow’s sign-off. At least Dan Rather never did that.
R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

Another excellent review by Mr. Bowman. I got an early morning laugh with Mr. Bowman’s description of this PC film. So shocking — another anachronism-laden PC script by a self-indulgent, spoiled Hollywood brat. Today’s film “biographies” are void of any real sense of history so it is actually a comedy of today’s pop culture projected on to the past.

I wonder when an intelligent, independent-thinker will make an accurate, biographical film about Hollywood-friendly Alger Hiss and his WWII Eastern Europe sellout consigning hundreds of millions to die under Joe Stalin’s Communism. Or maybe a non-PC film of the left’s icon Mao Tse-tung and his murder of 70 million human beings. Liberal media darlings Alger Hiss and Edgar Snow wholeheartedly supported Stalin and Mao, respectively, and their myths continue today despite all evidence to the contrary. Their heinous lies have been exposed, but the left refuses to acknowledge it. Joe McCarthy had failings, but nothing compared to Alger Hiss or Edgar Snow.

Will TAS do a book review of Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday? One is currently at The New Criterion and definitely worth the read.
Joe Weldon
Juno Beach, Florida

CALLING ALL LANGUAGE SCHOLARS
Re: Vincent Chiarello’s letter (under “Lessons in Aramaic”) in Reader Mail’s In Dogged Pursuit:

Mr. Vincent Chiarello is only partly right about Aramaic. It was the most widespread Christian language until the rise of Islam in the sixth century A.D. It was spoken from Palestine to the borders of China and India. It is still the liturgical language of many Oriental Christian churches. Far from being an historical curiosity, it is of immense importance to the study of the Christian origins and the New Testament, and even the Koran (which according to some commentators makes more sense if you translate it from Arabic into Aramaic).

I think perhaps Mel Gibson was wrong — I’d have put the dialogue into koine Greek and Hebrew (the language that Rabbis used in worship and to talk to their disciples). I did enjoy the dialogue though.

Fond as I am of Latin (very fond, actually), St. Jerome’s vulgate is a relative latecomer, beautiful as it is.
Fr. Ephraem Chifley, O.P.
Sydney, Australia

“You must also know — or should — that when the Church moved west to its current digs, Church, as opposed to Roman, Latin became its lingua franca, and has so been for more than 1500 years.”

In regards to the above, Greek to English matters too. Church means — in a Christian sense — ekklesia {ek-klay-see’-ah}:

1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting;
2) a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake;
3) those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body;
4) the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth;
5) the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven;

I think Mr. Chiarello meant “When the Catholic Church governing body moved west…”
Kevin W.
Morgantown, West Virginia

Let’s review the plot so far. James Philbin wrote an article in the Spectator criticizing Cardinal McCarrick for, among other things, praying to Allah. Several people noted in response that there are Catholics today who pray to Allah, simply because that is the word for God in their native language. Mr. Hughes’ contribution to this was to point out that Jesus quite probably prayed to Allah, or a construction quite similar, for the same reason. That is all he said.

For his efforts Mr. Hughes is accused of writing a “tirade,” and later in the letter, a “philippic,” which is a forty dollar word that means, well, “tirade.” I am not quite sure what the actual purpose of Mr. Chiarello’s letter was. The best that I can come up with is that he is afraid Aramaic is making a comeback. Perhaps Mel Gibson has him spooked. How else to explain these phrases in his letter — “the translation into Aramaic, unfortunately, escapes me,” “Well my Aramaic is a bit rusty,” “Aramaic was too remote a linguistic medium,” and “how would I say that in Aramaic?” We get it; Aramaic is too insignificant to waste any of Mr. Chiarello’s time. I am sure he would agree our time would be much better spent in boning up on conversational Latin.
Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey

COOL HAND NUKE
Re: Tom Bethell’s More Nukes!:

The failure to pursue the Breeder Reactor in the mid-eighties, except by the French, was not mentioned in the piece. Was that a mistake too? I have always suspected that our reliance on coal had some secondary benefits to Appalachia. Without coal mining as a heavy component of power production the depopulation and the poverty of Appalachia would have been much worse.

The idea that nukes are OK once the Useful Idiots have changed sides gives me the willies. It will take years to get the nuke ball rolling again and it will cost a lot of money if they want to swap back again to save whales instead of civilization.

If we have plenty of energy resources and plenty of nukes, why can’t the Iranians do the same thing?
Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

Mr. Bethell did not mention the existing solution to the nuclear “waste,” i.e. the spent fuel from existing power plants. In France, Russia, Japan, and Great Britain such “waste” is not stored in underground caves as is planned here (Yucca Mountain). It is reprocessed in breeder reactors which generate more electricity while producing new nuclear fuel for the conventional nuclear power plants. This recycling of the existing “spent fuel” could produce enough electrical energy in the USA for about 1,500 years, assuming an annual growth in electricity consumption of 3%. Only 3 such breeder reactors could do the job. No “waste dumps” would be required, and no new uranium mines would be needed. Our first planned breeder reactor named Clinch River was killed by the enviro-nazis and their Democrat allies during Carter years. Compared to France, we are a third world country in electricity production; the French produce 90% of their electricity needs in nuclear reactors and, thanks to their breeder reactors, they have no need for any “nuclear waste dumps.”
Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada

EASY LIKE THE CONSTITUTION
Re: Andrew Cline’s The Conservative Problem With Harriet Miers:

Andrew Cline refers to “the vastly complex world of constitutional jurisprudence,” as if the arcana of Supreme Court precedent — the record of the whims of Lewis Powell, Sandra O’Connor, Potter Stewart, and other tergiversators past — were “constitutional.” ACTUAL constitutionalism is not so complex, and one needn’t have been a Roberts at Harvard Law to become a master of it. The record of John Marshall, or of Clarence Thomas, proves that.
Prof. Kevin R. C. Gutzman, History
Western Connecticut State University

GAMBLING ON RESTRAINT
Re: Brandon Crocker’s The Constitution Is Enlightenment Enough:

Mr. Crocker made some very accurate observations about the Constitution and the differences between America and Europe in his article. However, the tight reasoning and analysis present throughout most of his article disappear entirely when he claims that the nomination of Miers will make the debate on judicial activism easier than it would have been if an established conservative legal scholar and/or judge were nominated.

His sole justification for this claim is that she does not have a record Senate Democrats can distort. However, this is precisely what will prevent a thorough debate on the proper role of the judiciary. An attempt by Senate Democrats to distort the record of a solid legal conservative would provide the best possible venue to reveal the shallowness of their position and demonstrate and explain the virtue of the originalist approach to constitutional interpretation. Real past decisions and/or academic writings could be questioned, explained and explored. However, since Miers has produced no such material for anyone in the Senate to examine such a debate will be hard to have. The absolute lack of material to work with will make it almost impossible. The guarded and restrained performance that she most certainly will give during the confirmation hearings will hardly provide a suitable alternative.

Additionally, in light of reports that Miers has expressed antipathy and hostility towards members of the one organization that has made furthering the aforementioned debate their top priority, the Federalist Society, I am hardly confident that she is the one to be the standard bearer for judicial restraint and fidelity to the intent of the Founding Fathers.
Joel T. Leggett
California

NO LAUGH TRACK
Re: James Bowman’s Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit:

What a crock! The review, that is. I saw the film yesterday with my three-year-old grandson. I managed, maybe, a half-dozen genuine laughs, my grandson about half that. Nobody else in the theater, who were of every age, was laughing much either.

To be sure, the film is visually stunning. And yes, it has more than a bit of wit about it, especially the take-offs on King Kong and some of the classic horror flicks, assuming that one is old enough and cinema-savvy enough to get the allusions. But it just isn’t very funny. And much of what humor is there is lost on people below a certain age, and on anybody who doesn’t have an understanding of the stereotype about the British passion for gardening.

On the whole, the movie made me wish that Chuck Jones could be brought back from the dead and start once again producing Looney Tunes cartoons.
Chuck Vail

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