Re: Reid Collins’s Mudd in the CBS Eye:
The decision to choose Dan Rather over Roger Mudd may go down with the Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock trade as one of the worst in history. As you note, Roger Mudd was, and is, a solid newsman, smart, dignified, and “fair and balanced” before Fox News coined the phrase. Like Brian Lamb from C-SPAN, he’s one of those who practice the best virtue of his profession: Nobody can tell from the way he presents a story or conducts an interview what his politics are.
— Warren Mowry
My best recollection of Roger Mudd was a real television hatchet job called “The Selling of the Pentagon” in the 1960s. I have disliked him ever since. There was a lot of editing of speaker’s remarks to make speakers look foolish, as became routine with “60 Minutes.”
— Richard Soderholm
It was pretty clear from the get go that, in choosing Dan Rather over Roger Mudd, CBS went with flash instead of serious presentation. And from the get go it was also pretty clear that Mr. Rather was a lightweight. I grew up when news was, at least in appearance, serious business; my god, at the beginning of the program CBS aired nothing but the sound of the news ticker in the background just to remind you that you were at the place where news was job one. I believe NBC used a portion of Beethoven’s 9th symphony as the theme music — nothing casual about that.
Back then it was all serious and presented by serious men. Did personal views ever get in front of a story, in those days? I remember, occasionally Mr. Mudd would offer up a wry smile at the end of a report, just to let you know there was more to be said, but it was also a signal that, due to an understood sense of propriety and journalistic integrity, some things can’t be the subject of commentary — at least in a news report. Besides, that’s what Eric Severeid was for. Back then, the sad spectacle of “fake but accurate” would never have occurred to anyone, I don’t believe.
— Michael Presley
Lake Mary, Florida
YOUR COAT, SENATOR
Re: John Tabin’s The Sarbanes Opening:
I second John Tabin’s thoughts on retiring U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes: Good Riddance. But as a native Marylander, I’d like to go even further than Mr. Tabin in denouncing the senior senator from the Old Line State.
Paul Sarbanes has never been more than a useful idiot for the Democratic Party. He’s a complete hack who could always be counted on to vote the Party Line on any issue. Until recently, the Dems have had a complete death-grip on Maryland politics, much to the state’s detriment, and Sarbanes is exemplary of the problem. As Tabin argues, perhaps Sarbanes most notable moment (in his long and uninspiring Senate tenure) was the regulation-gone-amok Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which came near the twilight of his career.
However, I’ll always choose to remember Sarbanes for a choice moment that occurred in the 1970s. Sarbanes was an ardent supporter of busing in Baltimore, claiming (of course) that forced integration was for the betterment of society. Because he was a city resident, his children would naturally be subject to the new regulations, except for the fact that Sarbanes sent his sons to the prestigious, private Gilman School in Roland Park, one of Baltimore’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Hypocrisy — how utterly consistent with liberalism!
The residents of Maryland took tremendous strides in discarding some of the old Democratic machine when they elected Bob Ehrlich as Governor. They have another chance to continue unraveling the Dems’ hold on the state now that this hack-supreme Sarbanes is retiring. Here’s hoping the trend continues.
— Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey
Here in Maryland we call Sarbanes our “shadow” Senator because the only time we hear from him is every six years when he wants to be re-elected. The truth is that in Maryland, all anyone needs for a statewide office is Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Prince Georges County. The rest of the State does not exist. Great article — tells it like it is.
Re: Jed Babbin’s The Botched Italian Job:
What’s a body to do, Iranian wise I mean?
If we rush in now, the Euros will have a cow. Not that we are in need of Dutch milk, but the politics, having given the Euros the chance we need to play it out. Geostrategically, with our reserves down, the ability to send 8-10 divisions into Iran now is really a stretch.
So Bush right now has to pull a rope-a-dope. Now whether all the political maneuvers buy us any time till the Iraq situation stabilizes and forces can be shifted eastward is a crap shoot. Bush could do patty cake with the Chinese enough to make the Russians fear their Far East position. Maybe sufficient to dissuade the Russians from continuing their Iranian supply mission. However I suspect that doing so has great perils as well. The U.N. as far as any solutions will most likely be avoided.
If Bush has any chance at all of changing the situation it is through some sort of internal insurgency effort. However, I do not agree with your MEK position as the source of that insurgency necessarily. Doing so might provide short term relief only to find the end result being Iran falling under the Russian sphere. I find it hard to believe that there is not some Chalabi-like expat living here in the West to rally such an effort behind.
As Michael Ledeen is oft quoted, “Faster Please!”
— John McGinnis
FREE THE BLOGGING MARKET
Re: Patrick Hynes’s Free Blogging in a Free Republic:
It is my custom each morning to read on the Internet some of the morning papers and some of the blogs as well. I do not want anyone to regulate the Internet. I like to hear everyone’s point of view. In time if they are nutty or have a distorted view of reality I will discover it and ignore them. On the other hand if they consistently dispense reliable (confirmed) information and wisdom I will continue to read them. So let them all hew away and let the chips fall where they may. I can handle it.
— Paul Bunker
La Moille, Illinois
SOAP AND WATER
Re: George Neumayr’s It Takes a Snow Job:
Hillary and her “friends” would be the last people I would trust with any of my children or grandchildren. As First Lady she left a lot to be desired. I remember the Whitewater files that showed up after several years in the White House reading room. Hillary never saw them but her finger prints were all over them. Her protectors said she worked on them so her prints would be on them. This is true but they were copies of the original files which she said she never saw. It’s a great machine that can copy files as well as finger prints. Then when the Clintons left the White House didn’t some White House silver sort of walk out also? And the Judith Leiber bags she denied getting but were used in some photo shots. I don’t think she would be a good example of America in any way, shape or form.
— Clifford Gerald
Satellite Beach, Florida
I laughed out loud when I heard that Sen. Clinton is upset about the content of television programs and its influence on children. I was placed on bed rest due to a complication with a pregnancy in early 1998. Fortunately for me the Lewinsky scandal broke the day after my confinement which relieved much of the boredom. Still I recall having to send my sons, ages seven and four, out of the room much of the time when news of Mrs. Clinton’s husband’s antics were discussed. I did not exactly want my boys to have to listen to Bob Bennett going on at length about the shape, size, or whatever about the Presidential penis. Nor did I want them to learn how to become good liars or how to use words to weasel out of responsibility for their behaviors; all lessons of her husband’s presidency. What would the next Clinton administration look like? Will I have to send the kids out again so as not to hear about or learn how to throw dishes across a room when they are mad? How to scream like lunatics, how to adopt condescending attitudes towards their fellow citizens? They certainly don’t need lessons in paranoia. Mrs. Clinton struck me as someone in need of Haldol after that “vast right-wing conspiracy” remark. I agree that there is much garbage on television. But at least it doesn’t come in the form of “news from the White House.”
— Sheila M. Blanchet
A true-born Briton and instinctive ally of the United States, I will always pay due reverence to the sacrifice made for freedom by the American People, in human and financial terms, during both world wars. Without the very great efforts of the U.S., both Hitler and the Kaiser would have ruled over empires even more vast and permanent than, fleetingly, they did.
It is, therefore, with a heavy heart that I must disagree with Scotty Uhrich’s letter (“Late and Forever,” March 14th) and give qualified support to my countryman Martin Kelly.
The United States, as a country, approaches war in the manner of ancient Sparta-holding off such dire action until all other avenues have been exhausted, then, reluctantly, applying overwhelming force .
When Mr. Uhrich speaks of England (I take it he means Britain) and France, holding back from such action against Germany in 1938, he calls this attitude “appeasement.” Further, he speaks of “the selling out of their allies” (presumably Czechoslovakia). To my certain knowledge, Britain has been at no time allied to Czechoslovakia. She was not in 1938; neither was she allied to Poland in 1939, until 25th August: the Germans invaded on 1st September. Two days later Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany.
Chamberlain looked for peace, perhaps for too long, but when required took the final step of confronting the enemy of freedom. The same could be said of Wilson, Roosevelt and George W. Bush. All these men were on the right side of history. To say that a British statesman was wrong to stand aside until pushed too far, while an American one still held back for a further two years, is curious in the extreme.
More offensively (unintentionally, I am sure) is Mr. Uhrich’s insinuation that British soldiers stood aside and let their American allies do the fighting. He even goes so far as to state that American casualties were greater than either British or French. The French can speak for themselves (they seldom do anything else), but any figures I have ever seen show that Britain suffered greater casualties over-all, with similar casualties for the period when we and the U.S. fought side-by-side.
It is this suggestion which really angers America’s natural allies in the English-speaking world.
Martin Kelly’s grandfather fought in the Highland Light Infantry in WWII; mine fought in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. I have in front of me the New Testament with which he was issued upon passing out of his infantry training school. On the inside cover is printed a fluttering British flag and a message from the King, together with the quotation:
“Be strong and be of good courage, for the Lord thy God is with thee whither-soever though goest.”
It is dated 19th March 1941.
My grandfather never uttered a word against his American comrades who began to join the war at the end of that year.
We should all show similar regard for our comrades and allies.
— Alan Healy
Lanarkshire, United Kingdom
I agree with Scotty Uhrich. I am sick of the Europeans always downplaying the American effort in Europe in both WWI and WWII, and placing great emphasis on the Soviet Union’s role in defeating the German Army in WWII. Here are a few items to keep WWII in Europe in perspective.
While the Eastern Front was huge and took many German troops, the density of troops on the Western Front was much greater. The Eastern Front was also episodic, great offensives and then preparation for great offensives. The Western Front was a virtual non-stop battle from the Allied landing in Sicily to Normandy — except for a brief respite in the summer of 1944, which the Germans called the Miracle of the West.
The German Generals who had fought on the Eastern Front couldn’t comprehend the constant bloodletting that was occurring — especially in France. The battle in the west never let up. Never. It consumed troops and munitions at a daily rate that was shocking to the German High Command. It was vastly different than what they were used to in fighting the Red Army.
One must also not forget the impact that came from the air war. The Germans were fighting a daily battle against Allied bombing that consumed not only material but civilians and airman. This threat grew to such proportions that it took the best and the brightest the Germans had — but to no avail. It drove home the point that Germany was losing the war more clearly than any other action the Allies took. As was the ground war in the west, the air war was constant. There was no let up; it blooded the Germans every day, week after week. It eventually made the German war machine a shambles. Moving men and equipment became a war in it self.
Stalin was the biggest advocate for a Western Front. He realized that the second front was needed if he was to tip the balance in his favor in the East and get control of Eastern Europe. He also knew that without the huge amount of aid he received from the U.S. in trucks, food, petroleum, locomotives, and ammunition, he would have had to conclude some sort of deal with Hitler–even if it was just to catch his breath.
Without the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Air Corps, the war in Europe would have been entirely different. We entered the war in Europe as soon as we could — despite Churchill’s desire to keep us out of fighting in France entirely — which proved to be not a minute too late. It is not too hard to imagine at least a partial victory for Nazi Germany if we didn’t jump into the fight when we did. Finally, there can be no doubt that the Nazi desire for a “Jew free” Europe would have been a success even if the war lasted only six or nine months longer. I’d say that when one considers all this, the American contribution to victory was pretty damn significant.
— Paul Melody
Re: James Bowman’s Coming Clean:
I didn’t find too much to disagree with in your article but I don’t think you understand some of the reasons behind the hysteria.
I’m old enough to not care anymore that women and men think differently. I don’t get upset because of that because I’ve succeeded as an entrepreneur and I’m comfortable in my own skin. However, I do understand why many women are upset to think there is a difference.
Being different used to mean being inferior, and many think it still does. In fact I believe most men still consider women inferior to them because they think differently. Political correctness isn’t going to change this. Honest acceptance of the differences by men about women and women about men would be a step forward. Many women think to be considered equal means superior and many men think the same way. Try to understand the background women come from. We were second class citizens for hundreds of years, and that means we were different than the first class citizens, men. Too many women are still fighting the old fight and so are some of the men. Being different has always meant inferior.
Ask any immigrant class that came to the U.S. Ask any black person. Instead of concentrating on the past we need to find a way forward (hopefully without liberal correctness which is phony to it core) where different is accepted as normal not inferior by men and women.
— C. Benson