Re: Tom Bethell’s The Economist:
In your column on Tom Sowell, you clearly (much as he does) stated what I have enjoyed since discovering him in Forbes. Whenever I read his work, I remember the quote from Voltaire, “common sense is not so common.” He is indeed an uncommon man.
— Matt Levine
Re: George Neumayr’s Ron Reagan’s Stem Sell:
The last time we inquired it appeared that entry level qualifications for stem cell research included, among others, a Ph.D. degree or equivalent in the area of cell and molecular biology, as well as a minimum of 6 years of post-graduate experience in the area of adult and embryonic stem cell biology. Experience in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries is also customarily required.
It is most reassuring to note that Mr. Reagan has done his family — especially his late father — proud by having mastered the prerequisites to delivering a “prime-time” dissertation to the American public covering the issues involved in such a delicate, professionally demanding, empirical field of scientific endeavor. The course of the history of science is about to be altered with the same verve as was evident when Dr. Jonas Salk succeeded in defeating polio meningitis with his vaccine.
— Seamus Muldoon, Jr.
George Neumayr could also have pointed out that in contrast to the pirouetter-turned-pundit, Michael Reagan recently wrote in his nationally-syndicated column: “I’m getting a little tired of the media’s insistence on reporting that the Reagan ‘family’ is in favor of stem cell research, when the truth is that two members of the family have been long time foes of this process of manufacturing human beings — my dad, Ronald Reagan during his lifetime, and me.”
Note that Michael Reagan was referring strictly to embryronic stem cells, which not only raise serious moral issues but are purely experimental, and not the adult stem cells from our own bodies and umbilical cords that have been used to cure fatal diseases like leukemia since the 1980s. But my guess is Ron Reagan Jr. wouldn’t know an adult stem cell if it danced past him in a bright pink tutu.
— Michael Fumento
Author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World
Reasonable people drew a sigh of relief when Ron Reagan was announced as a convention speaker for the Democrats.
Ever since Ron dropped out of Yale to take up ballet, we knew he was off. But, out of respect for his father we never really brought it up. Unfortunately for Ron, it is clear that both his father’s greatness and the love the nation has for Ronald Reagan has eluded him.
As a result he will not be perceived as an influential man but a daft son who allowed his father’s enemies to manipulate him into distorting his Dad’s record and memory.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan openly expressed his hope that his son would take up a “more dignified” line of work. Twenty years later we are again saying how right Ronald Reagan was all along.
— Mrs. John B. Jackson III (Janet )
Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Re: Eric Peters’ Picking on Greenhouse Gassers:
Eric Peters has picked up on something so obvious that I have yet to see it stated until now — those “evil” automotive engineers around the world have improved internal combustion engines (and catalytic converters) to the point where almost nothing but carbon dioxide and water come out the tailpipe. Thirty-five years ago, when as a child I remember the odor of organic fumes thick and heavy wherever there was substantial traffic, this achievement would have been considered a godsend. But not today! Environmental intellectuals, panicked at the thought that the evil automotive and oil industries were no longer poisoning our children, suddenly declared carbon dioxide (the same gas that even the high-minded environmentalists exhale — perhaps even more so than others) as a serious pollutant. So the incredible achievement is combustion technology, and the impact it has had on breathing in the larger cities goes unheralded.
The idea that carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the earth’s atmosphere have been properly balanced and controlled for hundreds of millions of years by the very animal and plant life that depend upon both to survive seems to have eluded the environmental “scientists.” In fact, I remember a Science journal article from 1992 in which carbon dioxide levels were measured and dated in entrapped air bubbles in amber. It concluded that the carbon dioxide levels in the past have ranged from half of today’s levels to over twenty times today’s current concentrations. And yet somehow, life not only survived, but flourished. Any engineer worth is salt can understand the equilibrium process that takes place — as carbon dioxide levels go up, world-wide plant growth increases (and it has), which consumes the excess carbon dioxide levels until they level off and drop again. There are others factors at work in this great control scheme, but without a robust control system, life as we know it would have extinguished long ago. This control scheme will continue to support life on this great planet long past the last carbon dioxide-laden breaths of today’s Chicken Littles, and as an SUV-sized hearse takes them to their final resting place, my they finally rest in peace.
— Mike Spencer
Re: Paul M. Weyrich’s Persistence Pays Off:
So, we wasted a whole year finding out what was patently obvious to most Americans. Senator Roberts may have done something worthwhile but I’m not sure what. The fact that the committee produced a “unanimous” consensus on the report is rather dubious given this is an election year and no one wants to be seen as partisan on this issue. Especially when it is obvious that the CIA and FBI failed miserably in their obligation to protect and serve the American people.
We can debate the reasons why the FBI and CIA failed so miserably but no one wants to place “blame” or “finger point.”. Out here in the real world placing blame and finger pointing produce results because most people understand the concept of accountability. Most people understand that actions have consequences.
Our elected representatives need to be sending a strong message to career bureaucrats at the CIA and FBI by cleaning house from the top down. We need to eliminate the culture of CYA. The CIA and FBI are organizations that demand leaders who are more interested in protecting the American people than protecting on their own behinds.
Senator Roberts may be all you say, but anytime unanimous votes come out of committee a red flag should go up signaling politics as usual.
SLOW VOTE TO CHENEY
Re: William Tucker’s Dump Cheney? and the “Dumping Grounds” letters in Reader Mail’s The Cheney Wars:
I want to agree with all the readers who found Mr. Tucker’s anti-Cheney screed offensive and off-the-mark. I detect in Mr. Tucker’s article the same phenomenon that I have detected in many fellow conservatives these days — the desire to have it both ways. On one hand, conservatives want an ideologically pure administration, pursuing policies that reflect the best of conservative thinking on all the major issues. In and of itself, this is an admirable thing and I often find myself wishing the Bush administration would be more intellectually creative and willing to gamble politically with good ideas backed with good strategy. At the same time, Mr. Tucker and his chronically complaining ilk will decry the political pragmatism that they think the Bush administration is constantly engaging in. They yell to the rooftops about any policy the administration pursues that deviates from their particular branch of conservatism; screaming about any policy that departs from the true faith and decrying it as crass political pragmatism.
And yet, he screeches he wants George W. Bush to dump Dick Cheney and replace him with conservative stalwart…John McCain? This is political pragmatism at its most hypocritical. While there are many things to laud concerning John McCain’s tenure in public service, he hardly has what it takes to be President or Vice President for that matter. He is mercurial and though once a reliable conservative voice in the Senate, he has increasingly shown himself to be the ultimate political pragmatist where his media ratings are concerned. He flirts with Sen. Kerry, has proposed stricter regulations on the business community, and has poked, prodded, and undercut President Bush on every occasion in which he feels his “maverick” status is not appreciated by the Bush White House. I recall Sen. McCain attempting to persuade Republicans during the 2000 primary that they shouldn’t be afraid of him because he was a devout Reagan Republican. GOPers had grown afraid of him because at every turn, the Senator had reversed himself on his own conservative record. Sen. McCain long since gave up being a maverick, especially after he become beholden to the approval of the “hate-Bush” media elites who give him air time simply because he consistently pokes Bush in public. And as to his voter appeal — he looks worse than Dick Cheney and the Senator has proven he has little voter appeal outside of Arizona and New Hampshire. If he had more voter appeal, he would have won the GOP nomination instead of losing it by a huge margin to George W. Bush.
The fact is, when it comes to conservative principles, Dick Cheney has been the most consistent of all the members on the Bush administration. Cheney has pursued a line of thought that goes back to his days in the Ford White House and he has been consistent and constant in combating the threats faced by America. As such, Dick Cheney deserves to be hailed and supported by the conservative movement. My only sadness when it comes to Vice President Cheney is that he seems to have forestalled any desire to be President, when I think he would be one of the finest our nation could ever have.
It is unbecoming of The American Spectator, a fine conservative publication that I have long been a reader of, to publish such an outrageously imbalanced piece concerning a conservative statesman of Vice President Cheney’s stature. I would hope future pieces, even the critical ones, could be thoughtful in their presentation of the facts.
— Fr. Phillip W. De Vous
Blessed Sacrament Church
Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
Dick Cheney is an excellent vice president, and an electoral liability. The president will never ask him to leave, but at this point the best service that Cheney can render to his president and his country is to step aside.
We are now in the middle of perhaps the most serious war that the nation has faced since World War II. With every passing day, terrorists move closer to their goal of acquiring nuclear weapons and detonating them in American cities. In the face of the horror of weapons of mass destruction, the current leaders of the opposition have abandoned the policies of FDR/Truman, and can no longer be trusted to defend democracy in its hour of crisis. Fate has granted us a president of remarkable courage — and yet this president is under fire because the battle is hard and the economic recovery slow.
If the president is not re-elected, the country risks consequences vastly more tragic than anything we saw on September 11th. Cheney is a man of deep patriotism — he needs now to step aside for someone who will maximize the chances for victory in November.
— Bruce W. Griffin
University of Oxford
I would like to humbly submit that I believe that running the CIA is a more important job than is the vice-presidency. Move Cheney to CIA director. Run McCain or Guiliani or Rice or whoever helps the most. Losing this election is not an option.
— Don Schneider
While I agree with the idea that Cheney is more of a liability than an asset, and W should seriously consider replacing him (although the proper timing is fast passing him by), I’ve only one thought to the conclusion of this article. McCain? Are you friggin’ serious? A gun-grabbing anti-speech RINO is going to help the Republican ticket? Talk about alienating your base! I can think of at least a dozen people better than Cheney to fill out the ticket, and McCain isn’t even near the bottom of the pack. I don’t want that socialist wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing anywhere near a legitimate chance at the 2008 nomination. Next time you right an article about such possibilities, try to include more than one.
… Dump Cheney? But replace him with whom? The one plausible reason might be to give an edge in 2004 to a sitting VP, which may be why someone is angling for the gambit. But who? Colin Powell has demonstrated that he is honorable, decent, and possessed of tons of gravitas. He looks good. But he has also revealed himself as a dolt, a man incapable of taming or controlling his State Department, a man who showed remarkably poor judgment in allowing the USA to be set up and snookered at the UN by the Franco-Germans, a man repeatedly manipulated by Kofi Anonymous. Reluctant about both Iraq wars, and during the first, one of the leaders who advocated a limited direct push into Kuwait “hey diddle diddle straight up the middle” and stopping at the borders of Iraq. That plan might have produced the much anticipated abattoir so feared in 1990. The wide desert flanking movement was produced by the “militarily inexperienced” SecDef Cheney and his defense intellectuals….
…. John McCain? Yes, he was loyal and heroic thirty-five years ago, but that does not constitute a lifetime free pass. More recently he has shown himself a self-promoter, a manipulator, a back-stabber. He has shown controversial judgment in McCain-Feingold and other legislative proposals, and has his own already verified corruption scandal for which others have gone to prison. Do we really want to nominate someone who would be an “unindicted co-conspirator” at the beginning of his term of office?
— George Mellinger
I agree with you wholeheartedly that the Republicans have “communication” issues. The fact that they won’t get out in front of the sleazy allegations lobbed at them just gets my day. But that being said — I issue my own personal point by point rebuke for your reasons for dumping Cheney.
1) Cheney exudes an air of confidence, wisdom and experience without the condescension present in so many politicians — crooked smile, notwithstanding.
2) “Cheney is qualified to be President” — enough said, especially in light of his competition on the Democrat side. Put those resumes side by side — PLEASE!
3) My husband has “heart issues,”, has endured a triple bypass operation and is ten years older than I — and I can’t keep up with the man! There are many people who live extremely productive lives with heart problems — so that is just a no go.
As far as the ill-conceived comment to the crowd in Altoona, PA… He should be locked up immediately, how dare the VP have his sense of humor ever fail him!!
4) Halliburton — definitely an issue that should be repudiated unequivocally. I will give you that one. It falls into the category of “communication” issues mentioned previously.
5) As a 40 something year old, stay at home mom of two teenagers, let me say this about Cheney’s use of the F-word: It was about F’ing time!!! (Sorry, I’m just not that easily offended).…
6) If Cheney’s use of “other priorities” hasn’t been an issue previously, why is it a time bomb now? It would just be more of the same double standard for the Democrats to make an issue of it in light of the fact that for two terms, the TOP of the Democratic ticket was a draft dodger.…
— Cathy Thorpe
So let’s get this straight: If you can’t win the war of ideas by expressing your arguments directly to the people, the way Ronald Reagan did, then you try to please the press by nominating a RINO!
I got a let you in on what is apparently a big secret to you — the only way Republicans can please the press is by not running, period. George Bush Sr. lost his election because he did exactly the same thing you are proposing GW do. He tried to counter liberal criticism against his administration’s promise not to raise taxes. Liberals and the liberal press pounded Bush Sr. about the rising deficits and said he was being irresponsible by not raising taxes.
To placate the liberal pundits, to show that he was not owned by the conservatives of his party, and to show that he was capable of compromise, he went against his word to the conservative wing of the party and raised taxes.…
Instead of receiving kudos from moderates or the liberal press, they skewered him for going back on his word to the conservatives and made him look incompetent for almost allowing the government to be shut down. More importantly, however, was the state of the economy, which was down due to tax increases and large war deficits. Those are never a good combination as GW has learned and avoided to his credit.
So it didn’t matter what George Sr. did or said, the U.S. media was going to criticize the hell out of him.
Conservatives may not have voted for Clinton, but they may have just not voted at all. As a member of the conservative wing of the party, that is what I will do if Bush dumps Cheney for McCain.…
— Charles D. Sampson