WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE?
Re: Hakan Ozkaplan’s letter (“Peace Offering”) in Reader Mail’s Retired Reserve:
With a sincere respect I must reply to Mr. Hakan Ozkaplan of Istanbul, Turkey. The deafening silence exhibited by the world’s Muslim population to the brutality and murder repeatedly committed in the name of Islam speaks a loud and clear message. Where is international Islam’s cries of outrage against those who would defame and pervert the message of the Prophet? If Islam is the “religion of peace” where are Islam’s prominent peace emissaries?
Many of us would like to embrace those in the Muslim world as fellow-creations of a wonderful and merciful God. This will never happen unless the leaders of Islam loudly, clearly, and repeatedly denounce the cult of death and destruction.
— David Tucker
St. Louis, Missouri
Re: Jacob Laksin’s Edwards Courts the Wrong America:
I completely agree with Michael Barone’s assessment that the country is fissured between a “soft” and a “hard” America. However, as Mr. Barone figures that the soft stage is comprised of Americans until age 18, and Mr. Laksin opines that that figure would be conservative, I would suggest that a large percentage of Americans hold this “soft” stage until their academic careers are completed (under the spell of academicians where “spurning competition and actively shirking responsibility is certainly the norm”) not morphing into meritocrats until they are no longer protected from accepting responsibility by their parents, academia, etc., and realizing the true rewards and consequences of their actions. It is these “skulls full of mush” that Messrs. Kerry and Edwards (as well as fellow Democrats before them) not hope, but expect to exploit in a political campaign.
Please excuse me for not having the time to research, but I don’t believe I would be going too far out on the limb to suggest that the movement to have the voting age reduced from 21 to 18 was less than bipartisan.
— Anthony Mastroserio
Definitely, the senator sends the wrong message. But there’s still enough of the Yellow Dog-species of Democrats and others-and they’re not the under-18 crowd Laksin speaks of-to whom the class-warfare message of Edwards and his presumed running mate appeals greatly.
When you have traditionally Democrat states such as West Virginia, where the Democrat Party has dominated state and local government for nearly 80 years — and where there are people still fighting, at least ideologically, the business-versus-workers Coal Mine Wars of the early 20th century — there are hordes of people who will cotton up to the Kerry-Edwards message of doom, gloom, economic misery and the haves-versus-have nots.
Curiously, it won’t phase these hordes that the messenger came from a middle-class family and has made his millions by selective litigation, backed by junk science. To some of them, he’s Robin Hood.
Still, those true believers are divided into two groups. One is composed of the people in government and private industry for whom it is very profitable to continue that enslaving message that Edwards hawks. The others are the recipients of the largesse of government programs which allow them better lives on welfare, disability and workers’ compensation than entering or remaining in the workforce. Translated, it means that the government competes with, not supports, private enterprise.
Edwards is right about two Americas. He just got them wrong. The real divide is between those who work and pay taxes, regardless of how much, and those who do neither or little of each.
— C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia
KANSAS IN AUGUST
Re: Mark Goldblatt’s Kansas Kondescension:
Konservative Kansas — I wish.
Kansans are many things, but overwhelmingly conservative is not one of them. Overwhelmingly Republican would be more accurate. We have an Election on the first Tuesday of every August. The majority of our races are won then. In the Republican primary we often see three candidates, a liberal, a moderate, and a conservative Republican. Often if there is a Democrat running they are right of the Liberal Republican. Kansas is only conservative when it comes to national elections. That’s why Dennis Moore puts on a conservative face in his district (which is also mine). To punctuate the argument, just look at the Governor of Kansas.
— J.D. Runyan
A few observations if I may.
First, I saw Thomas Frank on PBS’s “Now with Bill Moyers.” I have seen fewer presenters as glib as Mr. Frank. To merely listen to the conversation one becomes enthralled in the precepts without considering the causality associated with it. I expect Mr. Frank will be a quick sell on the book circuit.
Second, there is a fundamental difference between wealth and income that many do not consider. The vast majority of the public fully understand income but few understand wealth other than as a theory but not a practice. And even if achieved, does not happen till much later in their lives. That spills over into the political arena it appears. The postulate being — the wealthier an individual is the more liberal they become if their politics were of the left to begin with.
One merely has to take a scan of Congress or the ‘A’ list of Democratic donors to see that this is fundamentally true. The likes of Kennedy and Streisand come to mind as high visibility examples. My only accounting for this is that having received the largess of fortune a percipient guilt complex becomes full blown. The little secret of these left leaning wealth holders is that what they propose as changes to the tax code seldom impacts existing wealth (theirs) but always impacts current income that is the seeds of new wealth (ours). Our tax system taxes little of standing wealth until it is converted into some form of income. (It is an income tax system after all!)
And so Mr. Goldblatt that is why a left-leaning Democrat can sublimely suggest an attack on high income while sitting comfortable on their zero tax munis and double blind trusts. They neither understand nor suffer from the destruction they wrought on the income earners for their income stream is different from an average wage earner.
— John McGinnis
Re: William Tucker’s Dump Cheney?:
Absolutely! Dick should “step down” for medical reasons and for the good of GOP. Poor image of a man who is a heartbeat away and is then a heartbeat away! Ah, but can George W. share the stage with John? Whatever, something has to be changed because Cheney is a negative (rightly or wrongly) and will not benefit a possible Bush re-election .
— W. Meehan
William Tucker’s anti-Cheney screed has no business gracing the fine columns of The American Spectator, no matter if it is dressed up like an ‘alternate view’.
Clearly, Tucker doesn’t like Cheney and he wants to believe that the No-Bounce Kid (aka John Edwards) is going to mop the deck with the Man from Wyoming.
Ain’t gonna happen.
Tucker has obviously forgotten Cheney’s memorable words at the 2000 GOP Convention when he said in no uncertain terms, “they have not led, we will,” and “it is time for them to go!” The Bush-Cheney team is a proven winner, and when the American people see how that pipsqueak Edwards stacks up against Cheney in their one and only debate, they will conclude what any sensible American must conclude — Edwards is not qualified (according to John F’in Kerry himself) to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
As for Tucker’s reference to Vice President Cheney’s entirely appropriate and direct words to Senator Patrick “Leaky” Leahy (D-Weasel-VT), those words were long overdue, and need to be directed at Tucker himself, who is clearly suffering from a bad case of John McCain-worship.
In closing, remember that the last time a Republican president dumped his Vice President (1976, Ford dumped Nelson Rockefeller for Bob Dole), it resulted in a 4-year term of Democratic malaise and malfeasance courtesy of that grinning buffoon from Plains, Georgia. Hopefully America has learned from that painful lesson and history will not repeat itself.
— John Maxwell
The Dems’ line last time around was that Bush was a puppet and Cheney the puppet-master. Now are we to take a hack like Al D’Amato to be the Oracle of Delphi? If you dump the puppet-master, then all you have left is the dumb puppet. If I didn’t know better I’d suggest that there is a conspiracy at work to panic Bush into thinking the sky is falling. If you live in NYC you can easily come to believe it.
Tucker is right about the Bush Tin Ear though. The Hapsburgs had their lip, and the Romanovs hemophilia. What are we to do? Old Man Bush gave Teddy Kennedy his statesman’s award, and W was busy inviting Islamists to the White House for post Ramadan dinners. Could you imagine FDR having Lucky Lindy and other good German-Americans over to the White House for an Oktoberfest in the Fall of 42′? If Bush has an Achilles Hell, it is the Tin Ear!
— Marc Epstein
I was appalled by William Tucker’s hit piece on Dick Cheney, an attempt to replace the Vice President with Senator McCain in this year’s election contest. Despite Beltway conventional wisdom, a Bush/McCain ticket would be defeated in the general election. To paraphrase Lady Margaret Thatcher, this is no time to go wobbly.
To conservatives, dumping Cheney is the equivalent of Bush the Elder’s breaking his “no new taxes” pledge. President Bush has the conservative vote if he keeps his word, and that includes his support for Cheney.
Caring what Democrat partisan journalists think of him is not the way for Bush to win re-election. Mr. Tucker chides the President for refusing to play liberal ball by groveling before the NAACP. Bush and Cheney could come out of the closet while speaking at a Barney Frank fundraiser and the media would still spin the news in favor of Kerry/Edwards. Conservatives win nothing but contempt when trying to out-liberal a liberal.
Even if Cheney were to voluntarily step aside, John McCain adds little to the ticket. For every swing voter gained, a conservative vote would be lost. Notwithstanding Mr. Tucker’s enthusiasm for McCain, the Senator’s poor performance in the 2000 primaries is on par with Edwards’ dismal performance this year. A visit to any conservative Internet forum will confirm that the party faithful tolerate McCain at best rather than embrace him as one of their own.
The logical choice for a replacement, if Cheney chooses to leave, is National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. On issues of foreign policy and domestic, she would emasculate Edwards in a debate. Her selection would enjoy support from social conservatives while appealing to swing voters among women and minorities.
— Michael E. Young
While I agree with William Tucker that replacing Dick Cheney might be the way to go, I disagree with the notion that John McCain should be that replacement. I should let loose here with the requisite declaration of respect for Mr. Cheney, and it is true: I have tons of respect and admiration for him and his ability. But, mostly through no fault of his own, he has become a liability.
But McCain? No. Who then? Condi Rice. Think about it. She’s brilliant. She’s qualified. And because of her stellar credentials, the irony of the GOP placing the first Black woman in the Vice Presidency is just too delicious. And can you just imagine the debate between Dr. Rice and John Edwards? Quietly, with class and aplomb, she’d mop the floor with his great hair.
And then, looking too far ahead, there’s the Condi-Hillary race to come in ’08. Oh, how can we deny ourselves this wonderful, historical opportunity?
Bush-Rice in 2004!
— Steve Biddle
Congrats to William Tucker: he’s done it again! That is, he’s created another senseless anti-conservative column seemingly designed to create pointless controversy rather than make a serious attempt at addressing some perceived problem. But then, any Republican who uses Maureen Dowd as a mentor is bound to go wrong on a regular basis.
Replace Cheney with McCain? Not revolutionary enuf, Bill. Why not go for Ronnie Reagan Jr.? Look at all the advantages:
1. Wears the popular Reagan mantle (superficially, at least.)
2. As an atheist, will tempt another minority into the big Republican tent.
3. Former ballet dancer. And we all know how few choreographers are attracted to the Bush/Cheney ticket.
4. Agrees with administration policy even less than McCain does, thereby greatly increasing chances of favorable attention from media liberals.
5. Hates Dubya! Even Josh Marshall and Michael Moore will be tempted to support him.
6. Has unattractive wife. I don’t know about you but I’m getting really sick of these beautiful, well-groomed women cluttering our political picture; let’s go back to the Hillary standard.
— Richard Donley
New Lyme, Ohio
I like Cheney a lot, and I like having him has Vice President.
To me, President Bush’s greatest strength is that he doesn’t try to run the whole show but has surrounded himself with the Republican A-team and has delegated authority to some really good people. In Rumsfeld, Powell, and Cheney, you have the most seasoned and experienced people the country has to offer waging the War on Terror. Condi Rice is good, and 20 years from now she will be great, having the same base of experience as those three. That Cheney is the Vice President is a statement that President Bush wants people who can do the job rather than inexperienced people with a lot of hair who get a lot of press attention. Sure, Vice President Cheney has a serious medical condition, but he is getting good medical care and science is advancing.
As far as John McCain, the qualities of defiance that had him stand up to torture from North Vietnam don’t make him a good team player. As a Republican primary voter, I really, really wanted to vote for a war hero like John McCain, and I was troubled with Governor Bush’s enthusiasm for the death penalty, but I saw the same sense of moral self-justification and unwillingness to make necessary political compromises in John McCain that I saw in Jimmy Carter.
Put me down as an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush-Cheney ticket.
— Paul Milenkovic
Perhaps the President’s political problem isn’t Vice President Cheney, perhaps the President’s political problem is the President himself. Maybe President Bush should consider going on television and delivering a speech that goes something like “I shall not seek and will not accept the nomination for another term as your President.”
— Emil Kaneti
Lots of hyperbole –smart alecky, and mean. I’m glad he won’t be replaced, if only for nerds like you.
Candler, North Carolina
Re: Ben Stein’s Happy Bush Country:
I just wanted to tell you that I loved the article about the “real America” and President Bush. My husband used to live in Sandpoint, ID and went to Lake Pendoreille with our (then very small daughter) almost every day in the summer. I can absolutely relate to his story about the friendly people in that area and the thing is, they don’t realize they are being “friendly” and it is not a conscious effort on their part. Those people like so many others are blessed with a “down to earth” and “respectful” attitude having been taught and loved by parents who were also blessed with the same attitude.
I wanted Mr. Stein to know and whoever will listen to me that I know many people who are happy in this Country even with all the turmoil being broadcast on television, because we live in the “real America” and we see the attitudes of everyday people and we go on with our little lives, loving our children, going to our jobs, buying groceries, reading bedtime stories, and yes many of us even read the Bible from time to time. Instead of lamenting about how bad things are, we thank God that we live in a free Country and thank Him for the men and women fighting and sometimes giving their lives so that we can continue to be free and yes we thank God that we live in a Country where the President of the United States is as common in manner as the people in Sandpoint, ID.
Thank you, Mr. Stein. God Bless.
— Deb Schoenborn