January 28, 2005

Reader Mail

Hey. I am an avid reader of your blog, and I wanted to say thank you for your excellent writing, and for your integrity.

I did want to point out, however, that I think it's unfair for you to frame your "why people hate Bush" in the context of a discussion of an idiot like Ward Churchill. I am a political moderate who is conservative on foreign policy and relatively liberal on domestic issues, and though I do not "hate" George Bush, I strongly dislike him. Not because he "speaks in plain English" and not because I "think he's an idiot," but I truly believe that deep down he lacks integrity. Republicans used to relentlessly assault President Clinton for his lawyer-speak and his dubious domestic life - and most of the time, rightfully so - but they do not speak up when Bush appoints a hack like Alberto Gonzales to be the supreme law enforcer of our country, when he spends millions of dollars on an inauguration that supposedly "honors" the soldiers but in reality does nothing of the sort, and when he is dishonest about the sacrifice that is necessary among Americans to win the war in Iraq and to fight terrorism in generally. When Republicans deployed a near-senile Zel Miller to rage against John Kerry with a laundry list of lies during the RNC, Republicans cheered. Well, I did not.

I supported the war in Iraq and I still do. And I even like Don Rumsfeld. You get a fuller picture of the man when you understand a bit about national security. Like you, though, I think Rumsfeld's time has come and passed, and he should be replaced. I only say this to give you an idea of where I stand on some important issues.

In short, for me and for a lot of others, it's about integrity. You harp on the Dowdesque morons that admittedly comprise a part of the population of Manhatten, but you ignore the arguments of the moderates and conservatives who intensely dislike Bush. These are the people I know, the people who reluctantly voted for John Kerry, the "Kerry-haters for Kerry" if you will. And though I agree with most of your arguments, it is difficult to reconcile them with your support for a man, President Bush, who while possessing some great qualities, I believe has been detrimental to our country.

And here's another:

I was moved to write you for 2 reasons today. First of all, congratulations on making it through your second year. Second, and more importantly, thank you for your comments today and your support for the Bush Doctrine and the war on terror over the years. Many people seem not to understand the urgency or the importance of the threat. You always seem to get it and I wanted to thank you for that and encourage you to continue the great work. Many people seem to idly use the phrase "post 9-11 world" without understanding the magnitude of what happened that day. In my opinion, as someone who lost a younger brother on that awful day, Bush was moved in a way that few who did not experience loss first hand ever can be. He became a President sure of his convictions, comfortable with his decisions, and confident that he was right. To me these are important qualities in a leader. Maybe the most important.

Neither reader requested I treat their E-mail anonymously but, given that they felt somewhat personal, I have.

Posted by Gregory at January 28, 2005 11:16 PM | TrackBack (75)

off topic, but andrew sullivan's acting like a dick again. just read prof glenn reynold and mickey kaus' blog.

no wonder this guy is getting blogrolled and linked in more lefty and anti-war sites lately...

it makes me wonder why any serious commentator on iraq would still read this guy.

john marzan, ex sullivan reader

Posted by: john marzan at January 29, 2005 05:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I like the sentiment of the first commenter, shows the rationale that I was previously unable to articulate.

Hey John, I think you see sullivan being blogrolled on the left side only because it's easier to make fun of him. Don't think that we go visit his site regularly. But give the guy a break. It's not like the Bush administration hasn't changed their metrics of success for the Iraqi election... First it was getting the nation to vote in all the provinces, now it's just getting people to show up at all.

“When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?” Keynes.
"I change the facts." G.W. Bush. (kidding... I don't think he said that... out loud at least...)

Posted by: J. at January 29, 2005 02:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ok, I just heard someone interviewed on NPR who mentioned your blog as a 'very thoughtful right of center' blog and recommended it highly to the listeners (he was a professor of journalism or communications, or some such - didn't catch the title exactly).

I thought that was a nice 'blog birthday' present.

(And I agree, I think you do a good job here)

Posted by: MD at January 29, 2005 02:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I really don't get where J and your first commenter are coming from. I approve of the integrity-based attitude but don't see how W falls seriously short of that. I have heard, as all of us have, the accusations of dishonesty or being misleading, but find them unconvincing. The WMD belief was the heart of our final appeal to get the UN to come along, but was not the only arrow in the quiver in other discussions.

The arguments about "metric of success," and "dishonest about the sacrifice necessary" seem completely wrong to me. There was a great deal of misrepresentation of what was said by the president -- what he said was different from what his opponents said he said, and I commented at the time "this is a set-up so they can claim he lied later." There has also been significant rewriting of history, playing on people's impressions of what was said (which impression has been gradually altered over the last two years). I am not sure that either of your posters has fallen vicitm to that. But they might consider it.

At any rate, the criticisms were politely and logically put, and for that I am grateful.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at January 29, 2005 03:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That guy who claims to be "conservative on foreign policy" and "strongly dislikes Bush" because of his "integrity" is about as transparent as they come.

It didn't really take the allusion to the Clinton model of veracity to uncover where his bias exists.

I just wish these folks would MOVE ON from the "lying" cannard. Their champion, old Uncle Teddy K. has nearly exhausted himself pushing that one. And yet, we still do not know what happend to Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquidick.

Their lack of any principled opposition and blatant partisan obstruction is not what this country needs and it is sad, very sad, that this lesson is lost on these folks.

Posted by: Mike at January 29, 2005 03:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I too "checked in" to your site today because of the NPR spot. I am curious however, that the writer who stated they feel "that deep down Bush lacks integrity" has the ability to be so sure. It's not a very conservative comment or a very conservative judgment process. I would suggest that unless any of us know someone intimately, we are ill prepared to comment on their "deep down integrity", just my opinion as a conservative.

Posted by: Linda at January 29, 2005 05:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Agreed, Linda. There is a great deal of diagnosing from a distance diseases which have no visible symptoms, isn't there?

You will find a google of "Bulverism" rewarding.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at January 30, 2005 12:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

'very thoughtful right of center' blog

maybe "thoughtful left of center" is more like it. just because someone once supported the war doesn't mean he's a right-wing or conservative.

because if that were the case, then Totten, RogerLSimon, and Instapundit would be considered "conservatives" as well.

besides, check Greg's blogroll. Majority of the sites there lean left or is anti-Bush.

And some of the sites listed there... I will never, ever visit.

re sullivan, i guess he's losing the few conservative and moderate friends he has left.

goodbye glenn, mickey, belmont club.

hello juan cole, atrios, and kos...

Posted by: john marzan at January 30, 2005 03:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have to agree with some other commentators about the first email. The writer levels an accusation about integrity, but has nothing to back it up. Then proceeds to rehash the same old tired hacknied carnards. I mean that inauguration one is so stupid its barely worth mentioning. I generally don't stoop to using the word stupid in these instances, but that one is just that; utterly ridiculous.

Alternatively I don't find it persuasive. I was never a big fan of Clinton when he was running when I was a senior in high school I wasn't particularly impressed and pretty much lacked repsect. My evaluation of him is a bit different than the emailer's take on GWB but similar. I never disliked Clinton I just lacked respect for him. I think Clinton and the Clintonistas were prevaricaters of a high degree, but that's politics. If it were what the emailer said the reactions would be oh great another frigging lying politician from the other side. Most of use know the score we aren't naive.

As an aside I find myself unwillingly gaining respect for Clinton as he is one the few Dems that seems to not be acting like a petulant child. I never thougt that would happen, but the Dems have gone overboard and I'm reduced to rooting for Bill when I not hoping the Dems just go away.

No I'm sorry the Bush hatred is something else. Something far less rational. The utterly dogmatic, almost zombie-like, nature of it is the dead give away. You can see it repeated through history in various places. France at the turn of the 19th century, Russia, Germany and many other places well before these. We all know what it is, really, but we want to be charitable, we don't really want to put the name to it. Hopefully it will go away like a dream. In a way it will in a few years, in a way it never will. The real question is why have they ginned up, conjured, this monster? I don't think they know, I don't think they could even admit to themselves what they are doing. But God I hope it burns itself out in humorless bumper-stickers and bad Air-America talk shows.

Posted by: ctob at January 30, 2005 04:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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