THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
To me, a 25 year USAF veteran and recent retiree, the most significant aspect of the offensive use of the Predator detailed in Christian Lowe's article (A New Breed of Predator) is that it was initiated not by any of the U.S. armed services, but by the CIA. The greatest problem the USAF and the other services face in fighting not only the war on terrorism but any other war of the future, is the utter and complete lack of innovation or any semblance of strategic or even tactical thought. The Air Force and the other services responded to downsizing in the 1990s with a circle-the-wagons approach that replaced logical analysis with monomaniacal pursuit of mythologies designed solely to protect individual career objectives. So, after the DOD formally evaluated the Predator as having failed its test program--even for its original role as a mere recon platform--it took the CIA to lead the country into a new era of technological superiority.
Larry Miller (See the USA in Your Chevrolet) should know that the full lyrics for the Chevy jingle are:
"See the USA in your Chevrolet / America is asking you to call / Drive your Chevrolet through the USA / America's the greatest land of all / On a highway, or a road, along the levy / Performance is sweeter, nothing can beat her / Life is completer in a Chevy / So make a date today to see the USA / And see it in your Chevrolet"
And he can hear Ms. Shore sing it here.
Aloha! Thank you for David Skinner's article Hopeless in Hawaii about Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle's close resemblance the liberal Democrat candidate Mazie Hirono.
Both candidates strongly favor preserving and expanding Hawaii's plethora of racial entitlement programs for "Native Hawaiians." Both favor giving hundreds of millions of dollars, and huge tracts of land, to the racially exclusionary department of our state government called the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Both strongly favor the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill and have pledged to lobby zealously for it in Washington.
This bill seeks federal recognition for a phony Indian tribe that has never existed. Its sole purpose is to protect over 160 racial entitlement programs against court challenges that point out that these entitlements are illegal under the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. If the Native Hawaiian Recognition bill is enacted, it will set a precedent for balkanization throughout America, as racial minorities try to get the right to establish governments having the same powers as states. On a scale from 1 to 10, affirmative action programs are 2, racial entitlement programs 5, reparations for slavery or for the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy are 7, and political recognition of a race-based sovereign entity is a 10.
Skinner got it right when he said "While a Hirono defeat would be worth savoring, a Lingle victory wouldn't exactly be cause for celebration." Hawaii desperately needs Senators and Representatives from other states to rescue us from our own political leaders, no matter who wins.
--Kenneth R. Conklin
Reading Jonathan V. Last's Damn Dirty Democrats, it strikes me that a new term is waiting to be born, "Williams Arena Democrats." These folks could care less about the traditional Democratic agenda (even if they believe it is the essence of Rawlsian justice), and are motivated by a hatred of their opponents. It was this public display of hatred that the rest of America reacted so strongly against, and that made the event a failure both as a memorial (Paul who?) and as a political rally.
Some more winners and losers for Fred Barnes (Winners! (And Losers!)--2002 Edition):
Winner: The voters of New England, except Maine. In the liberal bastion of the northeast, all states except Maine now have Republican Governors. Even the Socialist Republic of Vermont.
Winner: Georgia. It's about time the state had representation that reflected the present political climate down there.
Winner: The RNC. What a tremendous job they did.
Winner: The Republican justices who have been continually obstructed by Patrick Leahy.
Loser: The future of the Democratic party. When push came to shove and the Democrats needed last minute candidates they chose 76- and 78-year-old men.
Loser: Terry McAuliffe. How this man still has a job is beyond me.
As a continually frustrated Jersey republican, I can tell Victorino Matus that it will be difficult for any republican to win here (Who Lost New Jersey?). It seems that the only things New Jersey voters care about are abortion rights and keeping minorities out of suburban schools (see Brett Schundler's loss). Even a moderate, pro-choice Doug Forrester was attacked as being against abortion. Our state deserves the high taxes and lack of federal dollars from Washington--we vote for it.
Porn does strange things to people.
--Allen S. Thorpe
David Skinner does Linda Lingle a grave injustice when he says that conservatives have little to cheer about in Hawaii. The simple fact is that Lingle single-handily rebuilt a dead Republican party up to the point where there is a chance Republican will control the lower house in Hawaii, and a very good chance for the governorship.
This type of leadership is to be applauded no matter what her stand is on abortion and other social issues. After all, a pro-choice mayor, with many non-conservative views is now the most popular Republican in the country and the party's biggest fundraiser.
On native-Hawaiian issues, let me simply state that no outsider can really understand the politics behind it. After attending two Republican state conventions, I can say that there are many card-carrying Hawaiian conservatives who would support virtually every plank of the party but still support most native-Hawaiian issues. Personally, I have moved from being dead set against most proposals to keeping an open mind.
Besides, Lingle is passionate about one conservative principal--pushing government to the local level. It is absurd that Hawaii has a state highway department or that water issues in the Big Island are decided in Honolulu. On these and many similar issues, Lingle strongly advocates returning power and accountability to the local officials. In this way, I find her a true conservative, and I'm sure Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan would both agree.
Everyone, including David Brooks, is discussing the 2002 election as indicative of some sort of national trend (This Is Serious). But roughly half the voting-age population didn't have a Senate race to vote in, the House result wasn't very dramatic, and this particular Senate cycle is disproportionately Southern and small-state. If California and New York had voted and gone Republican, maybe we could talk national trend. But to have the deep South reaffirm its allegiance to the Republican right isn't particularly shocking. Finally, the candidates for this election were picked about a year ago, and a lot of good ones decided not to run due to Bush's massive post-September 11 popularity, so the Democratic candidate pool was pretty weak.
I'm a New Republic liberal who thinks the Democratic party needs some sort of real New Labor-type reform and better focus both domestically and abroad. Granted, Minnesota, Colorado, and New Hampshire were serious and worrisome defeats. The Maryland gubernatorial loss was also bad (though more the result of a dumb candidate than anything else). The left and right of the party will be battling it out for a while--probably in a bloody and embarrassing fashion.
But to hear Republicans tell it, George W. Bush is FDR meets Ronald Reagan when it comes to vote-getting--with a dose of Washington and Jefferson thrown in for good measure. Give me a break. When the Democrats field their best candidates in a regionally balanced election, we'll see what happens.
As David Brooks says, this election should be a significant wake-up call for the Democratic party, and in the coming days there are a number of lessons they should take home and study.
(1) People like Bush. George W. Bush is a good person. It's hard not to like him. When a widely likeable guy campaigns for people, those people tend to fare better than they otherwise would. Notice how the polling changed in response to Bush's visits across the country. There's no mistaking the relationship.
(2) Leadership counts. Bush is above all things, a leader. He decides what he believes is morally correct and then follows it through. Most Americans approve of his record, so when he made clear the need for a supportive majority in Congress to continue the trend, people responded. A leader motivates people to want to support him.
(3) Politeness counts. One of Bush's hallmarks is that he is always polite. It made Anne Richards and Al Gore crazy, because he wouldn't sink to their rude behavior. His campaign presence this year, while forceful, never departed from what is acceptable public decorum. The Wellstone memorial/pep rally, on the other hand, was a marked departure. It was shrill and out of place, and cost the Democrats dearly.
(4) People avoid the shrill and arrogant. If this election was a referendum on Bush, it was also a referendum on Terry McAuliffe and Tom Daschle.
(5) The Democratic line has grown old, and people anticipate it now. So all that's left for the Democrats is to offer raw opposition for its own sake. When that's all they can muster, the electorate rejects them.
--Peter Byrnes Jr.