Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

The List (part 1)

John Hawkins of the indispensable Right Wing News lists this year’s Top 25 Conservative Columnists of 2009.

First, I’d like to thank the Academy–oh, wait; I’m not on it? An oversight, I’m sure. Oh, well, there’s always next year–unless Congress decides that Next Year is a greedy, polluting, bigoted exploiter of the masses who must be taxed into oblivion for Their Glorious Forced-March into the Radiant Future.

Just as it takes a Revolution to get a Paine, the Unprecedented Assault on America has brought out the best in these writers, though a bittersweet taste, to be sure. Let’s take a bite:

25.) Larry Elder:

Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern left the Senate after 18 years and bought a small business. It went under. He wrote: “(I) wish I had known more firsthand about the concerns and problems of American businesspeople while I was a U.S. senator and later a presidential nominee. … Legislators and government regulators must more carefully consider the economic and management burdens we have been imposing on U.S. businesses. … Many businesses … simply can’t pass such costs on to their customers and remain competitive or profitable.”

President Obama, like many members of Congress, has little experience in or understanding of the private free-market economy. Obama never started a business, ran one or struggled to meet a payroll. He shows little respect for the hard, long hours people put in to build successful businesses that compete to provide goods and services to customers and that hire people.

24.) David Harsanyi:

“It’s like communism; you can’t fix it,” Barton went on after the testimony. As a person who frequently and recklessly refers to his political opponents as Marxists, I would remind the congressman that in communist nations, sports were under the management of politicians. Come to think of it, communists always are whining about unfairness. They always are nattering about the ills of money. Communists tend to do a lot of their best work on “committees,” as well.

Should college football bowl matchups hinge on an intricate computer program? Should Alabama and Texas be playing in the championship game? Should TCU or Boise State be ignored? I have no clue. What I do know is that schools and fans, not some Commie committee in Washington, should be the ones making those sorts of decisions.

23.) Jack Kelly:

The key thing to remember about Mr. Obama’s aides is that he chose them. Shaking up a troubled presidential staff is mostly an exercise in reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic because each administration takes on the characteristics of its chief. There is a reason why Richard Nixon’s chief aides were conspiratorial; that so many in the George W. Bush administration were mediocre; that so many in the Clinton administration were corrupt.

Deck-chair shuffling continues, in part, because members of the president’s party find it safer to criticize the king’s courtiers than the king himself; in part because they retain illusions about the president. (He’s really a good guy on our side. He’s just been let down by corrupt/incompetent/inexperienced aides. All will be well if a few heads roll.) But policy won’t change unless the president changes.

After a start nearly as bad as Mr. Obama’s, President Clinton made a successful mid-course correction. But Mr. Clinton was more interested in holding onto power and in having sex than in advancing any particular policy. Mr. Obama is more ideological, and thus less inclined to make a major shift toward the center.

Mr. Clinton also had had 10 years of executive experience as governor of Arkansas and a circle of intimates that wasn’t restricted to radicals and Chicago political thugs. Only Barack Obama can keep Barack Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter. But he doesn’t seem so inclined.

22.) Jeff Jacoby:

More government control is not the cure for what ails American schools. The empowerment of parents is. No teachers’ union, no school board, no secretary of education, and no president will ever love your children, or care about their schooling, as much as you do. In education as in so much else, high standards are important – far too important to hand off to the government.

21.) Frank J. Fleming:

There’s an old expression I just made up: There’s no liberal in a bear attack. In matters of life and death, like a bear ripping apart your house, there is no time to morally preen and pat yourself on the back for how smart you sound. Back in the day, life was pretty brutal for everyone, so there just weren’t any liberals. Unserious people starved to death or were mauled by giant sloths. With death lurking around every corner, people had no time for useless worries like whether warming the ozone would kill unicorns or whatever.

Liberals have only one piece of wisdom to add to any discussion about war: “This war is just like Vietnam!” That’s it. Nothing else. Every war is Vietnam, and Vietnam is very bad. That’s all they know. I’m not even sure how they protested wars before Vietnam (“This war is just like 1812!”). And to distract from the fact that they have one argument, they also have the non sequitur of calling people chickenhawks.

And if someone was in the military, they’ll say he is still a chickenhawk because he’s not in it now. And if someone is in the military now, then if he believes so much in the war, why isn’t he over fighting it just this instant? And even if someone were to meet a liberal’s impossible standards for having the right to argue for a war, it would be completely pointless to engage them on the subject, because all one could ever get out of them is, “This war is just like Vietnam!”

20.) Mike Adams:

[S]omeone was offended by an anti-pornography article I had written. The offended party retaliated by signing me up for a subscription to Playboy and having it sent to my office. I gave the Playboys to a lesbian professor as a show of good will. Sometimes it’s better to extend an olive branch than to offer a fig leaf.

And that’s what gave me the idea to sign Bill Ayers up for the NRA. I found all of the information needed to fill out that application on the University of Illinois – Chicago website. Within weeks, issues of the NRA’s “American Rifleman” magazine will go right to his office. Signing him up cost my organization www.DrAdams.org a mere $35. It was money well spent in the spirit of reconciliation.

For years, liberals have been denying that Ayers is a terrorist while falsely accusing NRA members of being terrorists. Now that Bill is in the NRA, Leftists will have no choice but to admit the following: Bill Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist!

19.) Ralph Peters:

We have become largely a white-collar, suburban society in which a child’s bloody nose is no longer a routine part of growing up, but grounds for a lawsuit; the privileged among us have lost the sense of grit in daily life. We grow up believing that safety from harm is a right that others are bound to respect as we do. Our rising generation of political leaders assumes that, if anyone wishes to do us harm, it must be the result of a misunderstanding that can be resolved by that lethal narcotic of the chattering classes, dialogue.

History is no longer taught as a serious subject in America’s schools. As a result, politicians lack perspective; journalists lack meaningful touchstones; and the average person’s sense of warfare has been redefined by media entertainments in which misery, if introduced, is brief.

By 1965, we had already forgotten what it took to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and the degeneration of our historical sense has continued to accelerate since then. More Americans died in one afternoon at Cold Harbor during our Civil War than died in six years in Iraq. Three times as many American troops fell during the morning of June 6, 1944, as have been lost in combat in over seven years in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, prize-hunting reporters insist that our losses in Iraq have been catastrophic, while those in Afghanistan are unreasonably high.

Instead of agonizing over a fatal mistake made by a young Marine at a roadblock, we must return to the fundamental recognition that the greatest “war crime” the United States can commit is to lose.

18.) Tony Blankley:

Our president has let it be known that he is an admirer of Abraham Lincoln’s — as well he should be, as are we all. He should take the time to read Old Abe’s speeches and public letters. Honest Abe was exactly that. He would make his cases with meticulous and honest presentations of facts. He would describe his opponents’ arguments honestly and fairly and then knock them down by genuine reason harnessed to a profound sense of morality. Lincoln wasn’t fast and clever; he was slow and honest, and he carved out a place in the pantheon for the ages. He also noted that “you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

17.) Dick Morris and Eileen McGann:

The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a broad provision taxing all manner of medical devices. This tax includes such frivolous luxuries as pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment and the like.

The medical device industry had its day at the White House, as did the insurance industry, the drug makers, the nurses and the doctors. But, unlike all these other groups, the medical device industry refused the deal. This posture enraged the tyrants in the White House, who vowed to punish the industry with cuts imposed by Congress. The result was a decision by the revenue-hungry Senate Finance Committee to extract billions in funds from the industry.

So, the result will be that virtually every piece of advanced surgical equipment will be subject to a price increase to meet the levy from Washington. No matter that these devices often make the difference between life and death and that, in effect, taxing them raises the cost of vital treatments. The vengeful White House will have its pound of flesh from the medical device industry for daring to be independent and refusing to knuckle down to administration pressure.

This tax, imposed in a spirit of haughty arrogance, falls on totally inappropriate objects. Valves, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, hearing aids and such are essential therapies that make life longer, better and less painful. To tax them makes no sense — except in the world of sharp elbows and interest group politics that grips this take-no-prisoners and show-no-mercy White House.

16.) Michael Barone:

Card check would give coercive union organizers the chance to impose on large swaths of the private-sector economy the burdens the UAW imposed on the Detroit automakers. It would set up tollgates to channel the money of consumers as well as taxpayers to the Democratic Party. You can see how that would be good for union leaders and Democrats. But good for America?

15.) Dennis Prager:

There is only one good thing about the Obama administration’s attempts to nationalize most health care and to begin to control Americans’ energy consumption through cap-and-trade: clarity about the left. These attempts are enabling more and more Americans to understand the thinking and therefore the danger of the left.

It is dishonest to argue that the right wants to impose its values to anywhere near the extent the left does. This can be demonstrated to a fifth-grader: Who wants more power — those who want to govern a big state or those who want to govern a small state?

The president of the United States and the much of the Democratic Party embody these left-wing principles. Right now, America’s only hope of staying American rather than becoming European lies in making these principles as clear as possible to as many Americans as possible. The left is so giddy with power right now, we actually have a chance.

14.) Rich Lowry:

At this rate, when Obama writes his post-presidential memoir, it will be titled: An Audacious Presidency, or How I Saved America from That Bastard Bush. His presidential library will have a special fright-house wing devoted to Bush’s misrule. He will mutter in his senescence about 43, like the Ancient Mariner about his albatross. Obama’s perpetual campaign against Bush is graceless, whiny, and tin-eared. Must the leader of the free world – if Obama still accepts that quaint formulation – always reach for the convenient excuse?

When Obama first burst on the scene, he seemed to respect the other side. That refreshing Obama is long gone. Now, he impugns his immediate predecessor with classless regularity, and attributes the worst of motives – pure partisanship and unrestrained greed – to those who oppose him. Their assigned role is to get the hell out of his way.

The acid test of the White House inevitably exposes a president’s character flaws: Nixon’s corrosive paranoia, Clinton’s self-destructive indiscipline, Bush’s stubborn defensiveness. Obama in the crucible is exhibiting an oddly self-pitying arrogance. It’s unbecoming in anyone, let alone the most powerful man on the planet.

13.) Byron York:

This rally, which about 300 people braved the rain, wind, and 45-degree temperatures to attend, was a small-town, homemade affair. There were no Washington activists, no Fox News stars, nobody from outside the local area. It began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a capella renditions of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful.” It ended with “God Bless America.” There were lots flags and patriotism and quotations from the Founding Fathers.

This is not a rich place. According to the census, the median household income in Winchester is $44,808, significantly less than the statewide Virginia median of $59,575, a number that includes the affluent suburbs of Washington. Less than one in four adults here has a bachelor’s degree or higher. And with the economic downturn, particularly in the housing business, many are in rough situations.

“I started out with three or four workers, and it’s down to me,” Ken Hersh, the painting contractor, told me. “I had my sons working with me. It’s bad when you have to tell your sons to find another job.”

“You laid off your sons?”

“I laid off my sons. That’s bad.”

Cheryl Lancaster, the homemaker, told me her husband “sells evil corporate jets.” She explained that his job gave her a different perspective on the populist outcry against corporate CEOs and their private planes. “You know how a lot of companies were getting slammed on that, but I think of all the people the jet companies employed,” she said.

You can think what you like of the tea parties, and the media coverage of the tea parties, across the country. Here in Winchester, Tax Day was a serious and well-meaning affair. For the people here, there are principles at stake in this fight, and, as much as they can, they intend to stand up for what they believe.

(TO BE CONTINUED. COUNT ON IT…)

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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