Mailvox: lots of mail, little hate

Jessica’s email is fairly representational of the many responses to today’s column.

Excellent article. You told it exactly like it is.

For the first time in our lives, my husband and I are ashamed to be Americans. We are in our late 60’s and have always been Republican. We are now ashamed of the Republican party, especially the Bush brothers. Our opinion about the Bush’s has turned from trust to disgust.

When a probate judge has more power than congress, the governor and the president of the USA, it is clear that the cause is one of two things or perhaps a combination of both.

#1. Our court system has too much power and we must take steps to diminish that power
#2. Our elected officials are cowards

JL loudly echoes similar sentiments:

AS I READ YOUR COMMENTARY TODAY, IT WAS CREEPY. IT WAS LIKE YOU HAD LITERALLY GOTTEN INSIDE MY HEAD AND READ MY MIND. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN THE BUSH BOYS COULD STOP THIS AT ANY TIME. WHO DO THEY THINK THEY’RE FOOLIN’? THEY ARE COWARDS, AND I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT KNOWING THIS ATROCITY HAPPENED ON YOUR WATCH AND YOU DID NOTHING. THEY SHOULD BE TOTALLY ASHAMED

COD sums up her opinion in a succinct manner that will strike fear in many a Republican analyst:

I can’t believe I voted for Bush….

And for once, even regular critics are in accord, however briefly. TP drops this brief missive:

It may not mean much, but as one who once criticized you, I want you to know that I think this latest column was a magnificent effort.

Actually, I don’t mind being criticized at all. I depend on regular criticism to keep me from floating free into absurdity, as so many of the bigger names in commentary seem increasingly prone to do. Sometimes I find my critics’ cases persuasive, more often I don’t, but the frequent testing of my thinking is something I find quite valuable. I understand why most of the bigger blogs are nervous about allowing comments, but I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives. A little mild policing goes a long way towards weeding out the recalcitrants and the crazies and prevents the blog from devolving into a mere echo chamber.

The mere fact that nearly everyone is writing in support of the assertions made in my column today instead of, as is more often the case, taking vociferous exception to them, indicates to me that the Bush brothers may have badly miscalculated on this one. George Bush simply doesn’t have much credibility left with the conservative half of the Republican party, which is why he couldn’t successfully skate on this issue as he has on so many others. It is also why the mere mention of the possibility of a third Bush running for President makes many Republicans feel nauseous.

Escape from Iraq

Bob Novak explains how events have backed up his predictions:

Amid the presidential campaign’s furious debate over Iraq, I reported last Sept. 20 (“Getting Out of Iraq”) about strong feeling in the policymaking apparatus to get out of Iraq in 2005 even if democracy and peace had not been achieved there. My column evoked widespread expressions of disbelief, but changes over the last six months have only strengthened the view of my Bush administration sources that the escape from Iraq should begin once a permanent government is in place in Baghdad.

The most obvious change is the improved situation on the ground in Iraq, where it is no longer preposterous to imagine local security forces in control. Subtler is the advent of Secretary of State Rice. This willowy, vulnerable-looking woman wields measurably more power than Colin Powell, the robust general who preceded her. Officials who know her well believe she favors the escape from Iraq.

“She is not controlled by the neo-cons insisting on achieving a perfect democracy before we go,” a colleague told me. That reflects not only the national consensus but also the preponderance of Republican opinion. Without debating the wisdom of military intervention in Iraq two years ago, President Bush’s supporters believe it now is time to go and leave the task of subduing the insurgents to Iraqis.

In my Sept. 20 column, I speculated that Rice would replace Powell at State, that she would be replaced as national security adviser by her deputy Stephen Hadley and that Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz would succeed Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at Defense. I was correct in two out of three, because Rumsfeld is staying on at the Pentagon.

This would be a very good thing. The action is perhaps 18 months late but better than never. If the Shiites choose to let the Kurds go their own way that really has nothing to do with us. If they don’t then they’re simply acting precisely as we have during the period of the US occupation. I don’t consider the establishment of a new Shiite government to be a particularly positive accomplishment – I don’t subscribe to the democracy fetish that insists the mere fact of voting cures all ills- but it’s certainly good to know that people are no longer being fed into paper shredders by the Hussein thugocracy. Was the war worth it? I doubt it but time will tell.

Now if we can only withdraw our troops from 100 other countries where they also don’t belong we can start to consider why federal imperialism is necessary at home. Unfortunately this move will likely have more to do with China’s recent saber-rattling than anything else.

Discuss amongst yourselves

Don’t expect to see a lot of commas today (see – there should have been one there) because I managed to spill onto my laptop keyboard last night. I’m pretty optimistic (you’ll have to imagine the commas from this point on) because I was getting no keyboard input at all last night. At first the doggone thing didn’t even want to boot which was more than a little worrisome.

But after a blow-drying the beast and leaving it to sit overnight I’ve almost got complete functionality back. The right side of the keyboard took the brunt of the spill and right now the comma shift-comma shift-period capital-l and the Numpads 1-3 5 8 9 + and – aren’t working. Numpad * works but wildly repeats. Anyone know where I can download a linux keyboard remapper?

Still the Numbpad * craziness a good sign – I think – because when the machine first started drying out only the semi-colon worked and it repeated like mad. Now it’s fine. Here’s hoping full functionality comes about by tomorrow so I don’t have to order a new keyboard. As Space Bunny said after 27 years the law of averages finally caught up. It’s still irritating but it’s sure a lot less irritating now than it was last night.

UPDATE: We have commas! And L and <, though not <'s little friend yet.