Guest view: A conservative speaks out |

Guest view: A conservative speaks out

Fred Kalhammer

Like many Tahoe Tribune readers, I have been following with interest the paper’s search for a conservative columnist to replace Ann Coulter. While the search continues, here’s a surprising opinion piece authored by a southern California radio personality sent to me recently by a conservative friend.

This piece comes from Doug McIntyre. For those who are unfamiliar with McIntyre, he’s a Republican radio talk show host on right-wing KABC, Los Angeles. He read this on his ABC radio program recently. It says it all:

“I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. I believe George W. Bush is unarguably the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. A case can be made he’s the worst president, period. I reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both.

“After Sept. 11, I believed President Bush when he said we would go after the terrorists and the nations that harbored them. I supported the President when he sent our troops into Afghanistan. I supported the war in Iraq because I believed Colin Powell at the U.N., and trusted Tony Blair. The President said Iraq was an urgent threat, and after 9/11, the risk seemed too real. But in the months and years since shock and awe I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, double-talk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions, and flat out lies. I have watched as the president and his administration changed the goals, redefined the reasons for going into Iraq, and fumbled the good will of the world and the focus necessary to catch the real killers of Sept. 11.

“The president says the commanders on the ground will make the battlefield decisions, and the war in Iraq won’t be run from Washington. Yet, politics has consistently determined what the troops can and can’t do and any commander who does not go along with the administration is sacked, and in some cases, maligned.

“‘I was wrong about everything associated with Iraq.

“We’re in the ‘waning days of the insurgency.’ We’re about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear-armed Iran in our wake and Bin Laden is still making tapes.

“It’s unspeakable. The liberal media didn’t create this reality, bad policy did.

“James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, Warren Harding were all failed presidents but the damage this president has done is historic. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments.

“And speaking of domestic embarrassments, let’s look at President Bush’s domestic record. He cut taxes and I like tax cuts. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public’s money. We’re drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren’s credit cards. We traded tax-and-spend liberals for borrow-and-spend conservatives.

“Bush created a giant new entitlement, the prescription drug plan. He lied to his own party to get it passed. It was written by and for the pharmaceutical industry. So much for smaller government. In fact, virtually every tentacle of government has grown exponentially under Bush. Unless, of course, it was an agency to look after the public interest, the environment or worker’s rights.

“His open border policy is a disaster for the wages of working people – he debases the work ethic, ‘jobs Americans won’t do!’ He doesn’t believe in the sovereign borders of the country he’s sworn to protect. And his devotion to cheap labor for his corporate benefactors, along with his worship of multinational trade deals, makes an utter mockery of homeland security and calls into question his commitment to sovereignty itself.

“Katrina, Harriet Myers, The Dubai Port Deal, shrinking wages for working people, staggering debt, astronomical foreign debt, outsourcing, open borders, the war on science, media manipulation, a cavalier attitude toward fundamental freedoms – this president has run the most arrogant and out-of-touch administration in my lifetime, perhaps, in any American’s lifetime.

“America needs a vibrant opposition to check the power of a run-amuck majority party. Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything. In fairness, I don’t believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don’t know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. However, the Republicans run the show and have more to answer for. With a belated tip of the cap to Ralph Nader, the system is broken, so broken it’s almost inevitable it pukes up mediocrities like Al Gore and George W. Bush. Where are the Trumans and the Eisenhowers? Why do we have to settle for recycled hacks and malleable ciphers? Greatness is always rare, but is basic competence and simple honesty too much to ask? Does this make me a waffler? A flip-flopper? I prefer to see it as realism.

“‘For those of you who never supported Bush, it’s also fair to accuse me of kicking Bush while he’s down. After all, you were kicking Bush while he was up. You were right. I was wrong.'”

– Fred Kalhammer is a retired Foreign Service Officer and Stateline resident.

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