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Culture Lessons The nation’s great thinkers explain how to lower crime, choose judges

Last month, a few large hurricanes caused the nation’s public voices to issue forth a breathtaking bleat of idiotic statements that, in their unscripted tenderness, helped us to understand the truth beneath the polished veneer of their media/political personalities.

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compiled by Simon Hunt

Last month, a few large hurricanes caused the nation’s public voices to issue forth a breathtaking bleat of idiotic statements that, in their unscripted tenderness, helped us to understand the truth beneath the polished veneer of their media/political personalities. Now that the huge disasters are happening in countries that aren’t America (and therefore escape the concern of many Americans), our public spokesmen have had the chance to tuck their shirts back in and get back to their scripts.

It has been a bit more difficult to find fresh, telling remarks and brash mistakes, but as long as there is an open microphone and the First Amendment, we will hear what they really think.

“But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”—Former Secretary of Education and drug czar Bill Bennett, on his Morning in America radio show, September 28.
“This is an attempt by the liberals to prevent white, conservative Republicans from speaking the truth about black America … The root cause of crime is a lack of moral character. You know, we saw a good example of that in the New Orleans situation in the inner cities. I’ve done a lot of work in the inner cities, and I have to tell you that crime and out-of-wedlock birth, black folks having babies without being married, and stuff like that is out of control. And it’s not because they lack material things but because not all, not all, not all … but most of them lack moral character. Look what they did to the Dome. In three days they turned the Dome into a ghetto.”—Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, defending Bennett’s remarks on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes, September 29.
“I will go on record and I will not win any popularity awards, but it is the fault of the black church and the black community because the preachers have succumbed to hatred; they have succumbed to a disobedience to God. There is a parallel that I think needs to be pointed out. Had Joseph not been kidnapped and sold into slavery, he would not have been in a position to help his family in their time of need.

The black people today who curse America are cursing God, because if God had not permitted the Ashanti and Dahomey tribes of ancient Africa to trap other Africans and sell them to the Muslims, who sold them to the Europeans, we would not have what we have today.”—Project 21 national advisory council member Mychal Massie, on the radio show Janet Parshall’s America, October 18.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan: We are fighting them there so that we don’t have to fight them here. September 11th taught us…
Q: It has nothing to do with … Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
McClellan: Well, you have a very different view of the war on terrorism, and I’m sure you’re opposed to the broader war on terrorism. […] Q: On what basis do you say Helen [the reporter who previously asked a question] is opposed to the broader war on terrorism?
McClellan: Well, she certainly expressed her concerns about Afghanistan and Iraq and going into those two countries.
[…] McClellan: Just three years ago, the Iraqi people were under a brutal, oppressive dictator, a dictator that killed thousands and thousands of people.
Q: How many have we killed?
McClellan: We’ve liberated 25 million, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
From a White House press conference, October 13.
“If we are faced with a disaster in this country, which group do we want to save? The rich or the poor? Now, if you have time, save as many people as you can. But if you have to set some priorities, where do you go? The rich or the poor? OK? Who is a drag on society? The rich or the poor? Who provide the jobs out there? The rich or the poor? Who fuels—you know, which group fuels our economy? Drives industry? The rich or the poor?

“We have a choice of two countries … In this country, people achieve a lot and they are wealthy because of their hard work. In this (other) country, people don’t achieve squat. They sit around all the time waiting for somebody else to take care of them. They have children they can’t afford. They’re uneducated. They can barely read. And the high point of their day is Entertainment Tonight on TV. Which country do you want to live in? The country of the high achievers, or the country of sheep, the country of followers? You know what you’re gonna do. I don’t see what the big problem is. I just don’t. I mean, if you—who do I want to save first? The rich. Save the poor first; then, when everything’s over, where are you gonna go for a job?

“What do I do on this program? I set up exactly what the other side’s position is. I’m the only one who’ll do it honestly. If I have a liberal guest on this program, I’m not guaranteed the liberal guest is going to be honest about what he believes. So in order to establish what I believe and what I think, I set myself up by presenting the liberal point of view on whatever issue it is I’m talking about.”— Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show, The Rush Limbaugh Show, October 18.
“People are interested to know why I picked (Supreme Court nominee) Harriet Miers … They want to know Harriet Miers’ background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”— President George Bush, quoted in the Associated Press, October 13.
“No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”— From Article VI of the Constitution of the United States, September 17, 1787.
“[T]hey want it to be against the law to be a Republican, and they would like us in Guantánamo.“And, by the way, I just want to say, if you’re a Republican in Washington, if you haven’t been indicted, you’re doing something wrong.”— Right-wing pundit Anne Coulter, on the Fox News program DaySide, September 28.


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