Monday, August 23, 2004

Larry Gatlin vs Bruce Springsteen

Country Singer Larry Gatlin wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal today. There is no link for it so I transcribed it below. It was apparently written in response to this op-ed piece that Bruce Springsteen wrote recently for the New York Times.
I wouldn’t expect to find any great political wisdom in an article by Gatlin (or Springsteen) but the naivete and errors in fact that are sprinkled throughout his writing is evident of someone who must get all their information from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

So here is Mr. Gatlin with my comments in bold:

Since Bruce Springsteen is about to “Rock the Vote” for John Kerry, I’d be only too happy to start booking my motel rooms to hit the road for George W. Bush. With my brothers Steve and Rudy, my buddies the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and any number of other country music artists who get their support from the Heartland, I’m going to find the time, come fall, to tell America that we’re playing, and praying, for President Bush.

Mr. Gatlin is already touring on behalf of the Bush campaign. He has performed at a number of Bush rallies and is scheduled to perform at the Republican National Convention next week.

Musicians can be political, and when the right time comes - and the right cause - they will be. But while I respect Bruce Springsteen’s artistry and even his opinions on the current political situation (as expressed not long back in the New York Times), I see the world differently. Here’s my take.

The intel on Iraq that President Bush saw raised red flags to some analysts and doubt in others. Some said there was an imminent threat, some said there was not. I believe that if one of Mr. Springsteen’s friends were to swear to him that his house was on fire and another that it was not, he, or anybody, would surely check it out.

I’m not sure whether Mr. Gatlin’s ‘house on fire’ analogy here is supposed to refer to the 9-11 terrorist attacks or the allegations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It would appear that it is being used to represent both. Like many Fox News viewers, Mr. Gatlin has been mislead to believe that Iraq had something to do with the attacks on the United States.

Well, our house was on fire. President Bush and an army of “the good guys and the good gals” checked it out. Big Time. And as a result, the bad guys have not been able to set our house on fire again.

In either case, we were able to “check out” the fire analogy without launching a pre-emptive war in Iraq. We checked out the 9-11 attacks and found the cause to be al-Queada which was holed up in Afghanistan and we promptly (and properly in my view) launched a military action there. We were also “checking out” the WMD story via the United Nations weapons inspectors who were requesting more time to finish their job before President Bush pulled the trigger on the costly military invasion that is still killing our soldiers and draining our resources. As for not being able to ‘set our house on fire again’ that remains to be seen.

To say, as John Kerry has, that “If attacked I will respond decisively” is not enough in today’s world. Good Lord, Senator Kerry - Barney Fife would respond decisively if we were attacked again! President Bush had the strength of will and courage to pre-emptively take out those who would attack us. I say “Rock on, Mr. President” (you too, Bruce). Keep checking out the bad guys and let Barney keep peace in Mayberry (a little humor in the middle of a very serious situation).

It is obvious now that Iraq did not attack us the first time and was not in a position to attack us afterwards either. North Korea, on the other hand, does have that capability. As a charter member of Bush’s “Axis of Evil” and one that definitely does have WMDs, would Mr. Gatlin tell President Bush to “Rock on” and attack them as well?

My gratitude to the president isn’t confined to his role in keeping us safe. His tax cuts have helped all Americans who pay federal income taxes and have jump-started an economy that was in recession through no fault of President Bush.

So this is what a jump-started economy looks like? And how does Mr. Gatlin substantiate this claim that all Americans have been helped by Bush’s tax cuts? (Never mind the record national deficits.)

Those who refuse to see that have their heads in the sand and a “Kerry for President” bumper sticker on their SUVs. (I’d say the former condition is pretty much a prerequisite for the latter).

Oh, I see. By telling anyone who doesn’t agree that they have their head in the sand. Nice.

I’m no economist, but I do know two things for sure: I never got a job from a poor man; and the more money people have in their pockets, the more jobs they create by spending the money.

Bush’s first tax cuts took effect before 9-11 and the Republican-controlled Congress has passed more since then and yet Bush is still going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of jobs during his watch.

President Bush’s attempts at education reform have been thwarted at every turn for fear that vouchers might actually work. (Imagine that, Ted Kennedy!)

Bush’s education reforms have never been adequately funded by the Republican-controlled Congress. Ted Kennedy had nothing to do with it. He is stuck in the minority.

His faith-based initiatives tried to help those who can’t help themselves, only to be “shot down” for fear that someone might get well and that God might have something to do with it.

OK, now he is getting a little wierd. Bush’s faith-based initiatives haven’t been ‘shot down’. The person Bush tapped to head his program quit in disgust a while back and said Bush was never serious about tackling social problems.

I was lucky. I had the money for my little “28-day vacation in pajamas” 20 years ago. There are millions out there who are not so lucky. So they die in the back streets of America for want of help. God only knows how many. (But there’s the rub - we can’t say God and government on the same page.)

Millions dying on the backstreets for want of help? Does he think we are living in Sudan? And all because some unnamed people have allegedly blocked Bush’s faith-based initiatives?? Whatever.

In closing I’d say this to Bruce Springsteen: We do have something in common - we were both “Born in the USA.” From the bottom of my heart I say, Thank God.

I got to see Larry Gatlin peform live a number of years ago at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I’ve never seen Bruce Springsteen perform, but I do have a lot of his records.

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