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The slaying of Larry Summers


Poor Larry Summers. His problems started months ago when he got pulled over by the gender police at Harvard for a misdemeanor. He was caught talking and thinking out loud at the same time.

Basically, Larry asked the faculty to consider the possibility that men might be better at science and math. Well, the howls were loud and predictable. And the misdemeanor suddenly became a felony.

Quickly, an intellectually intolerant left leaning media joined with a spoiled, pampered, lazy, attention starved element of the faculty to portray Summers as Archie Bunker with a mensa-like ability to do a New York Times crossword puzzle in 60 seconds or less.

By the time this academic-media cartel had carved up Summers' ample arse, he was viewed as a guy who would soon be telling female faculty to skip teaching on days when they had their period. The cartel killed him, turning him into a dead man walking whose every word was used as a weapon to hasten his departure.

In Cairo, fringe fundamentalists offended by cartoons portraying Muhammad as a walking time bomb riot and burn embassies. In Cambridge, they simply hold no-confidence votes among the faculty.

Make no mistake: the Summers slaying was academic terrorism. It was a successful and lethal attack on a guy who made the mistake of believing that Harvard was where ideas - good, bad and stupid - deserved open and on-going discussion.

And it wasn't an ambush either. It was public, frontal and constant. It was led by the equivalence crowd - academic and media - who believe that America is its own worst enemy, the U.S. military ought to be disbanded, people who don't see 'Broke Back Mountain' are homophobic, civil service and SAT scores are racist and Larry Summers - or anyone else - better not ask them to think outside the narrow academic box they've lived in most of their lives.

Here is what a tenured member of the Harvard faculty is required to do in order to earn a paycheck: Wake up and draw a breath.

Here is what they do when they feel threatened by someone asking that they work harder and think more deeply about the life around them: Whine, hold closed meetings, make noise, complain about the boss's temperament and - worst sin of all in Cambridge - hint that he's not inclusive enough.

Summers should have stood up in the furious firefight after his remarks about women and the sciences and told the easily offended professors to shut up, go back to their classrooms and teach. But he wimped out, incorrectly figuring his concession would be viewed as a willingness to co-exist.

It wasn't. Instead, it was a fatal weakness that only encouraged and emboldened his opposition and their allies on various editorial boards.

And if you're keeping score at home, here's a late final from Harvard: Demagoguery just beat debate and it wasn't even close because it was a home game for the winners.


Who cares if the Vice President shot a man in the face and kept it from the press for 24 hours?

Well, I do.

Seems to me that for an administration already under suspicion for keeping too many secrets from the American people, hiding such a dramatic news item quiet for even more than an hour would be a political mistake. White House political hands had to know that this was going to be a talkable story that would have news outlets and late night comedian jabbering for weeks to come. So why hold it when they had to know doing so would generate hostility in the press?

I have no good answers. Do you?

Let me know what you think.


Media misses mark on cartoon riots (Joe Scarborough)

Is it just me or are you getting fed up with the in the Middle East?

Being politically correct is one thing, but giving a free pass to these radicals is just irresponsible. Isn’t it time news commentators and other reasoned souls across the world started calling these people the freaks that they are?

They are, after all, burning down buildings because a cartoon suggested that Islam has become a religion associated with bombings.

Oh, Gee. Stop the presses.

And while we’re at it, let’s stop lying about how Muslim radicals are a small, misguided group of violent renegades who have perverted the true meaning of Islam.

I actually believed that Urban Media Legend until Palestinian election results handed Hamas a landslide victory. Hamas is, after all, an ultra-violent terrorist organization who has spent the last decade blowing up little children at bus stops and grandmoms in public markets.

And through it all, Western commentators keep blaming US foreign policy for these thugs' murderous acts.

Time Magazine predictably suggested Arab rioters have turned on us because of Iraq.


I thought we went into Iraq after 19 Muslim extremists killed 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11th.

And after Muslim extremists killed American troops aboard the USS Cole.

And after Muslim extremists killed American troops at Khobar Towers.

And I was just sure those African Embassies were blown up by Muslim radicals before we went into Iraq.

And unless I am really getting my dates confused, I thought Muslim radicals also tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993--a full decade before we ousted Saddam Hussein.

Come to think of it, radical Muslims have been trying to kill Americans for a long time. These freaks hated Americans long before George W. Bush first stepped into the Oval Office. And they will still be trying to kill us all long after Bush has gone back to Texas. So don’t try the Blame Bush First game with me.

It’s not about Iraq.

So if these riots and killings have nothing to do with Iraq, it must be Israel’s fault. Right?

I mean, we’ve always been told that if Israel would only give the Palestinians their own state, Arab resentment would fade away. But now we learn that the more the Israeli leaders offer the Palestinians, the more the Palestinians seem to want to kill the Jews.

After Sharon turned over Gaza over to the Palestinians, the Palestinians turned their future over to a bloody terrorist group whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel.

Meanwhile, Muslims across the world riot away over a cartoon that is disrespectful to their religion. They show their displeasure by vandalizing a Catholic Church.

With their track record on tolerance, these extremists should be on their knees praying for forgiveness instead of in the streets burning down buildings.

They have no right to be offended by events of the past month.

We do.

So why aren’t we?



New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin must be feeling the heat from his political base or the brutal Louisiana sun. As you probably know, the dumbstruck mayor used this year’s Martin Luther King celebration to declare that God had told him New Orleans would always be a "chocolate city" run by African Americans.

Don’t know exactly whose god the Mayor Nagin was chatting up, but it certainly wasn’t one with a grasp on the current situation in the still storm ravaged New Orleans area.

Blacks that once made up 80% of the city’s population have been reduced to a fraction of that percentage. And a study released this week predicted that whites would could be the city’s majority for the next several decades.

Yesterday, the not-so-chocolate Mitch Landrieu declared his interest in running for mayor of the Big Easy.

Chances are good the political insider will win.

Chances are even better that his sister, US Senator Mary Landrieu, will do everything in her power to drag as many African Americans across state lines before her next reelection campaign. Because if blacks refuse to return to their destroyed communities, paint Louisiana as a reliable Republican red state for years to come.

More fallout from a storm that is making New Orleans look a less like Mayor Nagan’s chocolate dream every day.



Washington Post cartoon lies about troops (Joe Scarborough)

The Washington Post’s left-wing cartoonist Tom Toles breached the boundary of good taste this week when he depicted the United States Army as a quadruple amputee.

Forget the tastelessness of the maimed soldier. Toles’ implication that the

US Army has been reduced to helplessness is nothing more than a liberal lie.

Talk to anyone who has gone to Iraq and Afghanistan and they will tell you our troops are ruthlessly efficient and battle hardened in a way that makes them warriors, not cripples.

Toles can frame it anyway he wants, but his cartoon is not a message of support to our troops. It is another attack from a leftist who still seems to think we should be more worried about Rumsfeld and Cheney than Bin Laden and Zarqawi.

What a dangerous fool.


Is he really that stupid? (Joe Scarborough)

George W. Bush is on the attack. Last night's State of the Union Address showed that the Bush Administration is going to spend this election year attacking opponents of the war and his brand, spankin' new "Terrorist Surveillance Program."

Who could be against that, after all?

The new tact is a change for a White House that spent the fall crouched in a fetal position following their shameful handling of Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Harriet Miers, the CIA Leak case and just about everything the President touched.

But for now, things look like they are breaking the President's way. Oh, I know what those pesky polls say but January polls in 2000, 2002 and 2004 were predicting Democratic victories. Trust me. This week's polls mean about as much as who Sports Illustrated picks as preseason football champs.

Besides, Bush's political opponents are not exactly helping their cause.

Democrats looked like idiots during the Alito hearings. They fumbled over a futile filibuster that Republicans reveled in. Many want to send Democratic Senator John Kerry boxes of French pastries as thanks for walking into that trap.

Republicans I talked to on the Hill this week asked me one question. "Is he really that stupid?"

Maybe he is.

How else could you explain this?

"And there’s no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women."

Yes. That’s John Kerry on "Face the Nation" accusing US troops in Iraq of conducting terror campaigns against the Iraqi people. That would be the same John Kerry who said the following about US soldiers 30 years ago:

"They raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."

John Kerry emphasized to America and the world that "these war crimes committed in Southeast Asia are not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."

I practically begged Senator Kerry to apologize for those Vietnam remarks, predicting early in the campaign they could cost him the Presidency. Reading them almost two years later, I can’t believe he was too stupid to apologize then, and so stupid now that he would slander our troops again--this time the ones fighting and dying in Iraq.

But like Massachusetts' Senior Senator, Ted Kennedy, Senator Kerry presents a terrible front for the Democratic Party. And as with Senator Kennedy, loyal Democrats need to tell him to shut his mouth.

The past few months have shown political winds can always shift. Democrats just need to know when to duck for cover to let the Republicans destroy themselves.


January 30, 2006

Happy days are here again for Dems? (Joe Scarborough)

It’s only one poll, but what a warning shot for Republicans running Congress.

An ABC/Washington Post poll just released shows that Americans prefer the direction a Democratic Congress would take the country by 20% over the Republican path.

The most dreadful news from this poll for Republican senators and congressmen is the fact these results were released after a series of gaffes by DC Democrats.

The message sent by this ABC poll seems to be that Americans are willing, at least for now, to support anyone but Republican leadership on the Hill.

The reasons are clear and were given in a speech of mine run by CSPAN yesterday. Congressional Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 by promising to clean up Capitol Hill, balance the budget and reform the way Washington works.

Judging them by recent headlines, the GOP has failed on all counts.

The federal debt is higher than ever before, spending in Congress has hit obscene levels and a culture of corruption has settled in over those who once promised to clean the place out.

An important caveat: Never make predictions on a single poll. Other surveys have shown an upward tick by the President, and the economy is improving while the Democrats continue to struggle for a coherent message.

Besides, I remember all to well newsmen gleefully reporting exit poll results election night 2004 while trying to stop themselves from whistling "Happy Days Are Here Again."

A few hours later, 90% of the press corps was crushed. Bush was heading back to the White House.

This election cycle we still have ten months to go.

It is too early for Democrats and their allies in the media to start the celebration. But past time for a bloated and corrupt Republican Congress to take note of just how low their stock has fallen.

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Howard and Osama (Joe Scarborough)

Left-leaning websites have been buzzing the past few days about those of us who compared Osama bin Laden’s message last week to speeches delivered by leaders of the Democratic Party over the past few years.

Look at the following quotes made by bin Laden and DC Democrats and decide whether those observations were on point.

Both Osama and Senator John Kerry seem to agree that American soldiers in Iraq are committing acts of terror against Iraqi women. Osama talks specifics while Senator Kerry generally blasts American soldiers for "terrorizing" women and children.

Bin Laden: "The U.S. Army and its agents take to the point where there is no significant difference between these crimes and those of Saddam. These crimes include the raping of women and taking them hostage."

John Kerry: "And there’s no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women."

Both Osama and Howard Dean agree that the conclusion of the Iraq War is a foregone conclusion, and both agree that America is doomed.

Bin Laden: "The wise ones know that Bush has no plan to achieve his alleged victory in Iraq."

Howard Dean, DNC Chairman: "The idea that we’re going to win this war is an idea that, unfortunately, is just plain wrong."

Democratic leaders like Dean and Kerry, as well as Ted Kennedy and Richard Durbin, have provided grist for OBL’s anti-American messages.

That’s why I believe that Democrats who strongly disagree with the President’s foreign policy objectives must demand that their leaders do four things:

1. Shut up.
2. Develop a viable alternative to Bush policies.
3. Measure all words before attacking the Commander in Chief during a time of war.
4. Understand that most Americans believe we are living through a time of war.

I know it’s wishful thinking but I can’t resist trying to help.

But maybe the Party of Kennedy is beyond help.

Maybe that’s why George Bush continues using national security issues to pound Democrats into the ground on the one issue they just don’t get.

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Roberts revealed by suicide ruling (Joe Scarborough)

Anyone wondering what kind of Chief Justice John Roberts will be on "life" issues needs to look no further than Tuesday's Supreme Court decision on Oregon’s assisted suicide law.

The opinion, written by the always meandering Anthony Kennedy, upheld an Oregon provision that allows citizens to help sick and dying patients kill themselves.

But all the chatter coming from the Supreme Court steps centered around Roberts’ decision to join a stinging dissent.

Roberts teamed up with Justice Antonin Scalia, who used his minority opinion to accuse the majority of either being confused or dishonest--suggesting Kennedy distorted established law to get the results he wanted.

Tough talk, but the kind of ideological warfare Americans should expect from their top court in the coming years. Unlike Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor, John Roberts has an established framework he will use to approach cases. Unlike the two Reagan appointees, he will not worry about public opinion when crafting his decisions.

That is bad news for liberal court watchers.

Making matters worse for them is the fact that Roberts will gain another ideological ally on the court in coming weeks. That’s when Samuel Alito will gain confirmation from the Senate.

Yesterday, Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson became the first Democrat to jump on Alito’s bandwagon, bragging about being a big ol’ booster of President Bush.

In the press release sent out to his Republican state, Nelson reminded voters he was no Tom Daschle. in fact, he had "supported more than 215 of President Bush’s nominations to the federal bench, including Chief Justice John Roberts."

Yes. The same John Roberts who will spend the next thirty or so years writing opinions that will oppose assisted suicides, abortion rights and Sixties-styled judicial activism.

All in all, a very bleak time for groups like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

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Why use Martin Luther King day to stir hatred? (Joe Scarborough)

Why is it that some politicians love to turn Martin Luther King Day celebrations into race-bating spectacles? Kind of crazy, I think, considering the great civil rights leader spent his life preaching racial reconciliation.

I guess some politicians don't read history books.

Yesterday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin used a King commemoration to claim God wanted the Big Easy to be a "chocolate" city controlled by African Americans.

Imagine what would have happened if a white politician had declared that Jesus Christ had proclaimed to him in a vision that New Orleans was to be a white-controlled city.

That white racist would be run out of town in 24 hours.

So why do we let bigoted statements made by black leaders go unpunished?

Presidential historian and New Orleans resident Douglas Brinkley condemned Nagin's comments last night on "Scarborough Country" and suggested that the mayor may be losing his mind. If that's the case, he deserves our pity. But what's Hillary Clinton's excuse?

Yesterday, the future Democratic nominee for president spoke at Al Sharpton's MLK Day event in New York and compared Republican members of Congress to slave holders.

Clinton said, “When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation and you know what I'm talking about."


Did the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States really use a day reserved for racial reconciliation to tell black Americans that public servants not in her party were comparable to slave owners who beat, raped and killed human beings for profit?

I think she did.

But will she be held accountable by a liberal media elite who loathes Republicans almost as much as Senator Clinton?

Not on your life. And that's too bad, because it teaches other politicians that preaching hatred comes with few penalties.

Happy MLK Day, Ray and Hillary. And thanks for promoting peace and unity between the races.

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Bush: Bringing his base back home (Joe Scarborough)

Those who read my blogs regularly know that I am tough on both parties. This usually leads to political hacks from all sides attacking me.

Republican apologists have blasted me throughout the fall for whacking the White House on Katrina, the CIA leak case and runaway spending in Washington.

But the worm has turned in the last few months and has shown, as I predicted, that the President and Karl Rove would regain their footing. They began with the day Rove dodged an indictment and Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination.

After that fateful day, the White House went on the attack, appointed a very conservative Samuel Alito, beat back Democrats on the WMD issue and took the offensive on Iraq.

It has paid off.

The President's numbers are rising because he ignored the MSM and instead focused on bringing his base back home. Like I explained months ago, Reagan and Clinton survived their second term scandals because their base stayed with them. Now Bush's base is doing the same thing.

Have you seen the economic numbers? Even Paul Krugman will have a hard time spinning those in a negative way.

And what about the Democrats' performance in the Alito hearings?

Could they have been any worse?

They should have shut up and let the most conservative nominee since Bork hang himself. But no. They were just too in love with their own voices to hold a substantive hearing.

So now Roberts and Alito will serve on the Supreme Court for the next three decades and these Democrats will be remembered as the politicians who put them there.

All gains Democrats made against Bush and the Republicans in the fall have been lost. Ted Kennedy and his allies were seen this week as the party who were fighting for the rights of criminals instead of victims, suspected terrorists instead of citizens and abortionists instead of innocents.

The Left may whine about my characterizations, but trust me folks, this is how the majority sees it in Middle America.

Making Ted Kennedy the face of your party is not the way to win them over in Wichita.

That's bad news for mainstream Democrats who want to take their party and country back. And its bad news for independents who want a less conservative Washington.

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Sensitivity training for the Senate (Joe Scarborough)

Sitting through these Alito hearings is teaching me the real meaning of compassion. I mean, who would have ever believed that US Senators would be the ones to school me on the high points of how to be a  sensitive soul?

Yesterday, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham almost had his Muskie moment while asking Judge Alito whether he was a bigot, crook and/or bed-wetter. Not exactly sure why Lindsey made himself tear up but, whatever. It made Mrs. Alito cry and that made for good headlines.

It also made Lindsey’s opponents look like bullies.

Today, Vermont’s Patrick Lehey began the hearings by letting the world know that while he would like to discuss the Terri Shiavo case with Alito, he just couldn’t put that poor family through anymore pain.

Five minutes later, after dropping Shiavo’s name a half dozen times, the Senator almost seemed to believe his own words. 

It’s all so touching.

A few more days around this place will probably get even me in touch with the Alan Alda buried deep within my cynical soul.   

I can hardly wait.

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Putting on a fair trial (Joe Scarborough)

A few years back I flew to Peru to observe a US citizen's trial. While inside that dusty South American jail that also served as courtroom, I told a friend how superior we Americans were when it came to putting on fair trials.

"In America, we actually let the proceedings start before we make up our minds," I sniffed.

My mind wandered back to Peru yesterday sitting though the Alito confirmation hearings. Soon after the questioning began, it was clear that no minds would be changed by what the judicial nominee had to say.

Maybe that's because senators couldn't stop talking long enough to let Alito complete a sentence.

Or maybe it's because in one of the most important proceedings involving our judicial system, the US Senators passing judgment on our next Supreme Court justice were just as close minded as those Peruvian hanging judges I watched years ago in that South American jail.

I don't feel so smug this morning.

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December 28, 20052:04 p.m.

Holiday advice for Democrats (Joe Scarborough)

In the latest version of his video blog, Joe takes the opportunity to share some advice with his friends from the Democratic Party that he promises will last them through 2006.

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December 15, 2005 3:13 p.m. ET

P.C. police endanger Americans (Joe Scarborough)

George W. Bush, Bill Frist, Denny Hastert, Hillary Clinton, John McCain

Dear Norm,

I enjoyed serving with you in Congress and was pleased when the President selected you to be Secretary of Transportation. I know the chaos that followed shortly after your nomination made your last five years challenging, but you have done your best.

That being said, you have got to get a grip on the P.C. police running your airports. They are putting Americans at risk by dumbing down our airport screening process.

Right now, airport security seems more focused being politically correct than engaging in good police work. Every time I go to a checkpoint, I see grandmoms, kindergarten kids, fat old guys and senior citizens with walkers being hauled in for random screening.

And I just love when my wife, teenage boys and two-year-old daughter are pulled out of line to get extra security attention. The TSA agents who select us know who I am, know I am not planning to blow up an airplane and know my 2 year old girl is not packed with explosives.

It would be laughable if you weren't wasting money and resources that could be used preventing the next terror attack.

Have you ever noticed how cops investigating bank robberies usually keep girl scouts and grandmoms out of interrogation rooms? You know why that is, Norm? Because they are only interested in solving a crime.

What are you interested in, Norm?

Let me make your job a little easier. When it comes to profiling terrorists intent on blowing planes out of the sky, the code ain't hard to crack. Don't tell anyone I told you this. Wouldn't be prudent. But if I were you, I would focus on young, Arab males.

All nineteen 9/11 hijackers were young Arab males. The terrorists who killed over 200 marines in Beirut were young Arab males. The thugs who killed Americans on planes and cruiseliners in the 1980s were young Arab males. The terrorists who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993 were young Arab males. The people who killed American troops in 1997 by blowing up Khobar Towers were young Arab males. And the terrorists who killed soldiers on the USS Cole in 2000 were young Arab males.

And get this. Most terrorists blowing our people up across the globe since 9/11 have been young Arab males. Besides, do your people really think my 2 year old girl and an 85 year old grandmom from Scranton are going to take down a 757 jetliner?

Come on, Norm. Your agency's stupidity is really starting to tick me off because when the next jet goes down, you and the President will have blood on your hands.

We're in a war here. It's time to get serious.

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December 14, 200510:35 p.m. ET

Raise hell responsibly, please (Joe Scarborough)

I work late. Gotta TV show that ends at 11.

I get home late and go to sleep even later. That being the case, the kids know not to play football inside the home before 7 a.m. Smart kids, Joey and Andrew.

This morning I woke up in Washington, not to the sound of children, but to a pack of union members screaming in the streets eleven stories below. Their howls, chants and whistles echoed up the canyon of hotels and office buildings surrounding them.

They are proud of themselves. They think they are making a statement.

They are.


Apparently someone inside the National Press Building did something very bad to these picketers. Fair enough.

Populist that I am means I don't blindly trust big business any more than I trust big government. I take the Reagan approach to both: Trust but verify.

But in this case, these union members just got a lot of people up on the wrong side of the bed. Even those of us awake before their early morning screams began are more than annoyed they didn't have the good sense to grab some coffee and donuts before beginning their protest at a respectable hour.

What are they fighting for?

Who cares?

They are obnoxious tools who only succeeded in ticking off neighbors. About as good a P.R. move as Howard Dean telling Americans our troops can't win wars.

My advice to union members and the Democratic Party: Raise hell, but raise hell responsibly.

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December 13, 2005
Our Godless founding fathers? (Joe Scarborough)

Benjamin Franklin implored constitutional delegates to pray to the Lord for guidance in their deliberations. You judge whether Franklin believed faith should be kept in the public square.

“God governs in the affairs of man," Franklin said at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”

Again, if you want to prove to the world that Christmas is a pagan holiday and that there is no room for God in government, make that argument. Free country. I just don't stay up at night wondering whether the White House and Target celebrate "Christmas" or the "Holiday Season."

Still, don't tell me our founders wanted to separate God from government. It just isn't true. That movement began with the U.S. Supreme Court’s in the 1947 Everson decision.

Anyway, that’s today history lesson. Gotta go. Thinking about this War on Christmas junk is making me thirsty. Time to double up on the eggnog.


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December 12, 2005 4:31 p.m. ET
Hating America key to Nobel Prize (Joe Scarborough)

Hey authors, want to win the Nobel Prize? You can increase your odds by doing one thing: telling the world how much you hate America.

Men of average intellect in fields outside of literature also find their reputations burnished by the Nobel Committee in return for bashing George Bush and American foreign policy. Ask Jimmy Carter, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize a few years back for setting up a diplomatic framework that allowed North Korea to go nuclear.

Billy Carter couldn't have screwed that one up any more than his overmatched, self-righteous brother. Still, I guess we should thank our lucky stars that Billy's overtures to Libya were ignored by the Nobel Committee in the 70's.

But these days, the true anti-American haters seem to litter the literary awards category.

This year's winner, Harold Pinter, loathes America in a way that would make Hugo Chavez blush.

In his recent Nobel lecture, Pinter compared the United States to the Soviet Union-a regime that killed up to 40 million of its own people. Then Pinter took it a step further by lamenting the fall of that evil regime since Stalin and his type provided "constraint" against US policies.

Pinter then described America's foreign policy this way:

"It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed."

The author then cited "the tragedy of Nicaragua,"  mourning the fall of that "intelligent, rational and civilized" Marxist regime. Pinter placed the Sandinistas' downfall at the feet of the United States.

Funny, but I remembered the Nicaraguan people chasing those rational Marxists out of power in the 90s.

Ahh. But facts always bored Pinter and his type. Later in his lecture, this year's winner became unhinged, accusing American leaders of employing Jedi mind tricks on an unsuspecting world.

"The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

"I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. It's a scintillating stratagem."

Pinter blasted the system of "gulags" in the United States, as if letting murders, rapists and child molesters run free in the streets of American cities is a preferable option. He also used his Nobel platform to call George Bush and Tony Blair war criminals who should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.

I could reprint more of his drivel in this space but you get the point. This bitter man, whose greatest contribution to literature involved his putting his pen down-the Pinter Pause-got a Nobel Prize because of how much he hated America.

The United States of America is the root of all that is evil in this world, according to Pinter. Never mind the fact that my country has spent the last century liberating the world from Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, Milosevic's Serbia and Hussein's Iraq.

Forget also that we are spending our money and blood to kill al-Qaida terrorists who would blow up Pinter and his countrymen in a second if the author succeed in reversing US foreign policy.

But America will not surrender to terror.

We will not surrender to al-Qaida.

And we sure as hell will not be cowed by a diseased mind like Harold Pinter.

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Democrats: Defeat from the jaws of victory (Joe Scarborough)

Have Democrats once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory? Too early to tell but Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are clearly running scared because of liberal chatter the RNC is labeling as "Retreat and Defeat."

Democratic leader Howard Dean says the Iraq War is a lost cause. Not true. But even if it were, I would warn Democratic candidates that they needed to bite their tongue before telling voters U.S. troops can't beat a bunch of jackals who delight in blowing themselves up.

John Kerry recently let it be known that he believed U.S. soldiers were engaging in acts of terror in Iraq.

Not a smart move for a man who lost the 2004 campaign in part because he once accused our men in uniform of committing war crimes.

The Senate's number two Democrat, Dick Durben, compared U.S. troops to Nazis, Stalinist thugs and the Khmer Rouge -- three of the 20th Century's deadliest forces.

Good Lord!

When will my Democratic friends rise up and stick a sock in their leaders' mouths? Only the Democratic Party of Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi could succeed in making today's Republican Party look the only choice in 2006.

And that is exactly what they are doing.

Earlier, Democrats trotted out Medal of Honor winner Daniel Inouye to attack the President. The U.S. Senator from Hawaii blasted the "GOP attack machine" and called the Republicans' latest TV ad "shameful."

"It may improve the President’s political fortunes," the Senator said," but the American people and our troops will pay the price. I hope that President Bush realizes how shameful it is to play politics when what we really need is leadership, and that he will direct his Party to take down this ad immediately."

Playing politics with war? Hurting the troops?

Maybe it's just me, but if I were Senator Inouye, I would be more worried about what my own party leaders were saying than what some GOP ad is saying ten months before an election.

Voters will not remember a 2005 TV ad when they go to the voting booth next year. But they will remember which party championed "retreat and defeat."

It's time for the Democratic Party to wake up, get disciplined and start acting like an organization that is once again interested in being relevant.

What they are doing now is no way to regain power.

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Rising poll numbers for Bush (Joe Scarborough)

The media elites may not be paying attention, but conservative Americans are.

George Bush’s sagging poll numbers got a needed lift, according to a New York Times poll released today.

The economy and the the White House PR effort on Iraq were cited as reasons for raising the President’s approval ratings five points to 40%. Also making a difference was the White House’s conservative tact on Iraq, immigration, the Supreme Court and a number of other issues.
Earlier this week, a Fox poll also noted an upward tick of 5% to 42%.

Don’t expect Karl Rove to start popping the champagne corks quite yet. Iraq and the economy still pose great challenges for the President and the country. But so long as Bush and friends continue their counteroffensives on the war and the Supreme Court, expect conservatives and men to continue coming home to a White House in need of all the friends they can get.

I suspect Mr. Rove would be pleased to be sitting at 45% when the GOP defends its congressional majority in next year’s elections. But for now, Bush’s five point jump has shown that conservatives will return to the President’s team if he stops taking their support for granted.

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Democrats self-inflicted wounds (Joe Scarborough)

God help the Democrats. What a clueless party packed with clueless leaders.

It really doesn’t matter how stupid Republicans are because Democrats always seem to find a way to become even more disconnected from Middle America. Even after Iraq, Katrina, Big Oil, global warming, Harriet Miers, Tom DeLay and CIA leaks, the Democrats always seem to one up the GOP when it comes to self-inflicted wounds.

This week the head of the Democratic National Committee said the United States was doomed to failure in Iraq. While Howard Dean’s rants may thrill the base in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, it tears the Party away from the very people it needs to reach in the political middle.

As if that weren’t enough to Re-McGovernize the Democrats for the week, there was John Kerry on Face the Nation this weekend suggesting that American troops were committing acts of terror against innocent Iraqis.

Here is Kerry’s clueless quote:
“There is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the—of—of—of—historical customs, religious customs, whether you like it or not.”

The Senator and his staff can spin it anyway they want but use of the word “terrorizing” in conjunction with our troops is not the way to win votes in Ohio or any other swing state.

Add to that statements made earlier this year by Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, comparing US troops to Stalinist thugs, Nazis and members of the Khmer Rouge and you begin to see a troubling pattern.

Is there no grownup running today’s Democratic Party that can tell these blowhards to shut their mouths?

Oh wait. These are the people who will be running the Democratic Party as they head into the 2006 elections.

Not good news if you are a Democrat or one who prefers a two-party system.

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December 5, 2005 |

Will Bush win rave reviews for improving economy? (Joe Scarborough)

Want to understand the power of the press? More specifically, the power of negative reporting? Then look no further than the President's low approval ratings in the face of an ever-growing economy.

The White House trumpeted numbers this morning that would have made a less hated president the toast of the town. As it is, George W. Bush will have to settle with knowing that those loathsome tax cuts just may have gotten America through a massive terror attack and two killer storms.

Remember press clippings hailing Bill Clinton and his economic team as miracle workers for guiding the US economy to moderate gains?

Will President Bush receive the same rave reviews now that his economic policies have helped to add 215,000 jobs in November?

Will the New York Times note tomorrow on A1 that unemployment rates are beating a 30 year trend by sinking to 5%?

Will the chattering classes tell Americans that 2 million jobs have been created in the past year and 4.5 million have been added since the economy took off in 2003?

Of course not.

And while a sagging stock market is seen as a sign of a struggling economy, how many editorial writers will take note when the Dow Jones average rockets to levels not seen since 9/11?

The Times' Paul Krugman told Reuters that Americans know better than to believe such economic data points to better times. Forget that consumer confidence is also increasing by double digits. It seems Krugman and his anti-Bush cabal have little alternative but to ask Americans whether they believe political partisans or their own lying eyes.



The importance of faith (Joe Scarborough)

As promised, below are a few quotes from our Founding Fathers regarding the importance of faith in America.

To assure Christopher Hitchens and his allies that I have not ripped words from their context, the following passage is taken directly from the Library of Congress exhibit "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic":

"The first two Presidents of the United States were patrons of religion -- George Washington was an Episcopal vestryman, and John Adams described himself as 'church going animal.' Both offered strong rhetorical support for religion. In his Farewell Address of September 1796, Washington called religion, as the source of morality, 'a necessary spring of popular government,' while Adams claimed that statesmen 'may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.'"

Hmmm. Not quite the picture painted by the US Supreme Court since 1947. And since the Court's first chief justice told his fellow countrymen they should only vote for Christians, the ACLU knows not to expect words of support from those who first ran the Judicial Branch.

As I told you in Friday's blog, I will fight for Mr. Hitchens and the ACLU's right to try and drive faith from the public square. But I won't sit back while the left claims to be doing so to promote the ideals of Washington and his peers.

They are not.

More quotes coming.


December 2, 2005 | 4:56 p.m. ET

War on Christmas (Joe Scarborough)

I knew our War on Christmas segment last night would be heated. For whatever reason, discussions about the mix of religion and politics usually devolve into nasty, brutish events.

Vanity Fair's Christopher Hitchens came out swinging seconds into the segment arguing that Christian symbols had no place in private businesses or the public square. And for what it's worth, I can understand why a non-believer would be irritated at the sight of mangers and Christmas trees throughout the ever-expanding holiday season.

But Hitchen's suggestion that such displays did great violence to the United States Constitution is intellectually dishonest.

George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and most of our founding fathers believed religion, faith and God were indispensable supports of our Republic. The quotes are out there for anyone who cares to Google on the subject for more than five minutes. And while you are researching, figure out where the term "separation of church and state" first surfaced in US history.

It certainly wasn't in the founding documents.

That's why I say to Hitchens and all others who want to drive Christ out of Christmas, have at it. Fight hard and fair and know that if recent trends continue, you will probably succeed in stripping Christmas of all religious meaning.

But don't waste your breath suggesting that driving God from the public square during Christians' most sacred season is a noble effort undertaken to protect the First Amendment. It is not.

Don't take my word for it. Read the words of the Americans who approved the Constitution. You will learn that our founders never intended for freedom of religion to be interpreted by Mr. Hitchens and his ilk as a guarantee of freedom from religion.

Look in this space in the coming days for quotes from George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and other founders who took a position radically different from Hitchens and the ACLU.


A reason to be thankful (Joe Scarborough)

When it comes to holidays, our family is about as traditional as it gets. But there was nothing traditional about the Thanksgiving we spent last week on Mississippi’s ravaged Gulf Coast.

A group of faith-based organizations decided to serve Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of Hurricane Katrina victims. And because Scarborough Country viewers had contributed over half a million dollars to their recovery efforts, the organization sponsoring the event asked if we would come and share in the day.

I thought it would be a great chance for my family to see firsthand just how much we had to be thankful for.

September in Mississippi had changed the way I looked at life. It changed the way I looked at our political leaders. And it drove home the responsibility I felt to help those hurt by the storm.
I knew a trip to the hurricane zone wouldn’t touch my 17-year-old son the way it hit me, but I wanted him to see these people’s strength in the face of suffering.

But on the ride over, I was feeling anything but strong.

Tires, trash and cracked trees still littered the landscape as we raced across I-10 heading toward Waveland. The land looked like it had been raped. The prospects of recovery seemed helpless. As I pulled off the interstate and turned south toward the Gulf Coast, the scene worsened.

Why was I shocked? Why did the sight of city blocks wiped clean take my breath away three months later?

Hadn’t I seen this before?

I guess like the people we served last week, the joy of Septemeber’s survival was replaced by the shock of November’s continuing loss.

Mississippi’s Gulf Coast was obliterated by this storm. There is no other way to describe the violence and rage visited on that quiet region. Waveland, where we served dinner, was completely wiped out.

When I say completely I mean completely.

A school principal took Congressman Chip Pickering and me on a tour of the town. It consisted of him pointing at empty lots and telling us what was there before the storm.

"That was where City Hall was. Over there was the post office. A restaurant was on that lot..."

I’ve seen many things as a congressman, attorney and news host. But I have never seen anything like what I saw late that Thanksgiving Day.

Total loss. Nuclear winter. As bad as it gets. Beyond a war zone.

There’s rubble in war zones.

There is nothing in Waveland.

But the people returned to that ghost town last week to thank God for their lives, their families and their futures. No one was cursing their fate. Instead, talk on the sandy hill overlooking the Gulf Coast centered on Jesus, football and hunting.

As for my family, it was a Thanksgiving where food and football took a back seat. Driving back to Florida late Thursday night, I could sense everyone had been moved by the experience.

And is always the case, those who serve always receive more than those they served.

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Notes on the Times (Joe Scarborough)

As noted in my last column, the Democratic Party tucked its tail and ran from an opportunity to tell Americans why they had a better plan on Iraq than the President.

Last week’s Murtha Resolution may have been decried as a political stunt by Democratic activists and liberal news editors, but their blustering doesn’t change the fact that Democrats’ Iraq policy consists of little more than attacking George W. Bush.

Only the most shameless partisan hacks tried to spin the Murtha debate as a Democratic win. The best Democrats could truthfully say of the political skirmish that broke out on the House floor late Friday night was that Republicans also came across as petty.

So I was a little surprised by a New York Times article suggesting that the Iraq debate was a serious setback for the GOP when, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

With Republicans mounting a two-pronged attack on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, it is the Democratic Party that has the most to fear from recent developments. After all, they have been fighting a unilateral public opinion battle on the Iraq War for the last twelve months.

That has changed, whether the Times and their allies in Congress want to admit it or not. It is now up to Democratic leaders to figure out what they believe on the most pressing policy issue in America today.

Hating George Bush is not enough. Because in politics as well as life, you still can’t beat something with nothing.

Today’s front page of the Times was also an embarrassment for those who have argued for years that the esteemed paper confines its bias to its editorial pages. NYT readers were greeted this morning with four pictures of the President looking like a fool as he tried to open a locked door during his state visit to China.

As far as I know, there was no back story to the pictures. It was simply the case of the President being guided to the wrong door. But the Times editors decided that of all the significant events that occurred across the world yesterday, half of their front page should be devoted to making the President of the United States look like a dork.

Great job, guys.



Democrats need Kennedy's courage (Joe Scarborough)

This past Sunday would have been Bobby Kennedy’s 80th birthday.

That milestone and the events of the past few days got me thinking about how far the Democratic Party has fallen since his death 37 years ago.

This week’s events commemorating Kennedy’s life showed again how liberals embrace their hero’s legacy to justify almost every progressive program under the sun. A few speakers at Wednesday night’s event even waxed eloquently about how RFK brought people together just before launching into tired partisan attacks.

I must have overlooked the chapters in Kennedy’s life where he reduced himself to mere partisanship. I always believed he was more interested in bringing hope to the hopeless than gaining a cheap advantage for the Democratic Party.

Don’t misread me here.

The thought of Bobby Kennedy as a Republican then or now is an absurd notion. But no more absurd than those who believe his life’s lessons can be boiled down to a narrow partisan agenda.

The last two years of Bobby’s existence were consumed by the prospect of bringing light to the darkest corners of our world. Whether in America or South Africa, Bobby Kennedy always questioned initial assumptions and never stopped asking “Why not?”

In fact, RFK rarely backed away from any challenge. He was a liberal, but he was also a tough-as-nails politician who never feared political death.

Now I look at those who followed in his path as Democratic leaders and have to shake my head in shame.

At a time when the Democratic Party needs a candidate like the one Michael Douglas portrayed at the end of “The American President,” they are stuck with a nominee who voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it.

When the Democrats needed a protégée of RFK, they got a man who voted for the Patriot Act, Leave No Child Behind, the war in Iraq, and Bush trade agreements before abandoning all of those positions in the heat of a presidential campaign.

In 2000, eight years of peace and prosperity brought the Democrats a candidate who ran away from environmental protections and gun control because political strategists feared Al Gore’s positions on those issues would cost them West Virginia and Tennessee.

He lost them anyway.

And this week, Congressman Jack Murtha provided Democrats all the cover they would ever need to give Americans a real choice over America’s future in Iraq. But just as quickly, the Republicans sent the Party of Kennedy home for Thanksgiving recess with tails tucked between their legs.

Forced to finally take a stand on Iraq, the Congressional Democratic Caucus lost their nerve and voted instead to maintain George Bush’s status quo.

Activists can curse the President, they can hate Congress and they can vilify the right-wing media all they want, but until the Democratic Party comes up with a strong alternative to George Bush’s America, Democrats will remain impotent.

This comes from a writer who still supports the Iraq war but believes there is always a better way.

To my fellow RFK admirers, go back and study Kennedy’s life again. Try to approach that story by questioning your initial assumptions about his legacy. Maybe you will find, as I did, that it has much more to do with political courage than an ideological agenda.

Democrats need a dose of Kennedy’s courage now more than ever. So does the country Bobby Kennedy gave his life trying to save.


RFK: Bending history (Joe Scarborough)

The highlight of my week came Wednesday night when I attended the celebration of Bobby Kennedy’s life in the Mansfield Room. That room, just off the Senate floor, was packed with Kennedy family members, former staffers and long-time admirers.

The fact I was the only Republican within a few hundred yards of the room became painfully evident when Congressman Ed Markey’s introduction of me was answered with a quiet smattering of applause from three or four polite souls. Since I have seemingly spent most of my political life swimming against the tide, the cool welcome was nothing new.

After bowing my head and thanking them for their warm welcome, I began telling the crowd of progressive Democrats why I was crashing their party.

My fascination with Bobby Kennedy began in 1981 when I was a senior in high school. At the time I had Reagan bumper stickers plastered all over my car and just knew that Ronald Reagan would change the political world forever. But during a trip to a Pensacola bookstore, I stumbled across a biography that would place none other than Bobby Kennedy at the top of political heroes list.

As with Reagan and Truman, my attraction to Kennedy had more to do with courage than ideology. Like those two presidents, Bobby Kennedy seemed to be moved more by personal convictions than political polls. 

That fact was proven In June, 1966 when RFK dared to go to South Africa--a country that was an ally of the United States because of its strong anti-communist stance.

For Kennedy, simply opposing the Soviet Union was not reason enough to overlook apartheid. So RFK ignored the advice of presidents, ambassadors and political wise men of his day and instead traveled to South Africa to deliver a speech that would begin a movement that would end apartheid.

Kennedy told South African students not to be discouraged by the wide array of challenges facing our troubled world. For when one person stood up for an ideal, helped out those in need or struck out against injustice, he sent forth a tiny ripple on the water that when combined with the acts of others, created a title wave that could knock down the mightiest walls of oppression.

On that summer day so long ago, Bobby Kennedy taught an oppressed people how to do nothing less than bend history.

For the next two years of his life, Kennedy’s words and deeds kept reminding us all that one person could make a difference.

I decided to get into public service and make a difference after reading about the Senator’s response to Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4, 1968.

Kennedy was in the middle of his final, ill-fated campaign and prepared to go into the most dangerous part of Indianapolis. Just before heading to the event, his press secretary got the word that King had been shot dead by a white man.

Immediately, staff members scrambled to cancel the event. Ghettos were sure to explode in violence across Indianapolis and America. But when Kennedy chose to ignore the warnings, the Indianapolis Chief of Police weighed in.

His men could not provide protection. It was simply too dangerous.

So Bobby Kennedy went in alone that night to deliver the greatest speech of his life.

He told that broken crowd of Americans how it was not the time to embrace violence but rather to live  the very values for which Martin Luther King had died.

Later that evening, riots did break out in over a thousand cities and towns across America. Parts of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago burned long into the early morning.  Countless other cities and towns were engulfed in violence and rage. But that night, Indianapolis went to sleep in peace.

It was the story of how one man made a difference.

It is a reminder of how one person can still bend history.

It is a challenge sent through the ages of how we can still save a dying world.

October 13, 2005 |

Unfashionable revolutionary celebrates 80 years of being misunderstood
(Joe Scarborough)

— "God Save the Queen," The Sex Pistols

— It wasn’t Shakespeare, but in 1976 Johnny Rotten’s supersonic punk screed might as well have been England’s national anthem.

The once great British Empire was rotting to its economic core while simultaneously celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. Maybe that’s why punk’s pioneers made waves by screaming their new song while cruising on the Thames.

Three years later, Eurotrash from London to Leningrad had yet another British woman to loathe, as Margaret Thatcher exploded onto the world stage as the U.K.’s first female Prime Minister.

Maggie immediately privatized industries, crushed labor unions, and buried forever the legacy of Clement Attlee.

Within a few years, Great Britain went from a failing pseudo-socialist economy to Europe’s strongest economic force.

26 years later I watched throngs of reporters outside London’s Mandarin Hotel snap photos as queens, kings, presidents and prime ministers filed in to celebrate the 80th birthday of a woman who by herself reversed the fortunes of this great nation.

Did she get the respect deserved from punks and politicians across the continent?


Did she give a damn?

Not in the least.

Thatcher, like no other leader in recent times, was guided by an inner voice that could drown out the harshest insults from academia, media elites, or leftist politicians. She spent her entire political career swimming upstream, like Reagan, knowing that her opponent’s miserable policies would one day leave Britain with no other option but to embrace her world view.

And when they did, English citizens changed their fortunes forever.

While the Thatcher event was dragging on, I went to The Berkeley to meet an investment banker who begrudgingly gave “the old lady her due.” I didn’t bother giving a history lesson to the twentysomething capitalist, who owes his seven-figure salary and Range Rover to a woman still unfashionable after all these years.

I assured my British guest that millions of Americans would pay higher taxes to import a leader like the Iron Lady. Of course, she would have none of it. After all, her belief in the individual over the state was, in large part, what made her so great.

But tonight in London, that worldview is what made her seem like a relic from an age long passed.

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September 29, 2005 | 7:42 a.m. ET

Guilty or not, DeLay will walk (Joe Scarborough)

Let’s start my memo on Tom DeLay by killing Hamlet in the first act.

The Majority Leader will walk.

Forget whether he is guilty or innocent. Ignore the political drama. Dismiss the screeching chatter from the political classes. Toss out the dire predictions from talking heads.

Dismiss it all because in the end, Tom DeLay will be found not guilty of the charges filed against him.

Why could  DeLay survive a prosecution that would destroy most other politicians?

Because above all else, he is a political fighter.

That’s necessary for DeLay’s survival right now because Democrats have focused their efforts on destroying him since Newt Gingrich was run out of town in 1999. While Gingrich was going up in flames, DeLay had a front row seat for the Speaker’s inglorious fall from power. Like the rest of us, he also saw just how meaningless Newt’s efforts were to make peace with Democrats and media types.

The Washington establishment saw Gingrich as a crude, unpolished interloper who had to be destroyed. For a speaker who wanted to be recognized as a transformational figure in American life, that rejection was a bitter pill to swallow.

But from my years serving with Tom DeLay, I can assure you that he really couldn’t care less what the New York Times or Washington Post editorial pages think of him.

The Hammer is a fighter. He revels in rejection when it comes from media elites and liberal Democrats. Let them strike him down, DeLay thinks. Because in the end, it will only make him stronger with his base.

Maybe that’s why Tom DeLay is smiling.

He knows he is in for the fight of his life, but his enemies are the same ones he has beaten back hundreds of times before. And unlike Gingrich, DeLay will not try to be understood.

He will try to destroy all those who are trying to ruin his life.

That approach to political warfare is why Tom DeLay is so dangerous to Democrats.

It is also why I think he will win the fight of his life.

His nemesis, Ronnie Earle, is a partisan Democrat who has attended fundraisers supporting  his party’s efforts to take out the Majority Leader. That would be questionable conduct for any other Texas D.A. but unthinkable for the one who is trying to throw DeLay in jail.

Earle has probably overreached, and if political trials of the past are any indication, the D.A. will be the one falling on his face in the end.

Add Earle’s missteps to DeLay’s will to win (and his power grip on Washington and Texas politics) and you have a Lone Star State shootout that may be over before it even begins.


September 23, 2005 | 8:22 a.m. ET

Is this the best we can do? (Joe Scarborough)

It should be but it is not.

Thousands of Texans were trapped in a traffic hell yesterday because their leaders bungled the most basic elements of evacuation plans. As a result, many motorists ran out of gas while others gave up and returned home.

Perhaps they wanted to avoid what my family members faced while fleeing Hurricane Opal in 1995. Because of our government's slow response to evacuation challenges, many of those evacuating from Opal's wrath were told to give up, get out of their cars, and find shelter wherever they could.

The outcry was fierce and steps were taken to make sure the same mistakes were never repeated again. In all future hurricanes, interstate system was converted to a one-way evacuation route for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

But ten years after I worked with Alabama and Georgia officials to make that process seamless, Texas leaders dropped the ball -- leaving residents stuck in 100 mile traffic jams.

I can tell you from personal experience what a terrible feeling it is being trapped on the road with your young children while a killer storm races toward the coast. It's a feeling of despair shared by too many others right now.

But for the rest of us who are safely out of Rita's path, we are left worrying about the future of an America whose leaders seem so ill equipped to handle the greatest of disasters.

Is this really the best our politicians can do four years after September 11th?



Get out of town (Joe Scarborough)

For the past several weeks, I have not been attacking the federal, the state and the local governments for my own health or just to hear myself talk.  I have been doing it because lives have been at risk.  As I said before, these storms are hitting early in the hurricane season.  We know more of these are coming.  Even after Rita, there are going to be more storms.  We have entered a vicious cycle, and we better have leaders that know what they are doing. 

Unfortunately, our leaders failed us miserably.  People died because of it. It’s not good enough to say, ‘Oh, it was a historic storm.  There‘s no way we could have known a Category 4 was going to hit us.’ 

Well, now guess what?  We have got another Category 4 heading to shore.  This thing will slam into the Galveston and Houston area.  If not there, it‘s going to hit again along the border. 

To state the obvious, lives are going to be put at risk because of the winds, because of the tornadoes and because of the massive flooding.  The New Orleans levee system, already compromised, just simply will not be able to withstand this killer storm.  God help the people of Louisiana if this thing doesn‘t keep going west at a rapid rate. 

I want to tell you all in Galveston right now, I have been there.  I have been through these storms.  I have known people that have decided they are going to be brave and ride it out.  If you stay, you might die.  You could drown in your attic or you get washed away with the tide.  Something is going to happen. 

You make the call.  It‘s your life.