This is supposed to be my "off" week, but Andy is still on holiday and when I get a request from an ardent fan, it's hard for me to ignore it.
You may recall that in last Friday's paper, my long-time reader Bill Silcox requested that I "explain what U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (and by inference, President Obama) meant when she wrote that returning veterans should be investigated as right–wing extremists, according to a nine-page report that was made public on April 14." He said my view will be "of interest," and I really can't fail to respond to a request like that from an admirer.
The problem is, I can't exactly respond because Bill doesn't have it quite right. According to Fox News among others, the DHS report in question contained a caution that returning veterans might be targets for extremist recruiters, and that we should be aware of that. Granted, not the most delicate thing to suggest, but a long way from saying that the veterans (not the recruiters) should be investigated as right-wing extremists. Further, when Napolitano realized what the report said and how it would be taken, she publicly and openly apologized for it and did so personally and face-to-face with the head of the American Legion, who graciously accepted her apology. Both the actual substance of the report and the Secretary's apology were widely and respectfully reported on both sides of the political spectrum of news organizations.
Now I realize that the sight of a high government official accepting responsibility for something that happened on her watch, clearly accepting and admitting that it was an error, and apologizing for it rather than staunchly defending that it's right because the Administration said it's right would be unfamiliar to some, but that's what happened, and Bill, respectfully, you have your facts distorted and just plain wrong.
A report last week said that only 21% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans – maybe an all-time low point for the Grand Old Party. I think one reason for this is that it must be embarrassing for anyone with any ethics or integrity to be associated with a party that, for the eight years of the previous administration, lied their (our) way into a bloody war, sloughed off responsibility for the disaster of rebuilding after Katrina, and all the rest.
What's amazing is that that remaining 21% keeps doing it. Last week Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) had the colossal effrontery to refer in open session to the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming as "a hoax, and did that with Shepard's mother in the gallery! And this is only the latest in a series of lies, rumors, and false reports from the likes of Cheney, Rove, Palin, and the rest of the ever-shrinking right-wing Republican crew.
So Bill, thanks for asking. I know, because you've written in so often, that you are a regular reader – and I appreciate your designation of me as the NLTB's "ace columnist," although I think you may have made a spelling error. In any case, with Jim and Andy I'm at best one of three aces. As to expressing my political views and putting down previous presidents, well, the first is actually my constitutional right, and as to the second, it's really only one previous president – I'm pretty OK with many of the other 42. Anyhow, thanks for your interest.