Readers respond

Posted: Jun 03, 2003 12:00 AM

Back by popular demand, here are more of your responses to our recent polling, and to my take on the numbers they reveal.

On my writings that show strong public support for President George W. Bush's job performance: A reader from Gainesville, Fla., insists that, "The Bush administration is beholden to the globalists in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and . . . the Bilderbergers." For those who don't follow conspiracy politics, these organizations are viewed by some as the public manifestation of an ultra-elitist group of business and political leaders that secretly runs the world. Well, maybe these theories are true; in fact, maybe they're necessary! If they are such a longstanding tradition, then where would we be without them?

Dear Gainesville reader: Let me know when the flying saucers land.

Then there's the touchy subject of Bill O'Reilly's censure of Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for not condemning a private, all white high-school "prom." Considering the mini-event was staged in a micro-Georgia town that most Georgians don't even know about, there certainly has been no shortage of opinions on the matter. Most readers managed to see what they wanted to see.

Some thought I was condemning O'Reilly and defending the "all white" party.

When I suggested that over 4.5 million of Georgia's 8 million residents live in the Atlanta area and don't know or care about the tiny county where the controversy boiled over, a reader from Newark, Del., quoted me and sarcastically wrote: "'Georgians . . . view this as happening in some far off place.' Sort of like the German population and the Jewish concentration camps (or) the Iraqis and North Koreans. . . . If I don't care then, why do all the networks bombard me with this insignificant news?" And a Los Angeles reader reacted with this: "(I) am impressed by your willingness to write a balanced article. . . . However, I'm confused as to why you didn't show any contempt for the 'all white prom.' I am a young black conservative and at any rate would condemn these actions."

Dear Newark and Los Angeles: Please recall that my while my column defended the right of the whites in question to have their own private party, I also said the prom was wrong because it was hurtful to the young people it excluded. For that sentiment, I got my chops busted by many. I also said it's O'Reilly's job to seek out these kinds of stories, and that his portrayal of it was mostly fair. And I still don't believe segregated proms are in line with most Southerners' thinking. But I also still think Gov. Perdue should be given a little slack; he is new to his office and probably didn't have a feel yet for whether the whole situation was one for the state's elected chief executive.

In truth, Bill O'Reilly caught most of the savagery from our readers. One even put us in the same boat. A reader from Niles, Ill., wrote, "In this case, both you and O'Reilly are off target . . . there are just too many problems that need serious consideration."

Dear Niles: Thanks for your comment. And feel free to compare me to O'Reilly any ole time.

As for my recent column revealing America's split opinion on Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan -- should he serve another term? -- the overwhelming majority of respondents agreed with me and my feeling that Greenspan should kindly "get out!" A reader in Sarasota, Fla., wrote, "Finally, a man who understands the death of government under Greenspan. . . . I hate that Americans won't even try to understand about the evil man." Thanks, Sarasota reader. But I was just trying to say his time has come and gone; "evil" might be a bit strong.

Walnut Grove, Calif., said, "Hear hear. . . . While I'm not an economist, but rather a teacher of U.S. history, I always thought his famous quote on the irrationality of our exuberance was wrong-headed!"

And speaking of those who are not economists, a reader in Westport, Conn., points out, "Matt, as far as I can see, you really don't have the background to make an educated judgment about Alan Greensand (sic) . . . " Well, Westport, I confess that I'm just an ignorant backwoodsman who did some of that there book learnin' at England's Cambridge University, with an advanced degree in international relations. But I'll keep on trying to cipher my way through the numbers -- of polls, yes, but also of all those retirement plans that lost their value. But thanks for taking the time to express your sentiments. You may be right, after all. And thanks to everyone who writes with their thoughts and feelings. Next week, we'll look at the popularity of two brothers in a state that seems to decide the presidency.