Conservative Versus Conservative

'Enough: A Conservative's Case Against Limbaugh': The far-reaching influence of radio giant Rush Limbaugh flummoxed readers of our March 16 cover story. Some dismissed him as an entertainer; others welcomed the discussion that results from his abrasive provocations. As for David Frum's blistering critique, one wrote, "Rush will emasculate you in public and no Republican will come to your defense." Another went as far as to wager, "We may look back on this as something akin to [Edward] Murrow's public stance against [Joseph] McCarthy."

On 'A Show 2 Lame 2 Miss': "Utah has enough stereotypes to deal with. You portray all of Utah as being stuck in the 1990s. Now when I go to another state, not only am I going to be asked if I'm Mormon, but also if I've gone to any lame concerts recently."
Erin Berilla Taylor
Ogden, Utah

Is Rush Out of Touch?
David Frum's true conservative voice is sorely needed at this time in our nation's history ("Why Rush Is Wrong," March 16). And even though Frum and I, a lifelong Democrat, would disagree on many issues, I find myself strongly allied with him on the need to reform the Republican Party's intellectual and moral core. By incisively dissecting Rush Limbaugh's diatribes for the inflammatory and counterproductive rhetoric that they are, Frum has called on conservatives everywhere to turn away from the politics of alienation and demagoguery. I hope he proves successful.
Paul Brewer
Grand Rapids, Mich.

when Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives say they want the country to succeed but Obama to fail, they are being either disingenuous or irrational. This is not a race between competing economic recovery programs. Obama's is the only game in town; if it doesn't succeed, the country is condemned to privation and misery. Hoping that Obama fails is synonymous with hoping the country fails; the two are inextricably linked.
Gary McKinley
Iberia, Mo.

I listened to rRush from his program's inception through midway through George W. Bush's first term. I then tuned him (and Sean Hannity) out and started reading books and editorials written by both conservatives and liberals. And the most amazing thing occurred—I started to think and reason for myself. How liberating!
Garrett Lindahl
Erie, Pa.

David Frum points out that most Republican leaders since the 2008 election realize that the vast majority of Americans are in no mood for Limbaugh's hot-air politics as usual. Limbaugh is out of touch with the earnest concerns of hardworking people. This emerging divide between the flame-throwing radio personality and the more moderate GOP is long overdue. Limbaugh, the conservative movement's poster child for obstructing political consensus building, has met his match in the new Obama administration. Many in the GOP are beginning to distance themselves from Limbaugh's arrogance and hubris. His latest buffoonery stems from his public wishes that our new president fail in his efforts to solve our nation's financial crisis. Limbaugh has now embarrassed many patriotic Republicans, who once considered him their spokesman and titular leader.
Mitchell J. Fine
El Dorado Hills, Calif.

I am a liberal, but David Frum's "Why Rush Is Wrong" really struck a chord. Our country, and the Democrats, need a vital, creative Republican Party to offer competitive alternatives to the liberal agenda. I am afraid we will all suffer if Frum's call for a revitalized Republican ideology is ignored. I am at least as amused as anyone by the hole the Republicans are digging for themselves by allowing the public to see Limbaugh as their representative face, but this can't be good for anyone, except Rush and the stations that carry him.
Dave Mollen
Union, N.J.

So your cover features Rush Limbaugh with the word ENOUGH! taped over his mouth. By putting Rush on the cover of your magazine, you, like much of the media, are encouraging the very behavior you purport to deplore. With the critical problems facing this country, the comments of this hypocrite (have people forgotten his drug use while he railed against drug use by others?) are nothing more than a sideshow. Left alone, the story would have quickly died, which would have been a big favor to the many people in this country who really don't care what Limbaugh has to say.
Erika Giles
Mercer Island, Wash.

Cutting Burial Costs
Matthew Philips's interesting article on burial costs ("Where Death Comes Cheap," March 16) did not mention the least expensive alternative: donating your body to research. Medical schools are always in need of bodies to be used by students in their training and research. Our family has a tradition of donating its bodies to medical schools. My father donated his to Georgetown University's School of Medicine. After a period of time, his ashes were returned to us and laid to rest at the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. My mother-in-law donated hers to Hershey Medical School. In fact, we recently attended a service in honor of all the people who had donated bodies there in the year my mother-in-law died. It was extremely gratifying to hear how appreciative and grateful the medical students were. They wanted us all to know how much it meant to them and their studies. There are some restrictions on donations, but it does not cost anything and it helps advance medical learning and research—a win-win for everyone.
Izanne Leonard-Haak
Hershey, Pa.

Gap in Rhetoric and Actions
As concerned citizens, we are feeling very guilty. According to Robert J. Samuelson, my wife and I, who are retiring this year from (between us) 80 years as teachers, are sucking money away from "poorer young and middle-aged workers" ("Presidential Double-Talk," March 16). Our retirement income will be somewhere near his definition of the "well-off elderly" ($125,000 per year). We have been steadily committed to our work. We've raised three productive and responsible children, lived frugally, bought houses no larger than we could afford and invested heavily in savings plans. Now, apparently, we constitute a threat to "the public interest." What did we do wrong?
William Campbell
Detroit, Mich.

The standard presidential four-year term of office should be reduced to four months. That, apparently, is the maximum tolerance limit for the pundits. President Obama has served two months in office and is already judged to be incompetent. After all, the stock market peaked at 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007, and has gone downhill ever since, but Obama has failed to restore enough confidence to drive it back to that level. He has failed to put people back to work, cut the deficit, end the wars or lovingly embrace his Republican opponents. His time is up. Who's next?
Kenneth Lee
Raytown, Mo.

Thank you for Robert J. Samuelson's March 16 column. As a liberal-leaning, open-minded reader I appreciate the fact that you included an article that is objectively critical of the new administration and the candidate that I supported. I could get this perspective from various conservative media, but it's much more convenient to get it from the usual source of ideas that typically confirm my beliefs: NEWSWEEK. I am surely not alone in supporting this administration while wanting to understand its initiatives through the eyes of those who have valid alternative approaches to how the country can continue to improve. This article was what I believe loyal, patriotic dissent should be: hard-hitting and well thought out.
Doug Sweat
Dallas, Texas

Making Do With Lots Less
Steve Tuttle's article about his thrifty parents ("The Frugal Family Guide," March 16) truly hit home. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. I remember watching my grandmother in the kitchen, washing and drying gallon-size plastic bags and smoothing out aluminum foil. I waited patiently as my grandfather carefully opened birthday and Christmas gifts with his pocketknife, the paper folded and stashed away for another use. I will never forget the look on my grandfather's face after Thanksgiving dinner several years ago, when my cousin threw the turkey carcass in the trash. Didn't she know she could make soup out of that?! They, too, were frugal, but not cheap. They were so generous with birthday and Christmas gifts, family trips and contributing to a down payment for a first home. I learned a lot from them. We all should.
Angie Dimitri
Danville, Calif.

Not many articles in NEWSWEEK make me laugh out loud. Steve Tuttle's "The Frugal Family Guide" was one of them. While my parents weren't quite as economical as his, it still brought back many memories of growing up just like him. Perhaps more of us should try pulling on some frozen underwear, suck it up and learn to appreciate what we have, not what we'd like to have.
Emilie Ormond
Smithfield, Va.

Outraged by the Octomom
The March 16 "Octomom Hypocrisy" article annoyed me almost as much as the Octomoron herself. I don't believe we "created" Nadya Suleman or "dare the emotionally needy to shock and appall us." We are the ones who have her image and story thrust upon us repeatedly whether we wish to view it or not. The responsibility (or lack thereof) falls squarely on Suleman's shoulders. It was she who willfully chose to conceive yet again, with six kids already at home and with no job or partner. Her elderly parents were already stretched to the limit sharing their home and care. In fact, putting an additional burden on these poor folks is a big part of the anger toward Suleman. Moreover, the Suleman kids did not "decide to come into the world this way"; Suleman decided it for them, so the "unfairness" is that she will benefit as well from the varied assistance/publicity she will receive as a result of her irresponsible and selfish behavior. Raina Kelley was so off base by intimating the majority are "just addicted to feeling superior" or that we are "all snickering and feeling superior." The huge majority of thinking people just feel deep dismay or futility over such a massive lack of character being exhibited, resulting in potentially tragic challenges for the human beings involved. That is why there is such outrage, and that is not hypocritical at all.
Viki Deverill
Tucson, Ariz.

While I believe Raina Kelley's characterization of the glorification of bizarre behavior regarding the Octomom was accurate, her comments concerning this country's approach to the subsidization of births was not. It seems there is a national confusion about the freedom to have children and the right of the childbearers to have their children publicly financed. Taxpayers, for example, should have no problems with, say, Angelina Jolie having as many children as she wants. Taxpayers will not be forced to financially support these children, nor will these kids likely end up in the criminal-justice system. And while it may be that welfare and food-stamp programs are primarily designed to make sure American children are nourished, it is an inescapable fact that many of these children would not have been born except for these financial incentives. So in answer to Kelley's imposed question of "why do we have to pay for her craziness" in reference to the Octomom's selfish pursuit of offspring, the simple answer is—we shouldn't.
Joe Cordill
Shreveport, La.

Raina Kelley's "Octomom Hypocrisy" commentary missed the biggest hypocrisy in the octuplet coverage: there are hundreds, probably thousands, of men in America who have fathered a handful of children and who have not provided any support to any of them. Women who cannot take care of their children are chastised, castigated and even ridiculed. Deadbeat dads, though, are largely ignored.
Paul Carpenter
Rockford, Ill.

Upside to the Economic Downturn
Thank you to Sharon Begley for her March 16 article "The Recession's Green Lining." Having worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in developing countries over the years, most recently in El Salvador, I have seen firsthand how big foreign companies exploit workers for low wages, exploit the land and contaminate the environment, because there is no regulation or enforcement of laws. We hear about poor working conditions abroad and environmental ruin, but to see it up close sensitizes you in a very lasting way. Although I have thought about how the global economic state will likely cause the closure of these dirty factories, I find myself not stating what Begley courageously did—that there are positives to the economic downturn. The demand for cheap goods at whatever cost to the environment and human life and dignity might just be changing.
Mary Welge
Blairstown, N.J.