Last updated: July 17. 2014 1:09AM - 623 Views
Letter to the editor

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To the editor:

Who among the Daily Journal’s readership does not enjoy Robert Lee’s columns about his youthful days in Tennessee? All of them recollected from the memory and shared from the heart. And then, there are Mr. Lee’s political commentaries. Oh my, time for a little cleanup.

On July 12-13, Mr. Lee pledged that he is politically neutral, then proceeded to disparage President Obama and his party on several matters with barely a negative peep about the GOP or others. Let’s examine some of what he had to say.

Is President Obama out of control and grabbing power through his executive orders? Clearly not by historical standards. By yearly average, Obama and his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, have been almost miserly in issuing these orders — fewer than 37 each. You have to search as far ago as the “sandwiched” administrations of Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, in the 19th century, to find presidents as stingy. Franklin Roosevelt averaged a whopping 290 orders per year!

Further, the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Mr. Lee referenced was much more about executive appointments during the Senate recesses than about use of executive orders. One can only imagine the hyperventilated complaints had this president issued executive orders to send thousands of Americans to detention camps (FDR), seize control of industries (Truman) or impose wage and price controls and change the base valuation of our nation’s currency (Nixon).

Mr. Lee rightly directs our concern to immigration and recent activity along our southern border. But if this president is “sidestepping” this issue, as Mr. Lee complains, he can thank congressional intransigence at providing strong and clear policy. Until they act, the administration’s interpretation of the loose patchwork of immigration laws becomes our nation’s default position.

Mr. Lee points to insults directed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the Democrats, toward U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP. As most of us are aware, the silly bickering and insults flow both ways. While I doubt there is true equivalency in the negative discourse between the two major parties, do you, nonetheless, really want to take sides between any two “brats” in Congress?

Finally, Mr. Lee asserted that he is not calling his administration ‘Nazis’ several paragraphs after he offered us a reference to “… Jews being led away to the Nazi ovens,” and likened the IRS to the Gestapo. Huh? Really, sir, I believe I would reserve such imagery for real, instead of imagined, evil.

Through his columns, Mr. Lee is becoming a local treasure, not only for keeping the art of storytelling alive, but for his political commentary — however flawed. At least he has some opinions and the gumption to share them.

Douglas Smith


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