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Look Me in the Eye By: Larry Elder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 27, 2002


Is it me, or does "Today" show's Matt Lauer condescendingly give Republicans-conservatives the old "look-me-in-the-eye" treatment when asking questions?

In an interview with President George W. Bush, for example, Lauer questioned the president about the environment. "So you can look me in the eye and say that you are a president committed to cleaning up the environment?" he asked. "Look me in the eye and say that you are ... committed to cleaning up the environment"!

How about his recent interview with NRA President Charlton Heston? Lauer condescendingly asked Heston whether shootings or crime involving guns ever made Heston rethink his position on the Second Amendment.

Lauer: "Have you ever gotten up one morning, read the newspaper or seen the news about a particularly horrific crime or event that involved a shooting and thought, even for a second, 'I may be on the wrong side of this issue?'"

Heston: "No, I never felt that."

Lauer: "Never wavered?"

Heston: "No. Again, I'm on the side of the – the men who invented the country. They believed in the Second Amendment, and I believe in it, too."

Does Lauer give "gun control advocates," like Sarah Brady, the same treatment? Imagine the following:

Lauer: Ms. Brady, 38 states now allow citizens to carry concealed weapons. Violent crime in those states declined. It turns out that few gun-permit holders violate the terms of their permits by engaging in crime. In fact, gun-permit holders, as a class, commit fewer crimes than the non-permit-holding general public. Does this cause you to rethink, even for a second, your position on gun control?

Lauer: And to follow up, in Professor John Lott's book, "More Guns, Less Crime," he suggests that 2.5 million Americans use guns every year for defensive purposes. Of that number, 400,000 claim but for their access to a handgun, they feel that they would have been dead. Twenty thousand Americans a year die because of guns, with nearly half of those committing suicide. So, in looking at 10,000 dead vs. 400,000 still alive, do you ever think, even for a second, that 'I may be on the wrong side of the issue'?

Or how about something like this?

Lauer: Sen. Clinton, early in your husband's first term, he appointed you to create a national health-care system patterned after the Canadian so-called single-payer scheme. But according to Kerri Houston in Investor's Business Daily, "Looking to Canada's system of universal health care as a model for anything besides what not to do is lunacy of the highest order. ... Canada's health care is so bad that even the most liberal of politicians there are now calling the system a failure, screaming for complete overhaul and even proposing – gasp! – private-sector solutions." Increasing numbers of Canadians travel to the states for treatment with, say, MRI equipment, long available in America under its more free-market-oriented system. Does this cause you, even for a second, to rethink your attempted takeover of our nation's health-care system?

Or how about the following?

Lauer: Sen. Lieberman, you recently urged the repeal of the George W. Bush $1.35 trillion tax cut and oppose making any such tax cut permanent. However, let me play for you a tape of former President John F. Kennedy making the opposite argument about taxes. In this clip, he suggests that lowering taxes actually increases revenues:

(Begin tape)

Kennedy: The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrence to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system. ... It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low – and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.

The experience of a number of European countries has borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reductions in 1954 has borne this out, and the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget – and tax reduction can pave the way to full employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budgetary deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous expanding economy, which will bring a budgetary surplus.

(End tape)

Lauer: Sen. Lieberman, hearing that, does that cause you to perhaps, even for a second, rethink your opposition to tax cuts?

Expect someday soon for Lauer to give liberals the same treatment he gives conservatives? Naa-aah.

In ex-CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg's book, "Bias," he notes that the mainstream media cannot even grasp the notion that otherwise rational, sane people might see the world differently. Goldberg quotes the late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who after George McGovern's 1972 crushing defeat at the hands of Richard Nixon, lamented, "Nobody I know voted for Nixon."

But maybe it's me.


Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Can’t Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com.


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