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Heres the response: To the Republic, long may she wave
Editors Note: Columnist Adele Ferguson sent this response via fax shortly after the column referred to appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006 editions. It was apparently unintentionally lost or misdirected and never reached the editorial department. We apologize to Ms. Ferguson and our readers for the publishing delay.
Invited to respond to your public dissection of me, line by line, no part of which could be mistaken for praise of any kind or appreciation I must be the only columnist in the country who gives weekly newspapers two columns from which to choose each week I will start at the very beginning, the headline, which signaled what was to come.
Examining one columnists rant: Adeles Fergusons tools.
Webster says to rant is to talk in a noisy, excited or declamatory manner. Rant is bombastic, extravagant speech. I do not plead guilty to rant.
The only tools I have to express my opinions are to read and to write. I read five daily newspapers, a half-dozen weekly news magazines and most of the current politics-oriented books. I have a wide acquaintance among the movers and shakers in this state, having covered the Legislature in residence in Olympia for over 30 years and seeing many from there advance to higher office in cities, counties and the other Washington.
I dont recall ever having been accused of misquoting somebody. My motto throughout my long newspaper career has been if it has quotes around it, you said it.
To be specific to your criticisms, you may regard radio talk shows, bloggers and PBS as mainstream media but I dont. I dont think many other people do, either. Mainstream media are ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, etc.
As to the word hate, news stories by top name writers and commentators have frequently mentioned the hatred that exists for President Bush. Have you taken them to task as you have accused me of attempting to polarize readers?
If the 655,000 figure given as a total of Iraqi war victims was questioned early on, I missed it. But for you to say it was an intentional lie on my part to say it wasnt questioned is unkind. It is akin to the consistent calling of President Bush a liar about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when he and other world leaders were misinformed.
I know perfectly well that deaths do not occur by the hour in war, but I used the hourly estimation to point up the exaggeration of the 655,000 estimate.
And when you say that the Democrats who were serving when George H.W. Bush was president are not serving now, hence not the same ones now promising not to in-fight and backstab, you havent taken a close look at the new committee chairs coming up in January. One writer called them dinosaurs.
Re the David Broder column, you say I ask readers to assume that he has made a complete turnabout from non-partisanship. Yes, I do. He did. Read the columns. Asking voters to pull the trigger on the Republicans ought to be a clue.
I think your last criticism, however, reveals the real difference of opinion between you and me. You oppose wiretaps, civilian surveillance and mistreatment of prisoners as crimes and violations of the Constitution, calling them illegal. I consider them tools of our side to try to keep track of whats going on in this war against terror.
Finally, when did Bill Clinton become off limits? If hed obey the dictum that ex-presidents do not publicly second-guess incumbents, he wouldnt even come to mind.
I am well aware that if I ruffle your feathers too much, I risk having my column yanked from two newspapers where I have been for a long time, but you hung me out on the dart board and handed your readers darts for the general good of the Republic and invited me to respond. So heres to the Republic. Long may she wave.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.