J. KARL MILLER: Democrats responsible for their own defeat

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 10:39 a.m. CST, Monday, November 15, 2010

As predicted by the polls and certainly expected by serious students of politics, a massive red tide from the right wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats and removed a sizable chunk of their Senate majority. The rout did not play favorites, taking down at least two incumbent senators (Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin), while also defeating three long-termcommittee chairmen, one of whom (House Armed Services' Ike Skelton of Missouri) was highly regarded on both sides of the aisle.

By any accounting measure, this is a game changer for Congress as well as for the country. And, the talking heads and syndicated columnists alternately pooh poohing the importance of or lamenting the results notwithstanding, the only ones who count — the people — have spoken, loudly and clearly.

Nevertheless, it would be a serious error in judgment to attribute this drubbing of Democrats to any warm and fuzzy feeling in the electorate for Republicans — it just ain't there. If you remember, the public made its dissatisfaction known in 2006 and 2008, seeking a change in political climate and received an overdose of the same — higher unemployment and more government spending.

It does not require an astute political scientist to understand the root cause of this shift. One need look no further than the misguided arrogance of an administration, with huge majorities in both houses of Congress, promoting and securing passage of toxic and unpopular legislation. Ignoring the will of the people just because you can is a tactic almost certain to boomerang.

A large measure of the blame belongs to the Congressional leadership. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it known from November 2006 onward that they were the winners and would drive the bus leftward, heeding no suggestions from the back seat.

Orchestrating passage of health care reform by both houses and cap-and-trade legislataion by the House of Representatives, with the philosophy that the end justifies the means, promoted massive unease in the business community and did not set well with an electorate promised the most transparent and ethical representation ever. Nor did the profligate spending that resulted in $1.4 trillion and $1.3 trillion deficits in 2009 and 2010 and the failed stimulus package promise of an era of responsibility.

The backlash is also laid at the feet of President Obama, who took for granted a sweeping mandate for change from an early adulating electorate and the mostly sycophantic media. A gifted orator on the campaign trail, he soon alienated blocs who had tuned in his message. Condescendingly describing rural voters as "bitter" and "clinging to guns and religion" and, as recently as last month alleging "facts and science is not winning because we are not hard wired to think straightly when we are scared" does not pass the Dale Carnegie test "how to win friends and influence people."

Succinctly, insinuating that voters are not all that smart, along with ignoring their collective concerns was neither wise nor defensible on the part of the president nor Congress. All too often, it seems we are being governed from the faculty lounge. The administration and its Congressional majority should have heeded Colin Powell's astute counsel: "If you break it, you own it."

The election result is in no way a vote of confidence for Republicans but, rather, a stinging rebuke of Democrats for failing to stop the bleeding in the last four years. Control of the House and a more competitive Senate lineup will place a bull's-eye on the back of the GOP — it is shape up or ship out — no progress, and the voters will exact a similar toll.

Where do the tea parties fit in this equation? Despite being attacked continually and unfairly as radical, racist, unpatriotic and other less-than-flattering portrayals, the tea parties got everyone's undivided attention and were arguably the political catalyst for this upheaval. They will rightfully demand a role in Republican reconstruction.

The tea party movement can serve as a plus or a minus in the exercise of the newly acquired Republican strength. Clearly hostile to some of the past "sins" of the GOP, they can work in cooperation to reform that which they find offensive or they may dig in their collective heels and refuse to play. Their loosely organized rank and file is formidable but, unless they respond to or provide leadership, 2012 may be a rerun of 2008.

The ball has come to rest in the president's court. He may accept or reject the message. In his televised appearance, he offered to study GOP proposals and to consider any that showed merit; however, in all honesty, he appeared to pay no more than lip service that the message was meant for him.

We have been on this road too long — blaming George Bush does not create jobs nor does it fix the economy.

J. Karl Miller retired as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He is a Columbia resident and can be reached via e-mail at

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Don Milsop November 10, 2010 | 9:15 p.m.

This is a classic case of liberals suffering the same psychosis that the Japanese and Germans labored under during WW2. They actually believe their own propaganda.

Now liberals, please note that I did not say you were like either the Nazi's or the Japanese that committed attrocities. So please don't go there with that nonsense.
Regardless of the 40 million dead unborn babies murdered in your abortion clinics.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 10, 2010 | 9:57 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Don Milsop November 11, 2010 | 1:31 p.m.
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Philip Vassallo November 11, 2010 | 3:21 p.m.

Funny thing is most of the DEM who were voted out of Congress were maderate DEMs. So what we have now in the Dem part of congress is hard core left Wing liberal DEMs.If you look at the United States Blue and Red map its mostly RED.Lets hope in 2012 we can finish the job and keep an eye on Rinos in the REP party.If we don't do this now we are Doom in this country with Debt and high unemployment for a long time.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 11, 2010 | 8:45 p.m.

Usually, I like dinner and kiss before I'm... , Mr. Sherlock.
FACT: Mr. Milsop has no uterus.
FACT: Mr. Milsop will have to carry neither a rapist's nor a family member's forcible conception to fruition.
FACT: Mr. Milsop equates liberals with a legal medical procedure that he calls "murder".
FACT: Mr. Milsop in a post last week "Unfortunately, Mother Nature's corrections to liberalism can be costly and horrific."

This is from TIME magazine.
"Bleass [sic] everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp. Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers [sic] church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn't seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller." — a poster identifying himself as Scott Roeder, at, in response to a scheduled vigil to "pray for an end to George R. Tiller's late-term-abortion business," May 19, 2007.

"Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation." —a poster calling himself Scott Roeder, at, Sept. 3, 2007.

"I know that he believed in justifiable homicide ... I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn." —Regina Dinwiddie, who met Roeder in 1996 while picketing outside the Kansas City Planned Parenthood clinic, Kansas City Star, June 1, 2009.

This is from Randall Terry: "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God."
And this is from Scott Roedar at his trial according to Prayer and Action News June 2010 - "A lot of children were in imminent danger if I didn’t stop him. That was my honest belief. 22 hours later they would be dead."

And my comment - welcoming Mr. Milsop back, saying that he had no uterus and is putting his nose where he has no business gets taken down.
I'm done.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 11, 2010 | 10:58 p.m.

"Nevertheless, it would be a serious error in judgement to attribute this drubbing of Democrats to any warm and fuzzy feeling in the electorate for Republicans..."

Home run, Karl!

Best illustration is here in Missouri: Hold your nose and vote for the Senatorial candidate you dislike the least!

[I don't care where we go for dinner as long as someone else is picking up the tab. If I have to pick up the tab then I'm very fussy about where we go for dinner. Even more so when it comes to buying and drinking beer. "Hey, bar tender! Give me one of them thar 'Stella Ar-toys.' I do love them thar Urine Peein' beers."]

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Don Milsop November 12, 2010 | 12:20 p.m.

Gregg, I'll remind you of another fact. Once slavery was perfectly legal in this country. That made it neither right nor moral. You site the Tiller case. You will note that the vast majority of Christians condemned the violence against Tiller. But one wrong does not make 40 million rights.
And our daughter is adopted. She was in horrible condition at adoption, both physically and mentally. So I don't want to hear from you anything about raising other people's children - unless you've done it yourself. Unborn children are human beings. They have a right to life. They're denied due process of law before they are murdered. Keep this conversation in mind 40 years from now when your grandchildren decide to pass a law that your old fanny is no longer of use to society, and you are selected for involuntary euthanization - and you have no right to appeal. Of course the last words you'll be screaming is that it's Bush's fault.

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Don Milsop November 12, 2010 | 12:24 p.m.

Gregg, if a woman was raped and carried the child to birth, would it still be okay to kill it after it was born? How about 5 minutes before the baby was born, or during birth? Would it still be okay to kill the baby then? What gives you or anybody the right to stop the birth of a baby any time after conception? Mother's choice? Should the mother be allowed to kill the baby five minutes after it's born? Wouldn't that still be a mother's choice? How about the lady in England that said it should be perfectly legal to kill a child up to the age of two if it has birth defects? Where do you get to decide where to draw the line, and who should draw it?

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John Bliss November 12, 2010 | 12:44 p.m.

Don, speaking of "drawing the line"<your words, what does your ranting about abortion, have to do with the given topic of "Democrats responsible for their own defeat"? I know the paper says to try to stay on topic, but you missed
what the Colonel was saying! In turn, if these new GOP's screw-up, they are out too! Thank you Colonel for the article!

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Marina Shane November 12, 2010 | 4:37 p.m.

Let's make it mandatory that ALL MEN have to get a vasectemy. When you're ready for a baby, then get a reversal surgery. Since you MEN want to tell me as a WOMAN about my body, I think I have the right to tell you how you have to govern YOUR body!
Mandatory vasectomy solves all the problems. We, women, won't get pregnant from rape or incest then. Lower birthrates are better for the enviornment. Less people means more job opportunites! We'll fix the economy!
And all you MEN have to do is get neutered! Problems solved!
You MEN talking about a WOMAN's right to choose need to get back on topic.

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Don Milsop November 12, 2010 | 4:58 p.m.

Marina, no problem. Can we do that same for both sexes? You ladies get your tubes tied and have that reversed when ready? Then we will be equal.

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Don Milsop November 12, 2010 | 5:00 p.m.

Regarding whether or not the GOP will be blamed for anything will depend on what legislation the GOP can get passed. If the Dem senate and WH block reductions in spending and taxes, and refuse to face reality, round two
(Nov 2012) ensure the lunacy of the left is buried for a long, long time.

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Noah Hartsfield November 12, 2010 | 8:15 p.m.

I find all of these Republican calls for the Democrats to step aside and heed the "will of the people" and reverse course very interesting. I find them mainly interesting because I don't recall the same people delivering the same message to Republicans when the Democrats swept them out of the house in 2006 and won the presidency in 2008 with the largest popular vote margin in recent history. Were the same conservatives who claim Democrats need to step aside stepping aside themselves... to borrow a phrase made famous by our likely new speaker of the house: "Hell No We Won't!" (or to be grammatically correct, 'weren't') They were being obstructionist and claiming that somehow the electorate was wrong and they knew what was best for the country.

Let's be honest, we have no idea what the majority of this country wants because we have a horrible voting record. The polls we like to cite in our political discourse are best guesses and highly subject to bias. Just ask any social or behavior scientist how much they value things like newspaper, online, or telephone polls. I work for the county clerk on election days in the polls, turnout is atrocious. We are never going to get on track and actually find out where we as a country want to go until we start VOTING!! Everyone, every time. Right now we simply bounce back and forth between the extremes based on who got out for votes that election. Then, the opposing side (and yes, both sides are guilty of this) claim that they have a duty to the underrepresented group who for whatever reason didn't vote to uphold their principles. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat... that's all we're doing right now. Come on people, whatever your politics, lets actually start exercising our rights and vote!

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Don Milsop November 12, 2010 | 8:54 p.m.

Noah, really? Obama won by the largest popular vote in recent history? I only have to go back to 1984 to see Ronald Reagan beating Walter Mondale by almost 17 million votes. Obama won by 8.5 million.

And it's pretty clear that Americans have a low tolerance for liberalism for any length of time since FDR. Clinton won 1992 with only 43.3% of the popular vote. Clinton won 1996 with less than 50.1% of the popular vote. And he only got that by signing off on GOP policies that reduced the deficit by cutting the rate of growth in government spending.

In order for Obama to win in 2008, he found it necessary to lie to the American public as to what he represented. Now that Americans have seen what that is, they handed the Democrats the worst legislative defeat in over 70 years. This wasn't just at the national level. It was across the entire breadth of the nation. You lost hugely in governorships and in state legislatures. And when it's really going to tell is when we begin to hear your screams during redistricting.

It was a total repudiation of what liberalism represents. Of course you refuse to recognize that, but that's the nature of what liberalism is. An inability to deal with reality at any level, on any subject.

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Ellis Smith November 12, 2010 | 10:10 p.m.

The problem faced by O'Bummer and his entourage is the presence of those damnable Evangelical Christians! As our Former Neighborhood Organizer has informed the populous, those unfortunate Christians are mired in bitterness, bibles and guns.

Solution: Send those benighted folks to either Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of California-Berkley or Stanford. The total cost to taxpayers would be much less than the money our federal government wastes daily.

Then the "transfigured" Evangelicals would be able to run the United States into the nearest ditch - just like the folks who presently believe they're running our federal government.

[I was going to include University of Chicago in my list of miscreant universities, until I glanced at my office wall and remembered a large campaign style button that says "Proud U. of C. Parent."]

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Jarrett Terrill November 13, 2010 | 10:00 p.m.

First, allow me to enjoy my good guffaw at the way conservative columnists still cling to the bizarre notion that they are somehow separate from the "liberal media" which they assault on a daily basis.
Now that I've released some carbon, let me get on to the important business of explaining what REALLY happened in this not-so-historic election. Blanche Lincoln, a wolf in donkeys clothes, lost her bid for re-election because she promised change and failed to deliver. Her complaints about earmarks and legislative voodoo fell on deaf ears with the voters who didn't understand how she could sabotage her own party at every turn (Her own staff even chastised her on her facebook page which means you had better think twice about chalking that up to a mere tea party victory.) Furthermore, midterm elections usually bring about a change-over in both houses, but Democrats managed to hold onto the Senate (even without that DREAM-killer Blanche). Sharon Angle also discovered that it's not so cool to be anti-gay anymore as Harry Reid (who, ironically is a Mormon) lept back onto his pedestal and 106 openly gay candidates assumed office in one night across America. And Meg Whitman discovered, albeit very gracefully, what the Beatles told us so long ago... money can't buy us love. Lastly, some sneaky voters finally used a ballot measure for something other than denying marriage to gays: The gerrymandering that has kept Florida under Republican leadership for the last two decades is now against the law despite a medicare theif getting in just under the wire.

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Don Milsop November 14, 2010 | 2:13 p.m.

Let's take a quick recap:

60 seats in the House, taking control of that chamber by a significant margin

6 seats in the Senate, falling short of the 10 seat swing required to obtain a Senate majority; and

9 governorships, giving Republicans a significant advantage in control of the statehouses

Republicans have added over 675 seats to their ranks in this election, dramatically surpassing 1994 gains. This number could go even higher as the tallies in the undecided races are determined. The chamber switches thus far are all Democratic to Republican except for Montana House which was tied and is now Republican, and the Oregon House which was Democratic and is now tied. Changes are:

GOP gains
Alabama - House and Senate
Colorado - House
Indiana - House
Iowa - House
Maine – House and Senate
Michigan - House
Minnesota - House and Senate
Montana - House
New Hampshire - House and Senate
North Carolina - House and Senate
Ohio - House
Pennsylvania - House
Wisconsin - Assembly and Senate

Tied : Oregon House; Alaska Senate

Two chambers still undecided: New York - Senate; Oregon - Senate

This is the first time in Alabama that Republicans have controlled the legislature since reconstruction. The North Carolina Senate has not been Republican since 1870. And Republicans have reportedly taken over 100 seats in the New Hampshire House. For the first time in history, the Minnesota Senate will be controlled by the GOP.

(Source: National Conference of State Legislatures)

Obviously there there is something about this picture that isn't clear to liberals.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance November 14, 2010 | 11:42 p.m.

and why would people vote against their own economic self-interest. Republicans and the rest of the Faux News gang have convinced the ignorant that the president is a black, Muslim terrorist Kenyan socialist. Nothing scares older angry white voters than someone that doesn't look like them. Obama and Bush both pushed TARP, but the teabaggers are convinced it is not the same. Progressives need to realize that these bigots are in power now and we need to stop putting all our efforts into puppy mill legislature and try to convince our neighbors that Republicans really don't speak for them and they are the party that put us in an economic crisis in the first place.

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Don Milsop November 15, 2010 | 4:37 a.m.

Tim, extract your head and look at who the GOP elected. There were a bunch of minorities and women. They're rejecting you. Your policies failed. Conservatives don't care about looks. Actually, minorities are beginning to find out that it's the left that are the racists and holding them back. The left branding them as uncle Tom's or anti woman aren't cutting the mustard anymore. Liberals don't control the majority of the media anymore. Left wing news is falling on its face. Viewship and readership are sinking, as are their advertising rates. Air America was proof that even liberals don't want to listen to the drivel of the left wing media. FOX News and talk radio and conservative blogs are continually catching liberals and exposing your lies and deceit. And nothing liberals can do will change that.

Tim, why is it that when it comes to election fraud convictions, 19 times out of 20 it's democrats? Oh, just a heads up. Conservatives no longer use the term progressives. We're calling it what it is....repressive.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop November 15, 2010 | 4:39 a.m.

One more thing Tim. The vast majority of conservatives do not believe President Obama is Kenyan.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance November 15, 2010 | 7:48 a.m.

Don, if anyone is needs to extract their head, it is you. The GOP played on those fears to get their base out to vote. You can't tell me that a rational person would vote out the party you put us into an economic crisis to rival the Great Depression, only to vote them back into Congress in such a short time. For example, Roy Blunt was asked about Obama's birth certificate. Instead of answering that the issue was absurd, he says something along the lines that the issue had merit and needs to be looked into. Who was he trying to appeal Don. The xenophobic racist part of your base that's who. Your reference to Fox News says a lot as well.

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Don Milsop November 15, 2010 | 4:26 p.m.

"You can't tell me that a rational person would vote out the party you put us into an economic crisis"

Tim, there was only one economic crisis, and it was created by liberal spenders .... mostly Dem. You will continue to ignore the meltdown created by Dems at Fannie and Freddie. Americans see how clearly the Dems are in bed with Wall Street. The nonsense the liberal media spews is no longer believed by Americans. They voted for a Democrat party that they thought would govern from the middle. The Dems immediately took a hard turn to the left as anybody with common sense knew they would.

Well, President Lincoln said it accurately. You can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. By the way, in 2008, Obama only fooled 53% of the people. The American people have taken corrective action Tim. I know you don't like it, but get ready for redistricting. You're going to like it alot less in 2012.

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Don Milsop November 16, 2010 | 6:43 a.m.

Psssst, Tim Dance. Republicans are electing more and more minorites and women. You might not have noticed that, but then you don't do any homework before you begin spewing. Meanwhile, those conservative minorities will hear you left wingers start with the Uncle Tom, Manila Taco, and Curry Conservative racial slurs you liberals are so well known for when a person who is not caucasian disagrees with the mandatory liberal line for anybody who isn't white. Well Tim, in the new information age, everybody gets to make their own decisions. So please, tell your liberal friends to cease with their racial slurs towards minority conservatives. It will show you actually have a chance at maturing. It will show you actually do believe in diversity and freedom of thought and speech. Just ask Juan Williams.

(Report Comment)
Don Milsop November 16, 2010 | 6:03 p.m.

Tim, if conservative white Americans are such xenophobic racists, how was Booker T. Washington able to draw crowds of white people from 10,000 to 40,000 to hear him speak all aross the United States in the 1880's through the early 1900's?

Just because you harbor such deep seated hatred towards anybody who disagrees with you, doesn't mean they are racist or xenophobic. It just means they don't believe your viewpoint is worthwhile. It has nothing to do with race.
A fear founded in reality is common sense and not bigotry. A fear founded on myth with no basis in fact is prejudice. Liberals can't seem to discern between the two. Again, it is minority conservatives who disagree with liberalism who suffer the verbal and physical violence of the left. It is the left who is always rioting and committing vandalism. It is the left who is always caught committing voter fraud. Let's see how the congressional black causcus welcomes the two new conservative Republicans who happen to be black.

When you face your own truth and own it, then perhaps you can come into the light. You will be welcomed if you can.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 16, 2010 | 6:52 p.m.

Noah Hartsfield wrote:

"Let's be honest, we have no idea what the majority of this country wants because we have a horrible voting record"

I agree, and the other thing that bothers me is we don't tend to fact check our beliefs. We form our opinions from sound bites and quickie news reports and emails that jive with our general political bent.

Basing national policy on ideology rather than rationality is a recipe for disaster, and it's been played out all of human history. Stop arguing "conservative" and "liberal" and actually get into the meat of the issues!


(Report Comment)
Don Milsop November 17, 2010 | 11:22 a.m.

Mark, that would be great. But how do you get to the "meat of issues" when the liberal ideology refuses to recognize both the realities of life and the moral bounds that our society embraced that made us grow as a nation? Slowly over several hundred years we have been successful in correcting the ills our society permitted, but in correcting those things like slavery we didn't give up our moral character under Judeo-Christian values. Nor did we refuse to deal with realities facing our nation. Courts didn't make decisions 50 years ago that were totally off the wall. Now we have madness reigning in so many sectors of our society. But as I've said before, Mother Nature has a way of forcing reality back upon us. And when that happens, often times it's not pretty.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 17, 2010 | 1:27 p.m.

Don Milsop wrote:

"But how do you get to the "meat of issues" when the liberal ideology refuses to recognize both the realities of life and the moral bounds that our society embraced that made us grow as a nation?"

A LOT of people fail to recognize the "realities of life" and they exist across all political classes. The problem is that idealogues of all persuasions make their own reality. What history, or science, or statistics say becomes irrelevant, and it is precisely the history, or science, or statistics that they should be basing their opinion on.

"Nor did we refuse to deal with realities facing our nation."

We refuse to deal with anything that is not an immediate problem (i. e., we react rather than plan) or will be unpopular with a majority of voters. This isn't a new phenomenon either. The war in Europe in 1939-40 wasn't a particularly popular one here until Pearl Harbor was attacked (thus the conspiracy theories about FDR knowing ahead of time). It's the nature of our form of government to try to please the most people, and to change slowly, even when history, science, or statistics indicate that faster would be better.

I've left specific examples out of this because I don't want to use a lot of political "buzzwords" that may be misunderstood. I'm trying to show that both the left and the right are guilty of making their own realities, and I'd hope thoughtful people will base their opinions on more than what "sounds right" on the radio or TV.


(Report Comment)
Don Milsop November 17, 2010 | 7:50 p.m.

Mark, the whole FDR conspiracy theory was always utter nonsense. Everybody knew the war was coming. They just didn't know exactly when. The military basically went on a war footing in 1940. The Marines and Navy were out at Wake Island, Midway, Samoa, and other islands working feverishly for a year and a half getting ready. The only one we lost was Wake, and the Japanese paid dearly to win that one. I blame Pearl Harbor exclusively on Admiral Kimmel and General Short for not having enough air search planes out. In retrospect though, it turned out to be a good thing. Of all the ships sunk and damaged at Pearl Harbor, only two or three were permanently lost. Had they been attacked in the open sea, even if ready, any ships sunk would have been lost forever, along with many more crewmen.

Any time I leave the house I have a drive up the hill, and then I can overlook Pearl Harbor, and I think of that day and my father's part there. Because of base security, it's one of the few opportunities I get to go on board the base and visit his final resting place. We are fortunate today to still have Americans such as that serving our nation.

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