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Friendly reply to my pen pal Newt Gingrich

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Dear Newt, I got your letter inviting me to send you $35, and all I can say is there must have been a mistake. You began by saying, “I’m sending you this invitation today because I’ve been told that you are an American who agrees with me that God should not be driven from the public square.” I don’t know who told you that, Newt, but it’s not true. I am not such an American. ...

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November 30, 2009
10:39 a.m.
(Comment was removed by moderator for not meeting the Daily Gazette's community standards.)
November 30, 2009
10:47 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]


Through one of my sons, who is a reviewer, I've learned how important feedback is to him as he works at his craft. This, together with retirement, has given me a newfound inclination to respond to a column or review that I find particularly important and exceptionally well-written, a practice I never exercised in the past. As I read your column this morning, I was moved to write to you.

My spirits were lifted to read your inspired, witty expose of a transparent charlatan. I think faith is precious, but think the frightening "my way or the highway" variety spawned by Gingrich, Hannity and others, that tries to brand and hijack faith, the flag, and motherhood as belonging to a specific side, is manipulative and shameful.

Such grotesquely simplistic branding efforts would be laughable, but many suck in the bogus sound bytes because they are easier to digest than profound thought. It's consistent with the popularity of junk food as the dietary standard in many folks' lives.

At any rate, thanks for soldiering on. I think understated descriptive narratives are your forte. Among my favorites over the years are one where you walked through the Lollapalooza at the Saratoga Raceway, and another that described a boxing match at some hotel ballroom in Saratoga. In each of these (as with the Gingrich piece)your opinion of the subject is never directly stated. You let precise description indirectly take the reader to a conclusion of his own, in a manner that is (and I love to use this word) journalistic.

You never once call Gingrich a fraud, but implicit in your depiction of your letter is the idea that, if he sanctions such fund raising, he is either a willful manipulator or dumb, neither of which distinguishes him as a man of noble faith.

When you're on your game, you're one of the best, in my book.

- Tom Smith

December 1, 2009
6:12 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I stopped supporting Gingrich when he divorced his second wife the moment she became ill, the exact same behavior he manifest with his first wife.
The man who was unable to mount the charge to convict Bill Clinton for lying under oath because he himself was having an affair, is hardly representative of conservative Americans. And worse, he gives msm pundits such as Mr. Strock a wholely deserving target for riddicule and scorn. Finally, regionally, Mr. Gingrich's role in supporting RINO Scozzafava for congress certainly contributed to the election of Mr. Owen to congress.
In closing, attacking the flawed Gingrich from inside the fortress of liberalism, New York State, is hardly a profile in courage, but the methodology and craft utilized should insure the writer's installation into the Liberal's Hall of Fame.

December 3, 2009
9:12 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

As to the above comment, Carl Strock's response in the form of his "Letter to Newt" takes on the particulars of Mr. Gingrich's assumptions as stated in the letter's plea for funds.

Strock never once even mentions Gingrich's past transgressions, choosing instead to take a higher ground and to take point-by-point issue with the fundraising letter's assertions on their own merit or lack thereof.

In other words, Strock attempts to employ objective, methodical logic and sensibility.

The cleverness of using the format of a friendly letter is that, while seemingly highly personal, it never becomes personal at all.

Why would Strock do this? Perhaps because, tossing aside the public revelations regarding Gingrich's shameful matrimonial past, many without his sordid baggage are engaging in the self-same illogical campaigns.

I think it's safe to say that Carl Strock's goal as not to beat a dead horse, but to debunk a movement that he sees as so much specious demagoguery. The signee of a letter in support of such a campaign, while not wholly unimportant, is largely beside the point.

As for attempting to diminish Strock's column by branding him as a "liberal" for his compulsion to be reasoned, that is the basest of ad hominem attempts. I do not know Carl Strock, except through years of reading his columns, but am guessing that he sees himself as one who manages to offend every special interest group at one time or another, as he is a member of none. And that, I might add, takes some courage.

- Tom Smith

December 8, 2009
9:39 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Patiently awaiting recent column posting from Mr. Stock.
Carl: how can you make a living writing 1 article each week or so???
Must be trying on you!