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WFIE-Ben Jackey, Evansville October 12

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Evansville doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a fairly isolated area, 100 miles from any other major Hoosier population center.

On the other hand, it was a glorious fall morning to drive I-64. The leaves are just hitting the fall peak. The southern Indiana hills just gave miles of vistas of beautiful orange, red, yellow, green and rich brown visions.

I even had good luck with Mapquest. It took me right where I needed to go. I seem to have done better going by the written directions rather than by their maps.

The Channel 14 WFIE studio is built on top of a big hill. The entrance is in the back, which leaves the lucky receptionist for the station with huge windows opening out onto a view for miles of hills and trees and city below. Again, I’m getting it here just at the peak of season. Impressive.

I appeared live on the midday newscast with reporter Ben Jackey from 11:45 am till noon. Turned out to be a call in show, which I’d never done before. The main topic of interest in Evansville seems to be Iraq and foreign policy.

One caller denounced me as a dirty “neocon” and as “two-faced” for supporting the war, as he supposed this to be contradictory to my generally espoused beliefs of disliking taxes and activist government. Yes, I confess to not being fond of the government doing lots of stuff it shouldn’t be doing, which is most of it. Dealing with nasty, violent enemies such as the Ba’athists is the main reason for having a federal government, though. This does not seem contradictory to me.

Also, I’m still looking for someone who can tell me the definition of “neocon,” by the way. Could somebody complete this sentence stem for me? A neo-con is someone who believes…

This same caller was also agitated that I would support the Iraq war on the supposed grounds that Hussein had nothing to do with terrorism. Now, we have found only a few minor scraps of WMDs- and I don’t know whether to be relieved or worried by that. Also, Saddam’s ties specifically to al Qaeda are somewhat weak. He very likely didn’t have anything to do specifically with 9/11. But then, no one says he did.

On the other hand, Saddam Hussein certainly was up to his butt in nasty Islamist terrorism. My caller was simply factually wrong to say otherwise. Start with the $25K payoffs for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers that Hussein made publicly and proudly. That would include, for example, supporting the activities of Hezbollah, which was responsible for the 241 US Marines slaughtered in Lebanon. This alone was a pretty good start of a reason for taking this guy out. Then there are all the training camps and money and terrorist stuff left, right and center.

For this fellow’s benefit though, I noted and re-iterate here that the Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik is anti-war. Indeed, Michael Badnarik will be the only anti-war candidate on the Indiana presidential ballot.

As Mr Jackey noted later privately, you’re going to get nailed whichever side you come down on in regards to Iraq. One of our LP congressional candidates had been on the day before opposing the war, and apparently got just as much hostility. My esteemed opponent Senator Bayh has a surfire solution for avoiding angry voters: he has refused to come on WFIE- or pretty much any other public setting where he might be asked questions of any kind. It works for him.

The main non-Iraq question was a woman, best I can remember wanting to know what I propose to do to make prescription drugs cheaper. Now, there might be some things around the edges that government can reasonably do, most obviously things in the range of tort reform.

However, I basically had to tell her that it’s not the job of the federal government to set drug prices, or provide drug benefits or welfare of any kind. At the risk of sounding like a big meanie, the government just can’t solve every problem. Nor is it constitutionally authorized to try.

On the other hand, if we privatized Social Security, and you were not having 15% of your income confiscated and simply squandered, but instead invested in your own accounts, why you’d probably have quite a bit of money. You wouldn’t be needing to come begging to Congress for free drugs.

Thus I managed to wrap up the appearance with my top issue, Social Security reform.

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