I Ain't No Crackpot
Jude Wanniski
November 5, 1996

Letters Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor:

In his column on the Dole/Kemp campaign November 3, George Will referred to me as Mr. Kemp's "crackpot advisor" who "thinks World War II was caused by Germany's tax and monetary policies." I've never come close to making that crackpot assertion. In my 1978 book, The Way the World Works, I argued that WWII was the outgrowth of the harsh Versailles Treaty of 1919, which is conventional history, plus the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1929, which caused the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, a hypothesis that I originated.

Mr. Will further asserts that I was the person who "evidently" prompted Mr. Kemp into praising the "lunatic" Minister Louis Farrakhan for his "wonderful" message. In fact, Mr. Kemp's description of the Farrakhan message of manly individualism and family responsibility at the Million Man March as "wonderful" was not mine, but that of almost everyone who heard the message including those who insisted that the message be separated from the messenger.

In demanding that "Republicans should apologize to the country for proposing to put Kemp near the presidency," Mr. Will makes another serious error of fact. He accuses Mr. Kemp of "criticizing Clinton for asserting American power without seeking the permission of allies." To be sure, Mr. Kemp thought it would have been seemly if the President had asked the opinion of America's coalition allies in the Persian Gulf. His central complaint, though, was that Mr. Clinton did not consult with a single member of the 104th Congress before pulling the trigger on Iraq. Elsewhere, I have argued that the President should be impeached for this overt violation of the War Powers Act, which requires such consultation. Mr. Will evidently believes it is quite all right for the President to "bomb before breakfast" any country on Mr. Will's bad list.

From the time when George and I had our weekly lunches at the Monocle on Capitol Hill, in 1967, I have admired his virtuosity in the printed and spoken word. There was a time, when he was at his peak, that he could think of better means of disposing of an intellectual adversary than calling him "crackpot." With a bit of exercise, he may be able to regain that felicity. I hope so.


Jude Wanniski