Thunder Out of
A burden of proof met
Reviewed by Steven Martinovich
The mantra in science circles is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Chuck Morse's claim is that he is the most controversial commentator in America, an extraordinary one given people like G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, Don Imus and even Rush Limbaugh could claim that crown. Morse will be familiar to readers of Enter Stage Right as a senior writer and regular contributor. Based out of very liberal Boston and a self-described "politically conservative Jew," he also holds court every weeknight with a nationally syndicated talk show on the American Freedom Network.
To his credit, Morse marshals some strong evidence for his claim in a book of his collected work, "Thunder Out of Boston: Collected Columns of Chuck Morse," many of which have appeared in this magazine and others on the World Wide Web. Touching on subjects as wide-ranging as the Second Amendment to world government, why Bill Clinton shouldn't have been impeached - you read that right - to why Jesus Christ wasn't a communist, Morse pulls absolutely no punches. With a ruthless efficiency, Morse systematically takes on the sacred cows and deeds of liberalism one by one.
On the impeachment: while the "web of deceit and swirling around Clinton will forever remain a loathsome and despicable debacle," Morse states that the "impeachment has stained and cheapened the letter and spirit of impeachment in the Constitution. The charges did not include treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors." Rather, he writes, presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson should have been hauled before Congress for actions they undertook.
Morse also trains his considerable guns on American policies both past and present, blasting in equal measure radical elements in the militia movement, the jihad against National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston, the cultural denigration The Beatles were responsible for, the role America played in installing Fidel Castro ("Fidel - Our Man in Havana" as Morse refers to him), and sex education, among others. There are few hot buttons that Morse fails to bash in the fifty essays that comprise the collection. While some of the issues presented in Thunder Out of Boston are no longer front-page items, Morse's take on them are interesting enough to warrant a second look.
If Morse has a failing it's that he sometimes comes across repetitive in both tone and words - leaving him open to the charge that he takes shortcuts instead of carefully building up his case. Repeatedly referring to your ideological enemies as communists may play well with John Birchers, but Morse a better writer than that and should avoid what could be construed as name-calling. Thunder Out of Boston also could have used some more editing with several essays suffering from typos.
As a case for Morse's claim, Thunder Out of Boston is difficult to ignore. Some conservative commentators have been moving towards the center in recent years, perhaps in a bid to prove they can extend their popularity beyond the stereotypical angry white male, and becoming less interesting in the process. It would be difficult to accuse Morse of a similar charge, either in print or on the air. Given how prolific he's been recently, don't be surprised to see a second edition that will prove becoming soft is a sin that Morse won't commit any time soon.
Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer and the editor of Enter Stage
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