Jack Ohman

A cordial exchange of views regarding letters and e-mails...

One of the things that I truly enjoy is the wide variety and creativity of correspondents regarding my work.

Thus far, here in my new gig at The Sacramento Bee, I have gotten mostly positive correspondence. I also try to respond to any politely-worded missive, positive or negative. "Politely-worded" would mean that my life wasn't directly threatened, and there were none of George Carlin's Seven Words You Can't Say on Television.

Naturally, whenever I do something on guns, I hear from faithful Bee readers, and these letters have been pointed. Most have been civil. None have demanded a duel at dawn. Yet.

For example, in response to my Adam Lanza cartoon of a few days ago, a reader in Virginia canceled his Washington Post subscription because the cartoon ran in that newspaper.

At least he wasn't in a position to cancel The Bee.

Last Sunday, I did a cartoon about the City of Stockton's bankruptcy trial, and Wall Street's rather complicated relationship with the events currently transpiring there. One response that I got came from a gentleman in the state of New York. Being syndicated, I hear from people all over the country, but I was surprised by this one, as it was commenting on a local cartoon that wasn't syndicated.

The e-mail read thusly, in full:

"You really don't know what you're talking about, do you?"

The e-mail wasn't signed, exactly, and there was no hearty or even half-hearted salutation and close. I don't need anyone to write "Yours Very Respectfully," or "Your Faithful Obedient Servant." Just something. I almost always close with "Cordially." I do this because National Review founder William F. Buckley used to do this, and I just like the way it sounds. What I think it means is this: "Hey, look. I know you don't agree with me, but we all have human DNA here, so let's be ladies and gentlemen and play nice."

Anyway, the man's name was on the e-mail, along with his e-mail address. So I Googled it. Usually I don't, but we all do this from time to time. Since he was from the state of New York, I was kind of curious why he would be commenting on a local cartoon about Stockton, California.

To protect his privacy, I won't use his name, of course. He just wanted to insult me personally, so I roll with it. However, when I Googled him, I found something interesting. One was that he's involved professionally in the financial services industry. 

Another was that he had made public predictions about the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in a forum in National Review Online.


Well, of course, I had out find out whether or not Mr. Knows What He's Talking About knew what he was talking about. You know. For academic reasons.

So I go into the very long thread where Mr. KWHTA published his Knows What He's Talking About predictions.

Here they are:

"BUSH 51-GORE 43."

A quick check of the returns shows that, in fact, Gore got 48.3 percent of the vote, and Bush got 47.9 percent.

"LAZIO 50-HILLARY 49.99."

Another easily checked fact. Apparently, Hillary got 55.37 percent of the vote against Rep. Rick Lazio in her Senate bid. Lazio got 43.1 percent.

So far, Mr. KWHTA is zero for two.

"SENATE +10." Ahem. Actually, it was 50-50. A net pick-up of four for the Democrats. 

Zero for three.

"HOUSE + 20." Nate Silver was probably in college at the time in 2000, but my amazing numeric and computer Nate Silveresque brain was able to discover that the final number was that the Republicans got 221 seats, and the Democrats got 212 seats. 

That's Oh fer Four.

So, I wrote Mr. KWHTA back, observing that he had made those predictions, and I provided the correct outcomes as a personal favor. No commentary attached. 

I signed it, "Cordially, Jack."

No response yet from Mr. KWHTA in the very important financial center of New York. After all, I'm just a rube living out here in California.

I miss William F. Buckley.

Cordially, Jack.