The Richmond Register


September 3, 2013

Good Roger vs. Bad Roger on Syria

WASHINGTON — “We will smite Syria swiftly but prudently,” Good Roger said. “Ferociously but cautiously. With abandon but with restraint. And if our red line is crossed again, we have crimson, magenta and puce lines to back them up.”

“Have you been sniffing the printer toner again?” Bad Roger asked. “You are beginning to sound like a foreign policy wonk.”

“We must stop the needless, senseless, indefensible murder of children,” Good Roger said. “The United States must act to stop the slaughter of the innocent.”

“You’re talking about that 1-year-old boy shot to death in his stroller in Brooklyn on Sunday night, right?” Bad Roger said. “I totally agree the United States should stop such slaughter.”

“I am talking about Syria!” Good Roger shouted. “We must protect the children of Syria.”

“Totally agree,” Bad Roger said. “But the 197 children age 12 or younger who are shot to death every year on average in America each year are worth protecting, too, aren’t they? Maybe our government ought to do something about them.”

“The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to shoot other Americans!” Good Roger said, a vein pulsing in his forehead. “But Syria doesn’t have the Second Amendment. So we can kill Syrians to keep them from killing other Syrians!”

“I see you have been watching cable news again,” Bad Roger said, “because your logic has become impeccable.”

Good Roger is the decent, sincere, well-meaning side of me. Nobody much likes him. Bad Roger is the snarky, sarcastic, cynical side of me. People often buy him drinks.

Good Roger starting madly leafing through his book of quotations for a devastatingly apt response to Bad Roger. Good Roger has kept the book ever since he heard that George Will never goes on TV without deft and witty quotations written on his shirt sleeves.

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” Good Roger said. “Also: Bounces off rubber and sticks to glue.”

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action,” Bad Roger said.

“Is that a quotation?” Good Roger asked.

“Yes, from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,” Bad Roger said.

“Is he an American?” Good Roger asked.

“No, a foreigner, so you can bomb him with impunity,” Bad Roger said. “He also has been dead for 181 years.”

“Excellent,” Good Roger said. “That will make him an easier target.”

“Can we stop talking about this?” Bad Roger said. “There is a ‘Duck Dynasty’ marathon on A&E that I don’t want to miss.”

“I am not done quoting,” Good Roger said. “’Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Teddy Roosevelt said that 112 years ago this week.”

“But he didn’t say take your big stick to Congress, where it can be whittled down to 535 little sticks with pointy heads to match the pointy heads of our legislators,” Bad Roger said.

“Congress is a cornerstone of democracy!” Good Roger said.

“Congress is an anvil around the neck of democracy,” said Bad Roger. “It has a lower approval rating than bad breath. And President Obama decides to turn over his foreign policy to Congress for its approval? Pure folly.”

“Au contraire,” Good Roger retorted, believing that using French proves you are an intellectual. “If Congress refuses to back the president’s attack on Syria, Congress will get the blame.”

“In Libya, Obama led from behind,” Bad Roger said. “In Syria, Obama is letting a bunch of behinds lead him.”

“A leader must have the support of his people,” Good Roger said. “President Obama grew very worried when the British Parliament refused to back an attack on Syria.”

“If George Washington had worried about what the British Parliament wanted, we all would be driving on the left side of the road today,” Bad Roger said. “And have bad teeth.”

“There is no talking to you,” Good Roger said. “Besides, ‘The Ed Show’ is coming on, and I have to get ready to take notes.”

“This decision to go to Congress has badly split this administration,” said Bad Roger. “I saw John Kerry the other day, and I said, ‘Why the long face?’”

“You can’t say a thing like that!” Good Roger sputtered.

“I can say anything,” Bad Roger said. “I’m Bad Roger.”

Roger Simon is Politico’s chief political columnist. His new e-book, “Reckoning: Campaign 2012 and the Fight for the Soul of America,” can be found on, and iTunes. To find out more about Roger Simon and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at


Text Only
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort

    Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery

    Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
    We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.

    February 20, 2014 1 Photo