'You're headstrong," began a recent e-mail to me. I hoped it meant that I comment with conviction. Or that I'm intelligent.
Perhaps it was a statement about my shaved head. More likely, I suspect it had something to do with my ego. Soon, you can decide for yourself.
I'm one of the new guys around here. A frequent critic of the very page I have now been asked to join. "Too predictably liberal too often" has been my chief complaint.
This is not to say The Inquirer has brought aboard a Kool-Aid drinker. I may get the daily GOP talking points, but I rarely parrot them. In 26 years of uninterrupted voting, I've never pulled a straight party lever, and I'm not about to start.
Let me spare you some Googling. I'm about to offer you a primer on the world according to me. I call it my Suburban Manifesto. You'll quickly see that my words require no interpretation. I've never had the gift of entertaining and educating while leaving readers in suspense. With me it's down and dirty. So let's get started.
I believe so strongly in the need to profile Islamic terrorists that I wrote a book on the subject and donated the proceeds to charity.
I hate political correctness and think that it saps the rugged individualism that has been the hallmark of our nation. P.C. represents a cancer that has now metastasized into the war on terror, where it threatens our very survival. I have written a book about that, too.
I recently traveled to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and elsewhere within the embrace of Cent-Com - and I came home concerned that our military has given up the intense manhunt for Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri for fear of ruffling feathers in Pakistan.
I'm for torturing terrorists who possess information. To those who say, "Torture doesn't work," I ask: Then why do our best interrogators continually seek to use it as a technique?
For two years, I've called for a timetable for exiting Iraq so as to light a fire under the asses of those (i.e., the Iraqis) who need to determine their own fates. I'm offended by the expression cut and run and think that if anything is unpatriotic, it's not affording our soldiers an explanation of how their mission will end.
I think our borders are porous and need to be closed. Only when they are sealed should we make decisions as to what to do with the millions who are already here illegally.
I have a wife and four children, but do not believe that homosexuals threaten my union. Heterosexual marriages have their own troubles, having nothing to do with whether we let same-sex couples formalize their relationships.
I wish there were a political party with room in its tent for pro-life and pro-choice views. I think the contraceptive drug Plan B should be sold over the counter to individuals 18 and older. And I surely don't want politicians determining my end-of-life plan.
I'm for embryonic stem-cell research. I don't equate a group of cells in a Petri dish with a viable fetus, and I wonder why, if folks are so concerned about the destruction of such "life," they don't seek to ban the discarding of excess embryos at fertility clinics.
Speaking of life, I am willing to pull the switch personally on Mumia.
I question whether many of our professional politicians could earn a living on the outside - and I'd like to find out. Two terms in the Senate and six in the House should be the max.
Campaign-finance reform is a contradiction in terms. I say we let anyone spend whatever they can raise to affect the outcome of a race, as long as there is full and immediate disclosure, and voters can react accordingly.
I fear that entitlements will economically cripple my kids. Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements make up more than half of our federal spending, and the number of people receiving them is growing. Time to confront AARP: The retirement age in this country needs to be raised to 70.
Balanced budget should not be two dirty words.
Death taxes are un-American. Why, when we check out, should Uncle Sam be standing there with his hand out to tax our earnings for the second time? The estate tax must end.
I think the planet is getting warmer. I don't know how much of that is due to humans, or what we can do about it, but given the stakes, I think we should err on the side of taking precautions.
I believe guns are a symptom, not a cause of our problems. Single-parent households pose more of a threat to safety than firearms.
More to come. Label me at your peril. For now, I'll stick with headstrong.
Follow Michael Smerconish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/smerconish