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White House Hotheads

"A review of years of articles reveals a formidable thinker with a powerful sense of what he considers right and wrong. As Zinsmeister sees it, racial profiling by the police makes sense; the military, if anything, treats terrorist suspects too gently; and casual sex has led to wrecked cities, violence and 'endless human misery.' In a 'soft, often amoral, and self-indulgent age,' he warned, some children 'will be ruined without a whip hand,' and he assured that 'things generally go better with God.' . . .

"For Zinsmeister, provocation has been his stock in trade."

Yesterday, another interview with Zinsmeister emerged, adding to a portrait of a firebrand with an outright contempt for both the upper and lower classes of American society. And his contempt for the lower class, in particular, seems intertwined with his passionate interest in sex as a social issue.

In an interview with Ben Wattenberg on PBS's "Think Tank" show, taped before Zinsmeister was named to his high-level White House post, Zinsmeister also acknowledges that he "used to be a Marxist," but now, "if I had to put myself in any label I'd say I'm a militant middle American advocate."

Zinsmeister tells Wattenberg that "family breakdown . . . is the root not only of our poverty problem; it's the root of our crime problem, the root of our drug problem; it's the root of many of our social pathologies."

And he traces the family breakdown, at least in part, to one of his favorite topics: Sex. (Also see his April 2006 article on the topic.)

About sex, he tells Wattenberg: "It's something -- it's intense; it's fire. It drives people to insanity. . . . People fall in love with prostitutes. People kill prostitutes. All kinds of things happen in the heat of sexual passion, so my point is because it's fire it needs to be governed and treated with respect and treated carefully."

And, he says: "An awful lot of what we've been talking about earlier in this show, you know, family structure and crime rates and poverty levels grow directly out of sexual choices."

Just after Bush appointed Zinsmeister to his post, Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun reported that Zinsmeister had altered his own quotes in a Syracuse New Times profile of him, when he re-posted it on his own magazine's Web site.

One of the key quotes Zinsmeister changed was this one: "People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings."

Here's the "Zinsmeistered" version: "I learned in Washington that there is an 'overclass' in this country stocked with cheating, shifty human beings that's just as morally repugnant as our 'underclass.' "

But the second version may be an even more shocking and inappropriate thing for the White House's chief domestic policy advisor to say.

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