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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 15, 2008 at 4:28 PM

The race for the White House

AP Photo/U.S. Dept of Justice

This frame grab provided by the U.S. Department of Justice shows Osama bin Laden in a CNN interview in 1997.

What about bin Laden?

Noteworthy by its near absence from the presidential candidates’ debates has been the full panoply of rhetoric that has surrounded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” since its inception.

Of course, foreign policy in general will always constitute, in some measure, an obligatory subject of discussion for high-level U.S. politicians. But aside from vague declarations about “resolve” and some scattershot statements covering the Middle East, U.S.-Russian tensions and nuclear proliferation, for the two presidential candidates it’s obvious that economics trumps everything else.

Osama bin Laden continues to occupy his dank South Asian cave, and is still issuing threats, but the U.S. public is most concerned about the bottomless pit of Wall Street right now. As of mid-October, the real and alleged perils of Islamic extremism seem as remote from Americans’ everyday concerns as demon rum and the Stamp Act.

It is a monumental change in the political paradigm.

No doubt President Bush can’t believe how swiftly the public relations rug was pulled out from under him.

We shall soon see how his successor handles the mess that is “high finance.”

— Frank Goheen, Camas

Two sentences

Obama is Biden his time.

McCain is Palin comparison.

–Beverlie Duff, Kent

Don’t vote for the sellouts

While justifiably condemning Sen. John McCain for his fear mongering, E.J. Dionne Jr. believes that Americans should place their trust in Sen. Barack Obama because he offers hope [“Hope is the antidote to economic fear,” syndicated columnist, Oct. 10].

Unfortunately, the working-class American was not offered much hope when Obama decided to cast his vote for Wall Street instead of Main Street.

To add insult to injury, the senator also lobbied hard to get his fellow Democrats to follow his example.

Dionne mentions the high cost of health insurance Americans are faced with today but ignores the fact that under Obama’s plan, American families would be forced to pay for their children’s insurance, regardless of whether they can afford it or not.

A third-party candidate like Ralph Nader recognizes the efficacy of a single-payer health-care plan but Dionne, like so many pundits, apparently refuses to acknowledge that there are other candidates running for president besides a Democrat and a Republican, candidates who have not sold out to the corporate interests like Obama and McCain have.

— Clifford J. Hutchins, Rochester

No ditsy-bob winkers, please

Do we really want as vice president, or potentially as president, Gov. Sarah Palin, a ditsy-bob winker with a hockey-mom, joe-six-pack mentality, who evidently did not get enough adulation during her pageant days and today uses sex appeal to get what she wants. Do we really want a president whose judgment is so flawed that he would foist on the American people a person like Palin as a potential successor?

Furthermore, do we really want a president whose temperament is one of impatience and bluster, who thinks the answer to all world problems is more troops and more bombs, for however long it takes?

Sen. John McCain has clearly demonstrated his lack of finesse with rash answers and actions that show little concern for what he said two weeks ago, much less an understanding of more distant history.

I have been mostly a Republican for 50 years and have, I’m sorry to say, voted for what have turned out to be some scoundrels and miscreants.

But this year, McCain is too much. He has sold his soul.

I cannot understand how sensible people can endorse this man for the highest office in the land.

Being a [prisoner of war] survivor does not entitle him to be elected. How can one serve with integrity if one has to lie and cajole his way into office?

This year I am voting for Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joseph Biden, a pair of thoughtful, deliberative and mature politicians. Given the financial mess that they will inherit, they may not accomplish all they hope to, but I hope they will at least restore some credibility, dignity and international respect to the White House and America.

— Rand Hillier, Poulsbo

Mourning in America

A friend of mine suggested to a mutual Republican acquaintance of ours to accept the inevitability of a Sen. Barack Obama presidency.

He said, “Relax. The sun will still rise on November 4th.”

He then proposed that Republicans and Democrats should now be able to return to a more bipartisan, civil coexistence.

I have a different theory:

The strain between the parties is as bad as any time during my lifetime.

From the perspective of a Democrat, this is mainly due to the divisive tactics of [the late Republican National Chairman] Lee Atwater, [Republican political strategist] Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush.

I have to presume that from the Republican perspective, there are others to blame, including [former President Bill and Sen. Hillary Rodham] Clinton, [Speaker of the House] Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid and others. However we got here, we are living in extremely divisive times.

And the worse things get for Republicans, the more President Bush proves to be an utter failure as president, the more angry Democrats have become. The angrier we get, the more vicious we are toward Bush and by extension Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin. Furthermore, the more embarrassed Republicans are, the angrier they become. They can only take this abuse for so long.

Now, it seems, many Republicans want Obama to fail as badly as Bush has. They are seething over all of the abuse the Democrats have meted-out over the past six years or so.

The Republicans in Congress seem bound to do all they can to put roadblocks in the way of any Democratic initiatives.

Why? Consider what Republicans have to look forward to.

Imagine an Obama presidency with all of the newly acquired power of the presidency. Consider the possibility of an Obama presidency continuing the trend toward Cheney’s unitary executive doctrine.

Perhaps the most powerful example of increased presidential power within the unitary executive doctrine is the use of signing statements that allow the president to choose which laws to obey and ignore. Next, imagine the prospect of a filibuster-proof senate. Picture two or three liberal Supreme Court appointments.

Finally, look at the demographic changes that are rapidly resulting in a growing democratic voting populace.

The Republican sun will not rise for a long, long time.

For Republicans, it is now “mourning in America.”

— Noel Dieterich, Kirkland

Respect what you seek

Sen. John McCain and Gov Sarah Palin proclaim they are the true Americans, and urge us to believe Sen. Barack Obama is “not one of us” and that he consorts with terrorists. They declare themselves the true patriots.

When they incite crowds with this claim and when they use their campaign money to fan hatred, they undermine our fundamental values. They disrespect the offices they seek.

Our country’s seal says: “E Pluribus Unum.” It is Latin and means “Out of Many, One.” It stands for a way of life that embraces all who live here, and calls us to come together to create a country that works for us all.

In this time of crisis, we have a very serious choice to make. I choose E Pluribus Unum. I ask you to do the same. And I ask you to respect the office of president and vice president of the U. S. and hold candidates to the highest standard when you vote this November.

–Anne Stadler, Lake Forest Park

Blue and blind

I just don’t get it.

People like Danny Westneat still seem to make this look like a race between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Barack Obama not Sen. John McCain and Obama [“The female vote,” page one column, Oct. 15].

Sure Palin could potentially become president — so could Sen. Joe Biden.

However, I’m so baffled that the female population and people in general don’t see she has equal or better experience than Obama in many areas.

Being the governor of Alaska is a top-level executive job. A senator is not a top-level executive position.

Executives and governors have total responsibility for direct control of budgets, hiring and firing of employees, mandating, leading and enforcing real changes for their state or company. As a senator, you can only introduce, influence and vote on your plans/suggestions.

Senators have no real, direct authority to do anything; they are representatives of a larger group.

The general population still doesn’t understand that a governor outranks a senator by a considerable margin when it comes to real executive-level experience.

We appear to not only be a blue state, but also a blind state.

— Jake Justice, Everett

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