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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The Republican Party

Throwing stones in glass houses

Why are the Republicans in such a tizzy about Sen. Arlen Specter becoming a Democrat? [“Specter’s journey back to Democrats,” News, May 3]

They thought it was great when Ronald Reagan, at one time a Democrat, became a Republican. However, when a change of party occurs in the opposite direction, they think it is shameful.

The Republicans have a great knack for viewing things differently depending on who does them. For example, drug abusers are terrible — except when Rush Limbaugh gets busted, in which case he should be excused. Or the government should stay out of our lives — except it is admirable when the Republican president authorizes spying on our citizens. Or they advocate bipartisanship when the president and Congress are Republican, but are surly opponents when the Democrats are in power. And Supreme Court justices with strong opinions are praised when they are conservative, but are called “activist” if they don’t conform to Republican thinking.

The Republican politicians need to stop having one set of standards for themselves and another for the rest of the country.

— Trygve Anderson, Everett

Believe in evolution — it’s happening to you

A certain portion of the Republican base — the fundamentalist Christians — have been unwavering in their support because they thought the party best represented their ideological interests. Besides the big-ticket issue of abortion, this group has also goose-stepped along in obstinate, willful ignorance of one of modern science’s most fascinating and compelling stories: evolution.

Reading the May 3 Seattle Times, I realized something that will surely horrify this portion of the Republican base: The Republican Party itself is evolving!

Jack Kemp, a prime proponent behind 30 years of neoconservative economic policies that have brought us to ruin (with abundant Democratic support, to be sure), is dead [“Jack Kemp, statesman and athlete,” News].

Sen. Arlen Specter, who hoped he could bring reason and moderation to a machine that only turns right, finally recognized the futility of his efforts and returned to the Democrats [“Specter’s journey back to Democrats,” News].

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor stumble about, afraid to say “Republican” or anything else that will reinforce their “sagging image” [“GOP starts town halls to connect to voters,” News].

And Charles Krauthammer, clueless regarding the effect of his increasingly asinine diatribes on the public’s perception of his party, unabashedly defends torture, like some idiot parrot sitting on Dick Cheney’s shoulder [“Sometimes you do what you have to do — even torture”]. Likewise, Fox News and its pundits look increasingly like a flock of dodos.

How is this evolution? When external conditions change, an organization (be it an organism, a newspaper or a political party) may or may not be able to adapt. When external change is substantial, those organizations that cannot adapt may die or even face extinction.

Forgive me for oversimplifying evolution, but doesn’t it appear that we are witnessing a failure to adapt? Without adapting its increasingly ineffective strategies (deregulation and tax cuts: good; bipartisanship: bad) and inherently repulsive messages (war and torture: good; health care and education: bad), will the Republican Party still be viable in 2010?

Sometimes, extinction is something to look forward to!

— Ed Leach, Seattle

Focus on the real issues

Columnist David Sirota points out the real issue before Congress and the president: It is whether the Democrats follow traditional Democratic principles or, like Republicans, obey their corporate masters [“Democrats should be wary of their ‘magic bullet,’ ” Opinion, May 4].

Most TV newspeople, minding their corporate masters, continue to focus on the Republican naysayers who have nothing to contribute to the real issues facing our nation. Shall we rein in the rogue bankers who have led our economy into ruin? Shall we hold the previous administration to account for the manifold crimes they appear to have committed? Shall we have single-payer health care for all, or a watered-down bailout for insurance companies? Shall our military stay mired in the Near East or shall we find a new way of relating to Muslims and others? Shall we find a way to energy independence — soon? Shall we begin to protect our environment — now?

It seems obvious that Republicans have nothing to contribute in answering those questions and too many newspeople seem uninterested in pursuing the crucial issues of our time. It is time for citizens to demand coverage of the real issues.

— Robert M. Stevenson, Port Townsend

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