Its Our Choice
To the editor,
America has a choice to make between two candidates of stark difference. One is an intellect, capable, thoughtful and reasoned as our next President will need to be in order to steer this great nation through the reefs which the current administration has nearly run us up on. He is a man of ideas, not an ideologue. He is a uniter who is full of optimism, a realist who recognizes the dangers but remains pragmatic, disciplined and calm, and a man of principal who will engage in discourse before committing this nation to the military solutions which should be our last resort.
Senator Obama has the energy, vigor, and stamina necessary to be President as well as a running mate, Joe Biden, who has the tools necessary to step in if necessary. The democratic nominee is a wonderful example of a person who has worked very hard to achieve all that he has in such a short time, and an example of values derived from a mother and grandmother who recognized opportunity and instilled the belief in this candidate that success is possible, and success and fulfillment are most fully derived by ones service to others.
Despite the challenges of our times, Barack Obama is the candidate of hope. He is the candidate of inclusion and vision, as well as the one who instills confidence because of his temperament, as well as his grasp of the issues. This is a crucial point in our history which demands leadership capable of responding in a way that will improve Americas position in the world community, benefit those who have been left behind because of trickle down economic policies, and recognizes the realities of the sacrifice which is necessary that will improve our prospects for the future.
To the editor,
An Open Letter to Congressional Candidates:
This is a plea that you examine what you may think is the obvious, the purpose in holding these high offices. That you do so is necessary to address what I and others have come to believe is the most significant issue facing our nation: The ineffectiveness of Congress.
It was not until the 2006 campaign that I became politically active. Like so many others, I was motivated by my outrage at the abuse of power by the Bush administration. I joined my local Democratic Committee and the local chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America. And I joined with local activists to lobby our Representatives.
However, the inertia of Congress after the 2006 election has focused my attention on what appears to be this weak and noncommittal branch of government, and how consequential it is that we remedy this condition.
Over the last two years I have learned that repairing the damage caused by an out of control executive branch will be a long, difficult process. It will require campaigns that inspire the electorate to embrace the basic principles of American self-government and the election of new progressive members of Congress.
The importance of this issue was best described recently by former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution on September 16.
Let me be both candid and clear: the current greatest threat to our system of separated powers and the protections it affords stems not just from executive overreaching but equally from the Congress. Americas founders envisioned a system in which each of the branches of government would guard its prerogatives and meet its obligations, each acting to serve the nation through the empowerment the Constitution grants and to protect our liberties through the constraints the Constitution imposes. . . .
Here is the challenge, stated as candidly as I can state it. Each year the presidency grows farther beyond the bounds the Constitution permits; each year the Congress fades farther into irrelevance. As it does, the voice of the people is silenced.
Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations, retired Army Colonel, and author of the new book The Limits of Power, explains that not only has the Bush administration been grabbing power, but at the same time Congress has been pushing its own power onto the President. Members of Congress have been abdicating their responsibility.
There should be no question that the purpose of Congress is to govern the nation on behalf of the people. Nevertheless, most members do not act as though this is the purpose of their office. For example, the Speaker of the House effectively surrenders the power of impeachment; House members fail to act to stop or slow down prosecution of the Iraq war after their voters clearly voiced that intention; and members of Congress surrender the power to write healthcare laws to the pharmaceutical companies.
Such actions, or more accurately, such malfunction, coincides with the significant statistic that we re-elect House members at a 98 percent re-election rate. Yet these experienced men and women remain exceedingly ineffective at governing the country.
What does the nation gain if we continually strive for political party power in Congress at the expense of what is best for the country as a whole? Questions of war and peace are surrendered to the President. Tax dollars are appropriated for short-sighted projects. Many major issues are simply avoided as too hot to handle, until they become impending disasters.
Congress is by no means solely to blame for this problem. Myself and our fellow citizens are equally at fault, if not more so. We are in the heat of a national election; desperately seeking that political messiah, that one person, that president, who can shoulder the entire burden of governing. The list of critical issues we expect the next president to handle is staggering. But the more we go looking for this super human, we increasingly lose sight of the power and responsibility our founding fathers left to us to govern ourselves.
If we continue on this course, a frail Congress will grow weaker, and our fragile Constitution will shatter. A concerted effort must be made now to help Congress restore to itself its assigned role as the principal representative of the people.
Candidates for Congress are essential to the work of educating the American people about this fundamental weakness in government and, when elected, you must not shirk your responsibility to fix it.
As former Congressman Mickey Edwards warned in his testimony before the Senate Committee:
Do not let it be said that what the Founders created, you have destroyed. Do not let it be said that on your watch, the Constitution of the United States became not the law of the land but a suggestion.
Are Your Richer Than You Were 4 Years Ago?
To the editor,
It is said Americans dont want to tax the rich because they hope to be rich themselves someday. But the financial plans of Barack Obama are not raging socialism. He does propose a return to the more balanced policies of the past, specifically of the Clinton years, when economic growth was strong. Generally, analysis shows the economy fares better under Democratic presidents than under Republicans: investments in the S&P 500 do better and incomes show greater improvement. The trickle-down theory has been refuted by the historical record.
Of course, tax policy isnt the only issue here. The dismal performance of the Bush administration has many causes: deregulation and loose oversight; an energy policy in service of the oil companies with no attention to the implications for the environment and the potential of green jobs; lack of respect for science; and an education policy that focuses on testing. Unfortunately, John McCain has embraced the policies of George Bush. He may be promising to change some of his positions, but why take the chance? Rich people, and people who
want to do well and have your children do well: the Obama/Biden ticket is the one for you.
Washington, D.C .
Who Should Answer the Call?
To the editor,
Im an American voter who lives overseas and a 1954 graduate of Roanoke College.
Just a comment on John McCains candidacy for President of the United States. Even though hes a maverick, hes closer to the Bush administrations record than Barak Obama ever could be. And besides, I think that Barak Obama has a much stronger personality to lead and unite this country as well. It really all depends on whether you want experience or fresh eyes with probably a Democratic Congress to produce the changes that we all need. What youll have though with McCain is another very conservative administration with a financial crisis on its hands that occurred at the end of another Republican administration. And, even though John McCain might be sincere and honest, Im not so sure about the people who surround him.
Another thought: Russia is now tending to flex its military muscles because we are in the midst of two wars, one of which might have been won, if we were not in Iraq. Therefore, this tends to weaken our military posture, allowing Russia to exhibit its military might in Georgia and perhaps in other places around the world as well.
And looking at the vice presidential choices that each candidate made, which is an indication of what kind of choices each candidate would make as President, I feel that Obama made the perfect choice in choosing Joe Biden in that he could complement Obamas candidacy tremendously with so much foreign policy experience, whereas McCain chose a very conservative unknown who has limited executive experience within a much smaller economy.
Corbin M. Wright