In a political season where government fiscal responsibility has received short shrift, the presumptive presidential nominees of both parties would do well to heed the mantra of the Blue Dog Democrats articulated in "Attacking the Deficit" [June 23-30].
Although both Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are targeting the support of the so-called Reagan Democrats, neither senator is making fiscal conservatism a cornerstone of their platform, offering instead only political rhetoric about the cost of continued war (Obama) or the cost of domestic programs America cannot afford (McCain). A Blue Dog Democrat, congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas is quoted in the article stating "We believe that the majority of the American people today are in the middle." These voters in the middle, comprised of Reagan Democrats and others with conservative stances on national security, federal spending, and illegal immigration, often cross party lines to vote for the candidate who best reflects their viewpoints. Despite the fact that Obama and McCain make almost no mention of America's $9.4 trillion national debt and offer little in the way of specific plans to significantly reduce it, Obama should at the very least consider a running mate who subscribes to Blue Dog Democrat philosophy. It is this philosophy, or at least much of it, that transcends party affiliation and will likely be a crucial deciding factor in who becomes our next President.
More power to the Blue Dog Group. Even though they are democrats, who could disagree with their intentions? However, I've always had a problem with identifying each citizen's share of the national debt. Since Congress spends the money, I suggest that a more realistic definition of the national debt is $17.57 billion for each representative and senator.
Stephen L. Chapman
It seems grossly shameful that out of several hundred politicians in Congress, only a tiny fraction are willing to risk their political necks by publicly coming out for "fiscal responsibility." Unfortunately, as Michael Barone says in "In Defense of Lobbyists" [June 23-30], that's the way it's always been, since before the beginning; and always will be—until beyond the end.
Richard S. Schmidt