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October 25, 2010
While some of the main ideas of the Tea Party do make sense, the problem is the people who are running with its endorsement. Do we really want someone who wears a Nazi uniform to be an elected official in this country? Delaware has a former self-proclaimed witch running for office! So I think the answer is that the Tea Party must be more selective of who it endorses and maybe its candidates would be “electable” not “laughable.”
STEVEN RIBACK Monroe Township, N.J.
We conservatives have been lectured from the liberal and progressive side for years about how stupid we are and how we just don’t understand. And now you are calling us elitist? Your hypocrisy is astounding.
ERIC CLANTON Piedmont, Ala.
More empty rhetoric. In a nutshell, that’s all the Tea Partyers provide: anger, platitudes, religious zealotry, intolerance, and buckets of ignorance—and Michele Bachmann has all of those qualities in spades. What’s interesting is that the only significant parallel in her entire diatribe is that of the Civil War, with the North being a progressive nation of reasonable thinkers and intellectuals and the South being an angry, ignorant mob. Sound familiar?
ALEX AVEDIKIAN Chaska, Minn.
[Thomas Whalen] is correct that the Tea Party people—much like the disaffected who followed Ross Perot a few years back—are elitists because they espouse the view that they, and only they, have the secrets to fix the nation. But drill down to the level of specificity necessary to govern, and what you see is that they have no plan, no new ideas. They just want to turn back the clock and pretend Obama wasn’t elected. They long for the good old days of backward-thinking Texans in the White House. Never mind that Mr. Bush spent us into this near-Depression with wars he could not win and should not have fought. Never mind that Bush took a surplus from Clinton and turned it into the biggest deficit ever. Never mind that the real stimulus and bailout packages were Republican ideas. The Tea Partyers forget this because truth is not what matters, it’s just about feeling good about America again. To them I say, “Grow up."
ANTHONY DeWITT Jefferson City, Mo.
I don’t know if the Tea Party is good for the GOP or not, but both of your commentators had me shaking my head—and in both cases it wasn’t up and down.
NICK RUDAWSKI Exton, Pa.
So [Whalen] thinks he’s right that people who think they’re right are elitists. How silly. Really, he’s just trying to redefine “elitist” to fit his misconception of the Tea Party. Elitists are people who think they know best how to run everyone else’s life because of their place in society or academia, or whatever. The whole point of the Tea Party is to let people run their own lives.
TOM TOZER Chicago
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October 18, 2010
Attacking the ‘Elites’ in Politics
In addressing supposed “attacks on elites,” Robert Schlesinger, perhaps intentionally, misses the point [“Lay Off the Attacks on Elites,” October 1]. The problem elites are those who don’t understand everyday Americans and have an I-know-what’s-best-for-everyone belief. Note that one conservative “professorial elite” hero was William Buckley Jr. I had to get out my dictionary every time I heard him speak.
JACK JAMES Vilas, N.C.
Only eggheads who really think have any place in politics.
RICHARD GIBSON Naples, Fla.
The term “egghead” should be met with derision—and logic. Honorable, intelligent people should be respected and elected by us to lead intelligently.
ROBERT GOLDISH Duluth, Minn.
The Limits of Free Speech
While we all enjoy the benefit of the First Amendment, it does not give anyone the right to disrupt the private lives of others [Editor’s Note, October 8]. The demonstration by these church members against the military at a private family funeral infringes on their lives and their right to “pursue happiness.” The pursuit of happiness might apply here, as the family and friends of the slain soldier are looking to ease their pain through private prayer.
STEVEN RIBACK Monroe Township, N.J.
The grieving family should have a right to privacy. I don’t understand why it would be unconstitutional to enforce this privacy when requested.
JACK STONE Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
As awful as it is for protesters to belittle dead soldiers, free speech is free speech. I would think property owners have the right to decide who can or cannot enter their grounds.
JIM BRITT, pastor, Norway, Mich.
Freedom of speech does not mean you can incite a riot. Right to bear arms does not mean you can have a nuke in your bedroom. Freedom of religion does not mean you can put “In God We Trust” on our money, when we do not all agree there is only one god (hmm, maybe it does?). To cover all bases, our motto should be: “If There Is a God, In God(s) We Trust—but We Still Want the Largest Military in the World Because God Does Not Always Answer Our Prayers and We Tend to Piss Off a Lot of People.” These freedoms were intended to protect folks from the government, not from other folks. Also, a corporation is not a folk. Corporations only have the rights given to them by the applicable state charter, which should not include any activity in politics. Can IBM run for president? It is over 35 years old and was born in America.
GEORGE DILL Escondido, Calif.
I don’t know why those horrible funeral protests don’t fall under the category of hate crimes. There are so many other laws about other kinds of harassment—racial, sexual, gender, handicap access, etc.—that it doesn’t seem like a big leap to include these despicable protests.
BOB STEPHAN Pebble Beach, Calif.
Freedom of speech is exactly that. But, like the proverbial yelling of “Fire!” in a crowded theater, when and where one’s right to say anything can be restricted. A fair solution would be for the court to find that funeral protests and rallies can take place, but not within sight or sound of the funeral or family members.
JIM ALSTON New Braunfels, Texas
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October 12, 2010
Michael Waldman of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice argued against the Supreme Court ruling because it warps policymaking; John Samples of the Cato Institute said it upholds freedom of speech. Your feedback:
The partisan Supreme Court decision on Citizens United clearly favors big business, which has much more money to contribute to political campaigns than any group or citizens on the left. The ploy that the many TV ads we endure are “speech,” rather than aid to campaigns, is just silly. And, unfortunately, we all know that way too many in this country are influenced by anything shouted loud enough and often enough, so it can be expected that the big money will win elections for candidates favoring big business.
TOM KARASEK Longview, Wash.
The Supreme Court decided correctly. Any group or organization—left, right, or center—has the right of free speech. Period.
RICHARD SCHAEFER Marina del Rey, Calif.
Mr. Samples has just unloaded the biggest crock of gobbledygook I have heard in my 70 years. Since when is a corporation an individual? What about those corporations that are multinationals? Do we want other countries having a vote in our elections? This decision is really not about free speech. It is about corporations being allowed to contribute unimpeded, with no disclosure, to those bought-and-paid-for candidates who will vote the way they would like them to. Why don’t we just hand over our government to the corporations and be done with it?
MARILYN MUELLER Alpharetta, Ga.
As to the wording of the First Amendment, it should be noted that corporations as we know them today did not exist at the time the Constitution was framed. Ergo, it is understandable why our Founding Fathers omitted the word “person” from the First Amendment—there was simply no need to differentiate. Now, let’s take your interpretation of the omission of the word “citizen” to another “logical” conclusion. The amendment also says that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” What this says to me is that we, the people, have a right to petition the government, and, by omission, that the corporation is not granted a right to lobby the government. The Supreme Court justices leave out intent because few of them have ever felt the pulse of the American Revolution, and few remember the blood, sweat, and tears of the framers and early supporters of our Constitution. They are as inhuman as the corporations they defend.
ANGELO JIMENEZ North Bergen, N.J.
Corruption is never good for democracy. If we allow corporations to spend money on campaigns, then what do you think will happen when these politicians get elected? Our tax money won’t be spent on schools or roads, it will be put back into these corporations. This is a democracy. We the people of the United States should have a voice here. This country is supposed to be run for us, not for greedy politicians and big corporations.
RACHAEL MARLIN Manchester, Tenn.
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October 4, 2010
Sen. Chuck Grassley argued in favor because the tax cuts would help small businesses create jobs; Rep. Sander Levin said extending Bush’s tax cuts for the rich would inflate the deficit. Your feedback:
If giving tax cuts to the very, very rich was supposed to create jobs and help the economy, how in the heck did we get into this mess? Giving more money to the very, very rich, at the expense of doubling the national deficit in 10 years, is idiotic.
RICK BUTTON Kennesaw, Ga.
Both writers skirted the issue of the effect of the proposed tax increase on small-business jobs. Neither one got to the key point: how many jobs are related to proprietors making less than $250,000 and how many to those making more. But a much bigger, glaring point is that about half of all households pay no taxes under the current tax structure. This means that half of our population has no stake in the game, no reason to question the misuse of their hard-earned money paid in taxes. Just as having a military draft during the Vietnam era got people aroused about the misbegotten decision to go to war, having everyone share in the tax burden would focus more attention on misbegotten and out-of-control federal spending. I hope that we as a nation have not yet reached the tipping point where so great a percentage of voters are on the federal dole, either as employees or entitlement recipients, that no move toward fiscal responsibility is possible—until the whole house of cards collapses.
JIM BURDICK Rocky Face, Ga.
If the Democrats are so certain that raising the top tax bracket will not hurt the economy, then they should vote immediately to do it while they have a maximum number of votes. If the Republicans make gains in Congress, the Democrats can blame the Republican policy changes for causing the “unexpected” results. Democrats say it is good for the economy and Republicans say it is bad for the economy. Do the experiment and find out.
DAVID MUHLRAD Oro Valley, Ariz.
While I do not favor a redistribution of wealth, the opportunity to accrue wealth carries a responsibility to pay for the system which creates the opportunity, and I’m not talking about campaign contributions. Those individuals with higher incomes should pay higher taxes, and the system must be simplified while rewarding risk. Those whose incomes are inflated on the backs of low-wage earners should fund the services necessary for the survival of the low-wage earners.
JOSEPH SONGIN Scottsville, N.Y.
Congress is running deficits of over $1 trillion. This did not happen because of the tax cuts. This happened because Congress decided to spend more than it takes in. Reducing spending is the prudent way to reduce deficits.
ROBERT WASILEWSKI Papillion, Neb.
GOP right-wingers holler about the deficit. Most of the deficit is due to paying for two stupid wars that Bush started. The deficit is also due to the economy, which the GOP right-wingers killed with 30 years of deregulation. The tax cuts thrust us from surplus to deficit. The reduction in the deficit was due to the bubble created by deregulation and incompetence that eventually crashed. The Tea Partyers and others want us to return to the stupidity that got us into this mess. No thanks.
DAVID FRENCH Phoenix
Those who make more than $250,000 have much more to lose. It is those from the lower 50 percent—policemen, military, etc.—who help protect their riches. Of course the high earners should pay more.
JAMES ERWIN Nashville, Mich.
I am not rich, and I don’t earn anywhere close to $200,000 per year. But I do believe there is a limit on how much we can take from one section of the population to support society as a whole.
JAMES BOWER Redmond, Wash.
Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would be a travesty and the Republicans know it. The only tax cut permitted should go to blue-collar workers who are being squeezed hard by the economic situation that, in part, was caused by poor economic policies under Karl Rove and President Bush.
HOWARD BINGHAM Houston