Tea party without nuts | March 25, Thomas Friedman column
Tea party occupies political center
Thomas Friedman says he wants his own centrist tea party without nuts. A new Rasmussen poll says that 52 percent of Americans believe the average tea party member has a better understanding of the issues than the average member of Congress. It also states, by a margin of 47 to 26 percent, that Americans believe their own political opinions are closer to the tea party than to Congress.
The point is the tea party is already centrist. It is made up of members of both parties and many independents. Many in the media try to paint this as an extremist movement, but it's not true and the label is not sticking. Maybe it's time for those who believe that it is to start looking in the mirror at their own extreme and out-of-touch views, including Thomas Friedman!
Dean Walters, Ruskin
Hard to swallow
It has been difficult for me to take the tea party movement seriously for several reasons, but two in particular stand out.
First, what is all this nonsense about the government not listening to the tea party? In 2008, there was an election that the Democrats won. Now, the tea party appears surprised and even incensed that the winning party would actually proceed in trying to fulfill their campaign promises and address the agenda a majority of Americans elected them to pursue.
Second, the nation's debt grew significantly during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, while George W. Bush spent his way through the surplus Democrat Bill Clinton left him and then continued to blast the national debt to soaring new heights. Where were the members of the tea party when all of this was going on? Were their children and the future of no concern then?
No one, including Democrats, likes the rising debt. It is frightening. But let's not forget it is happening in response to the economic nightmare Barack Obama inherited when he took office.
It would be far easier to make sense of the tea party's protests if its members would put down the inflammatory signs, lower the unnecessary volume, read a civics text (preferably one not published in Texas), and give some honest thought to the true source of their sudden concern, overreaching rhetoric and sometimes less than commendable behavior.
Karen Booher, St. Petersburg
Clay Bennett editorial cartoon | March 29
Excessive bias distorts perception of tea party
Blood-soaked, machete-wielding, hockey-mask- wearing mass murderers. The depiction of the tea party movement in political cartoons and legitimate articles in the St. Petersburg Times recently is simply one-sided, biased and unfounded hypocritical denigration.
While the likes of the confrontational far left groups, such as Code Pink, the Earth Liberation Front and Industrial Workers of the World, continue to incite riots and acts of arson, the tea party movement is lambasted for opposing federal tyranny in a peaceful fashion.
It does have a few followers who "spoil the punch" with vitriolic sentiments. However, the movement as a whole, or in any kind of majority, cannot legitimately be accused of any act as egregious as those of the firebomb-wielding eco-terrorists and anticapitalist thugs who plot chaos and mayhem in the name of left-wing superiority.
A little bit of "fair and balanced" reporting goes a long way toward increased viewers/readers — just ask the "evil ones" at Fox News how that works.
Derrick Haefs, Safety Harbor
Chip Bok cartoon | March 30
Overplayed race card
Chip Bok's cartoon perfectly captures the race-mongering zeitgeist that the Democratic Party and its media arm have created. While race-mongering had been the province of people such as the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, it is now the apparently well-entrenched policy of the Democratic Party to attempt to demonize the opposition by yelling racism at every turn, just as it attempts to trivialize the opposition by characterizing them as "angry white men" who refuse to accept the inevitable march toward multiculturalism.
Those who were not mesmerized by the slick packaging of Barack Obama during the campaign saw that the racism card was at the root of the campaign. Moderate folks who blinded themselves to that reality are now coming to grips with the potentially disastrous result of electing someone based solely on a shared sense of racial "guilt."
Jeffrey Meyer, Clearwater
Military spouses lose aid for tuition March 28, story
I am 65 years old with a small service-connected disability. I try not to let too many things in the news upset me. However, this article has raised my hackles.
It saddens me when I'm at James A. Haley VA Medical Center to see a young wife pushing her injured husband in a wheelchair followed by small children. She will need all of the support, both emotional and financial, that she can obtain.
It is immoral and economically unwise for the government to not fund aid for tuition so the military spouses can further their education and/or skills. Almost all historians agree one of the things that built our middle class after World War II was the GI Bill. If the Pentagon can pay $200 for toilet seats, they can surely afford the $6,000 they have promised to the military spouses.
We all should contact our representatives in Congress and demand that the funding be provided even if it comes at the expense of the defense contractors who contribute to congressional campaigns.
Unfortunately, the last time I contacted my congressional representative, I did not receive a response of any type, not even an acknowledgement that the letter had been received. Therefore, demonstrations may be in order.
John L. Burrell, Tampa
No roommates for Marines? | March 27
The right policy
Hats off to Marine Gen. James Conway for not "forcing" his Marines to share a room with homosexuals. A gutless secretary of defense, Robert Gates, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, have "given in" to pressure from their liberal leaders, which will weaken the morale of our wonderful troops in all areas of service in this great country of ours, especially those serving on the front lines. I witnessed this firsthand, and that was before "don't ask, don't tell."
If the troops were surveyed worldwide, I would bet my home that 90 percent would be heavily opposed to this new flaming-liberal policy, including the generals and commanders.
Dan Leary, Hudson
Dating violence draws attention, March 31, story
Not a job for schools
I've got an idea. How about a bill that would teach students how to identify "Poor Parenting," or a bill that would require parents to teach "their" children all the things that parents are suppose to teach "their" children and let the teachers and schools go back to teaching what teachers and schools were meant to teach.
Then "maybe" the children will be able to, all by themselves, "read" the paper and be informed, "write" their representatives in Tallahassee to keep them focused on the issues, and calculate ("arithmetic") the chances of another stupid bill like this occurring.
Is dating violence terrible? Yes! Is it another thing schools and teachers need to be burdened with teaching? No!
Where are the parents? What are the roles and responsibilities of a parent?
T.W. Funari, St. Petersburg