Hard line is hurting Republicans
As poll numbers (21 percent describe themselves as Republican in a recent poll) continue to decline for the Republican Party, Sen. Arlen Specter drove another stake into the heart of the GOP by switching to the other side. I think as time goes on, we will see other defections as the moderate portion of the party (RINOs, "Republicans in name only" as they're derisively called) will become more independent in nature or possibly switch as well.
The GOP has taken a hard swing to the right, led by the vitriolic likes of Rush Limbaugh, and driven away the more moderate voices of the party. I thought Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama spoke volumes when he stated that the party's hard-line stances had soured him on the GOP's direction.
As a former Republican who got excited by President George W. Bush's slogan "Compassionate Conservatism," I became dismayed when his administration was neither compassionate nor conservative, driving up the deficits to historically high levels after inheriting a surplus. So this time around I voted for Obama, as John McCain, who at one time was an independent thinker, bought into the Republican conservative faction.
If the Republicans are going to survive and thrive, they need to veer away from the hard-line ideology that permeates the party now. And they need to include more than a bunch of rich white men whose mantra is: "No, we won't." Otherwise they'll join the likes of the Whigs in history.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Democrats tighten grip with Specter's switch April 29
Arlen Specter has proved to be a man of integrity
I've always been impressed with Sen. Arlen Specter's courage and integrity. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he regularly butted heads with the Bush administration and other elements of the GOP leadership.
He courageously battled cancer and still maintained a strong voice to protect the Constitution and the observance of the laws of this country.
The fact that he has announced that he can no longer be a member of the Republican Party speaks volumes about that party.
I congratulate him on his courage and wisdom. It's not easy to change a longtime party affiliation.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Democrats tighten grip with Specter's switch April 29
Middle of the road
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter essentially said, "I did not leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me."
This is what I have been saying for the past eight years. I am a Republican but I have no party. Republicans think I'm a Republican. Democrats think I'm a Democrat. And some of both parties think I am not a member of their party. To be truthful, I belong to both parties. I am right down the middle. There is good in both parties and that's where I am.
For me, the party began to leave me when President George W. Bush was governor of Texas. He started running the country the same way he ran Texas, right down to the torturing of prisoners.
I have to go along with Arlen Specter's way of thinking. It's just the way I think — down the middle.
Donald F. Kelly, St. Petersburg
He's just serving himself
Sen. Arlen Specter is the poster boy for all that is wrong in Washington. He is in no way serving the public or his state of Pennsylvania. He is only trying to do what all politicians do: work to get elected and then work to stay in office.
Sadly, if there is anyone who thinks that any elected official is working for them, then they are too naive. We the people have no voice in our government. My heart breaks for all Americans who are left to the vagaries of these self-serving so-and-sos (I want to write something nasty but decorum is preventing me). We can now refer to ourselves as citizens of the United Socialist States of America .
Mike Stansbury, Brooksville
An amusing party
Wow! What a week! The Democrats have shown that they are ready to go all out for our entertainment.
First, they treat us to a photo shoot of Air Force One (a 747 that's designated Air Force One when the president is aboard), complete with two fighters, buzzing Manhattan. This cost taxpayers more than $300,000, not including probably millions in economic turmoil as thousands of workers were sent home after being evacuated from their places of employment. (Honest, Barack Obama didn't know.)
Then, someone resurrected Jimmy Carter and he called for the renewal of the assault weapons ban (Reinstate assault weapons ban, April 28). This was while admitting that he owns nine guns. Doesn't his qualify as an arsenal? From his descriptions, some of his guns might qualify as assault weapons. What a great spokesman!
Then we have Sen. Arlen Specter finally going where he has belonged all the time: to the Democratic Party. I guess he has masqueraded as a Republican long enough. If we can have this much entertainment in less than a week, I can hardly wait for the coming months.
Larry Fox, Largo
Torture case prosecutions
We don't need a witch hunt
I read with interest a number of letters from readers, obviously on the left side of the political spectrum, calling for the prosecution of Bush administration officials for the alleged "torture" of terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
We have enough problems without conducting some partisan witch hunt. And those espousing such a course would do well to remember that "what goes around, comes around."
Should the political pendulum swing back to the right, as it did in 1994, imagine the icons on the left being brought up on a myriad of charges, up to and including treason, simply as "payback" for what those same left-wing icons want to impose on the previous administration officials. This is so especially if the policies promulgated are perceived as weakening the country, and that perception is punctuated by another 9/11-type attack, or the detonation of a "suitcase nuke" in a major metropolitan area.
It's best to let sleeping dogs lie.
Kenneth R. Gilder, St. Petersburg
Stop the search for scapegoats | April 26, David Broder column
Justice in another era
After reading David Broder's piece, I wondered if he felt that the Nuremberg trials were an unwarranted and wasteful hunt for scapegoats.
Jim Ahearn, Clearwater