Clinton speech leaves out key point
I waited up Tuesday night, past my bedtime, to hear what words of encouragement Hillary Clinton would speak on behalf of presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Though Sen. Clinton gave a rousing speech, I felt something was missing. I realized the next morning what it was. It was an explanation of the pink elephant in the middle of the Democratic Convention.
Clinton addressed all the issues that should concern the middle class and poor: health care, repair of international relationships, the energy crisis, the future of our children, and so on. She stated that Obama stood for the same issues and rallied her troops to support him, but other than saying that Democrats needed to unite, she did not explain why Obama was now suddenly politically savvy enough to handle these responsibilities when she felt a few short months ago that he was not.
Does he now have the wise counsel in his corner to make up for his lack of international experience? Was she wrong?
Clinton's speech was successful in rousing the crowd, but was it convincing enough to rouse the country? Clinton made a tactical error in not addressing why she felt Sen. Obama was now ready to become the next president of the United States.
Carol Sheppard, St. Petersburg
Response was lukewarm
Although Hillary Clinton did an admirable job in an uncomfortable situation, I was disturbed by some things I saw.
I watched CNN's coverage on the Web as she spoke and clicked on an "alternate view" while listening to her. The view was of Michelle Obama and Joe Biden.
Biden looked unenthused, repeatedly looked at his watch (several times) and fidgeted constantly. Michelle Obama maintained a dour and sometimes angry look on her face. When she smiled, it looked forced; and when she clapped, it seemed more like a token "golf clap."
If day one of the convention was a "waste" (as many critics suggested, including James Carville), night two was a big slap in the face to Hillary and the Clinton faithful.
Jim Bullard, St. Petersburg
Sitting out is not an option
As a woman and a Democrat, it is appalling to learn of former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman's position that she is "thinking of not voting in the upcoming presidential election." She indicates that she is still upset that Barack Obama "hasn't really reached out" or done enough for women. How can she cast stones at Sen. Obama when she herself had the power to help women during her tenure as Tampa mayor but ignored them instead?
I was the first female firefighter in the city of Tampa in 1978 and served on Local 754 Firefighters Union as an executive board member during Mayor Freedman's tenure. Seven new fire stations were built during that time, with no consideration given to providing separate bathroom facilities for women, thus violating women's legal rights to privacy in the workplace.
Even after numerous private meetings with Mayor Freedman, and labor-management meetings, this issue was not resolved during her tenure. This is obviously not the only issue regarding women that Mayor Freedman failed to address during her tenure, but one glaring example.
I immigrated to the United States from communist Cuba as a teenager and take great pride in the rights this great country offers, including the right to vote. It is appalling to me that a woman Democrat, especially one so involved in the political process, would use her gender as a reason for not voting. I certainly hope that she is the exception. Many people fought hard for our right to vote and it is our duty to honor their sacrifices.
Mechy Fernandez Wright, Oldsmar
We need elitism like this
I find it ironic that the party of the wealthy, big business concerns and the oil companies thinks that their best chance for victory is to paint an African-American candidate as an "elitist."
Barack Obama did it just the way you hear every conservative says you should do it: hard work equals success; where there's a will there's a way; skin color is not a detriment if you are not afraid of hard work. Why is it when an African-American politician does just that, suddenly he's an elitist?
Obama treasures and cherishes his family and country. If that makes him an elitist, I hope we can find a lot more like him.
Henry Vaughn, Largo
Experience is overrated
So Barak Obama lacks experience. Let me remind you that two of the most experienced people invited into the Bush administration were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
If it's experience you are looking for, how about a Cheney-Rumsfeld ticket?
Diane Krivo, New Port Richey
Appalling voter turnout
Pinellas County made history for the wrong reason with its appalling 12 percent voter turnout in the primary, the lowest ever for our county.
I acknowledge that voting in primary elections tends to be paltry for many reasons. However, by not voting we fail to honor our privilege to vote, a cherished honor in a free, constitutional republic.
I was the first to cast a ballot in my precinct. The scanner machine failed to accept my ballot, displaying an "error" that there was a ballot already in the machine. That was impossible! I agree with the letters that the process is a tedious one. Peeling off the little labels that are placed on the green paper showing that you know how to "blacken" the ovals to cast your vote was particularly problematic.
These concerns don't bode well for the general election, for which there should be a high turnout.
Nancy C. Daly, St. Petersburg
Respect voter privacy
To the readers who complained about the new voting system, I agree that it is very cumbersome and time-consuming. However, this is what the Legislature mandated at the voters' request.
Regarding voter privacy, the machine managers and clerks were taught that the ballots can be fed in upside down or face down and that the scanners that Pinellas County purchased are able to read the ballot from either side or direction. As to the machine manager watching you, we were taught the machine manager should be behind the machine or off to the side to offer assistance, if needed. Believe me, not all precincts are so disrespectful of voter privacy.
Kimberly Dietrich, St. Petersburg
Sample ballot helped
My wife and I recently voted in the Republican primary in Pinellas County. The sample ballot included in the Aug. 13 edition and the accompanying detail about the candidates proved invaluable. We're all busy, but allowing us to become familiar with the candidates after a brief read was a great idea. Here's hoping the same is done for the presidential election.
Chris Forsythe, Palm Harbor