Democratic presidential race
Let the primary play itself out
I don't know how else to express my feelings regarding the Democratic primary race other than to say: "This is the best of political primaries, and this is the worst of political primaries."
The best aspect of this primary is the history-making presentation of the nation's first black candidate and the first woman candidate who command respect as truly serious contenders for the highest office in the land.
Another "best" aspect is the exhilarating excitement generated by both candidates and the record number of Democrats who are showing up at the polls. In truth, both Democratic hopefuls have not only infused new life, vision and energy into their party, but they have also invigorated the entire political scene.
What makes this the "worst" primary is the horrific treatment of the very people who are trying to ensure that the Democratic Party wins the White House. I am referring not only to the disenfranchisement of Florida and Michigan voters, but also to the ignorant "Let's get this over with" attitude among some of the so-called superdelegates and other party representatives.
Considering that Florida had one of the best primary turnouts in its history, I say shame on the party leaders who invalidated our vote and muted our voices. Then to add salt to the wound, some in the party seemingly don't want the remaining seven states to cast their votes.
Personally, I agree with Mike Huckabee's philosophy. Voters should have a choice, and they should have that choice until the option is legally moot. I am sick and tired of hearing how superdelegates can and should bring this primary race to a close. Whatever happened to the popular vote and the will of the people?
J. E. Mlincek, St. Petersburg
Elite leadership wanted
I don't want a president who can bowl or down boilermakers with the boys. I don't want a president whom I would enjoy having a beer with.
I want a president who can sip fine wines with kings and princes and prime ministers and command the room. If he or she is proficient in a sport, let it be golf or tennis or even polo. I want a president who is well educated, well read, well spoken and well traveled. I want a president who is knowledgeable about and comfortable with other cultures.
Given the choice of elitism or arrogance, I'll take elitism every time.
Leonard Silva, St. Petersburg
An unseemly cashing in on presidency
April 21, editorial
The Bill problem
Thank you for raising an issue that deserves to be addressed as a matter of trust by Hillary Clinton as she seeks the presidency. We all knew that former President Bill Clinton often acted in ways that did not reflect well on the office of the presidency. Therefore, no one should have been surprised by the behavior that you highlighted in your editorial. Clearly, as you point out, he has not had the respect for the office that Harry Truman had.
Hillary Clinton should be challenged to defend or refute Bill Clinton's practice of benefiting from questionable transactions related to his influence as a former president. She should be asked whether she would behave in a manner similar to that of her husband after her term as president is completed.
Bill Stasiuk, Bradenton
An unseemly cashing in on presidency
April 21, editorial
The Clintons' good works
It is true the Clintons have done well since the former president was in office. But they have also done an awful lot of good.
For example, the Clinton Family Foundation is one of several philanthropic groups that bear the former president's name. There is also the New York-based William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, which has directed more than $10-billion in corporate money and resources toward slowing the spread of AIDS, addressing climate change, and reducing hunger and poverty.
I note that you didn't mention anything about the Obamas' family income or personal wealth, so let me fill you in. Their income in 2005 was $1.65-million. The Obamas paid $1.65-million for a home in 2005. Their income in 2007 was $4.2-million. This should place him among America's elite from a standpoint of personal wealth.
Much of the wealth of Obama and of the Clintons came from salary and book sales. And if you are going to call the Clintons opportunists, you should also include Obama and that great deal he got on his house.
Merrill P. Friend Jr., Tampa
An economy in trouble
Sen. John McCain has said that to cure our economy we should forget about the debt and cut taxes.
If he is right then all of us should forget about paying our debts and spend money. Then we would be worth more and have more to spend.
Our dollar's value is low because of our debt. His fellow Republicans have been touting cutting taxes as our salvation. It has not worked nor will it work. No matter what the politicians say, with prices going through the roof and the dollar losing value, we are not in a recession but in a depression.
It appears that to start to cure the economy we need to get out of Iraq and pay down the debt. As much as I hate to say it, getting rid of the debt may require a tax increase with the money earmarked for debt reduction not pork barrel.
Elliott Cohn, Palm Harbor
Dollar details, please
I heard Barack Obama being interviewed on CNN about the economy. He talked about more Pell grants, and income tax credits of $4,000 for each student.
If he is going to adhere to his call for a new kind of government, he should explain in detail about how much these programs would cost and where he intends to find the money for them. Costs must be quantified for each federal income enhancement he proposes. This quantification should be applied to both Democratic candidates for all their proposals, which generally sound like thin air in the absence of all specifics.
Richard W. Madden, Tarpon Springs
Want to be happy? Live a long life | April 19, story
Someone actually paid for a study that shows that older people are happier than their juniors, and they never mentioned that the principal source of this joy is the freedom from the daily requirement to work.
I bet if the "researchers" had broken out the cohort of seniors still having to work to survive, the levels of glee would drop exponentially.
And the stunning finding that those in their 80s are twice as likely as those in their 50s to volunteer for at least one activity! That is because most in their 50s are involuntarily showing up for at least one activity to survive while theoretically paying for the geezer's free time (we are writing paperless "I owe yous" to a soon to be officially bankrupt fund).
I would like to "volunteer" to be an "aging expert" the next time they want to "study" this.
Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg