Lobbyists speak for all America This election season, both political parties are blaming Washington's woes on "special interests," yet they fail to identify who these are. The reality is that this means most Americans, who without realizing it have someone advocating for them in our nation's Capitol and state houses on a daily basis.
Anyone who belongs to any organization — AAA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, a church, union or professional organization — likely has lobbyists working on their behalf. These groups are in constant contact with legislators for the protection of their members' rights and interests, because the average working American can't just leave his or her job for weeks at a time to lobby for themselves.
Both major presidential camps are casting lobbyists as the scapegoats for everything wrong with our nation, yet both candidates know and recognize the value of lobbying in the political process — it's just not an effective sound bite.
The next time you hear a candidate blame "special interests" for America's governmental woes, understand they are talking about every citizen who has a job, a child in school or goes to a hospital or house of worship.
Brian T. Pallasch, president, American League of Lobbyists, Alexandria, Va.
Voters are experiencing political ad overload
To all political candidates: The American public is totally fed up with all your TV advertising. We are intelligent enough to realize you are telling us only what you want us to hear. You are constantly criticizing and telling falsehoods about each other as opposed to discussing the issues. We want to know only what you are capable of executing yourself. You make so many promises but are helpless to keep them.
So, please don't waste your money on us. We don't believe you anyway. Why not donate your money to a worthy cause and give the public a break?
Perhaps, instead of your absurd commercials, you could try a town hall meeting with unrehearsed questions from the public. Or would you be too fearful of something that exposing? At least that way, we wouldn't need to keep hitting the mute button on the remote control every time we see your face.
Faith Elinor, St. Pete Beach
Your side is stinky! Nuh UH! Yuh HUH! | Sept. 28, Howard Troxler column
Reject the incumbents
I couldn't agree more with Howard Troxler and the rules he sets out for the candidates to abide by for the duration of their campaigns. If only someone would listen.
Yes, a "fact" is an item of information that is actually true. Unfortunately, our politicians haven't got the guts to tell us the truth about practically anything. They call each other names, misquote one another to their own ends and will say anything they feel will help get them elected. The only thing they do consistently, Democrats, Republicans and you too, Mr. Independent, is lie to us.
This banking/mortgage/economic (call it what you like) meltdown is a perfect example. They are all lying, because none of them know what they're talking about. They're guessing at best. At worse, listening to "theoretical" experts. I say "theoretical" because if they were so smart why did they allow us to get into this mess in the first place? Any fool on Main Street could have told you that the housing "bubble" was going to eventually burst and see a train wreck coming.
Let's face it, Congress is no longer representative of the people. Our democracy is broken and the only way we can retake control, or some semblance of it, is to throw all the bums out. Go to the polls on Nov. 4 and vote against all incumbents regardless of party. Then let's set term limits and vote some ordinary people into office.
Whoever said you had to be a lawyer? All we really need are citizens with common sense and decency, who will act in the common good and be truly accountable to the rest of us during their brief term of service. That would be real change!
George A. Newman, Tampa
Is it over yet?
Is George Bush gone yet? Ever since his inauguration in 2000 I have tried to comfort myself with the thought that the following month would be better; the following year would be better; even that the following day would be better. But it just gets worse. Every day, every week, every month we move back four paces for every one we take forward.
I remember all the wails and laments about randy old Bill Clinton and what a horror his administration was. In retrospect it wasn't so bad, was it? All we had to complain about then was a stain on a blue dress. Ah, the good old days!
When randy Bill was president, conservatives blamed him for every evil in the world. Remember? That was because he couldn't keep his pants zipped. What do we then say about a president and Congress that have brought the entire world to its knees?
Merciful heavens, the next three months cannot possibly bring any other disasters. Can they? Let us all pray really hard and unceasingly that the current administration has finally run out of stupidity.
Karen Wasylowski, Bradenton
Vice presidential debate
A media misstep
It was another "Dan Rather moment," with a touch of Henry Fonda style ("Aw, shucks"). Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's performance demonstrated that the mainstream media (Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric, et al.) were biased in an attempt to embarrass her at any cost. They lost!
From this moment on, Couric and her ilk no longer have any credibility. Readers and viewers of the mainstream media will question, even doubt, their purported evenhandedness. They have simply lost their way. They simply can't be trusted!
The real loser: mainsteam media. The real winner: "straight talk."
Alan Henry, St. Petersburg
Out of her depth
For some to say that Sarah Palin did "better than expected" in Thursday night's debate and then suggest that this represents a victory for her is a pitiful commentary on the condition of the political process in the United States. We ought to expect our candidates for the highest offices in the land to be superior in their grasp of the enormous issues facing this country and the world — not merely better than awful.
Here is a true assessment of Sarah Palin's performance: She parroted rehearsed lines without understanding; she ignored or avoided the questions that her handlers had not prepped her on; she lost her place in her lines and spoke in meaningless circles to fill her allotted time; she flagrantly attempted to position herself as folksy and adorable as the antidote to being pathetically out of her depth.
For her to announce in the debate, "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people" was an insult to everyone in the nation. The debate's purpose was to flesh out — once again — her grasp of and position on the issues; it was not a platform for her tissue-thin stump speeches. If the latter was the case, a good- looking parrot could fill the bill just as well.
Our challenges are too great and too immediate for America to submit to this transparent charade. Sarah Palin was awful in the debate. Let's admit it and move on to fixing our country.
Eric Gerard, Largo