A party for moderates | March 26, commentary
Moderate approach hasn't worked
The solution Ezra Klein poses in this column is a seductive one. It presumes that voters, given a choice, will eschew partisan loyalties and unite behind independent-minded political moderates who've lost the support of their own parties.
It sounds uplifting in theory. But the reality, as the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Florida demonstrated, can be quite different.
Gov. Charlie Crist was viewed as the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican Party's Senate nomination, and then the general election, when the primary election season began to unfold.
In defiance of the solid record of political moderation Crist established as governor, charismatic tea party favorite Marco Rubio chose to challenge him from the right. Rubio's challenge then developed such strong traction that Crist shed his Republican Party label and chose to run as an independent — exactly the scenario Americans Elect envisions.
However, instead of rejecting the two political extremes and flocking to Crist's banner, Florida voters overwhelmingly supported Rubio. Given Crist's decisive defeat, the probability of another popular, high-profile political personality choosing to run as a third-party candidate is far less likely than Klein would like us to believe.
Hal Alterman, Clearwater
Supreme Court votes today | March 30
Backlash in the making
We have a president who campaigned in 2008 on a platform of reforming the health care system. He got a four-year mandate, so I assume his voters were okay with his plans. But what was going to be a huge accomplishment has become instead a disaster to be decided by the highest court in the land. How did we get here?
Powerful individuals, corporations and the whole Republican Party are hell-bent on denying President Barack Obama any achievement. Forget the fact that at one point Republicans were for reform; now they will say anything to destroy it.
This has been coupled with the large number of people who have no idea what the law is really about, fired up by a right wing that says that the government is taking over our lives.
It seems improbable that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Obama. If the law is ruled unconstitutional, it may cause a huge backlash come November at the polls. Some 40 million people are looking forward to finally getting treatment and medicine when the plan goes fully into effect. A negative ruling may become nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.
Patrick Bauer, Wesley Chapel
One option: Cut off care
The solution to the health care mandate issue is simple: no participation, no penalty, no care. Inhumane, sure, but probably constitutional.
Richard J. Lewis, Madeira Beach
System needs fixing
It's a shame that a law meant to help everybody get access and afford health insurance is being challenged in court. A law that will actually save lives is being challenged by those who don't feel everyone should have fair access to the health care system. Accessible and affordable health care is something that will eventually become a reality regardless of what others do to prevent it. I hope that if the court does invalidate this law, our lawmakers have the stomach to take another shot at fixing this horribly broken health care system.
Anthony Roberts, Tampa
Partisan high court
As the Supreme Court debated the health care mandate, I reflected on the partisan nature of the court. Ever since the decision in the 2000 election, it is obvious how partisan the U.S. Supreme Court has become. The Citizens United decision put the icing on the cake by recognizing corporations and unions as individuals who can contribute any amount of money to a candidate.
We often refer to the Supreme Court justices as liberal and conservative. It would be more honest to refer to them as Democrats and Republicans. In the past 12 years, the decisions have obviously been pro-Republican. Today's court would never have affirmed the civil rights laws of the '60s.
The court was created by the founders to be a check on the partisan nature of the other two branches. This is why they were chosen to be on the court for life. Maybe it's time to have them elected by the people and for only a specific term.
Michael Malafronte, Trinity
Poor health outcomes
Japan, Israel, Iceland, Switzerland and Australia. What do these countries have in common? They have some of the highest life expectancies in the world and they all have compulsory and universal health care coverage. The universal health care-less United States, conversely, ranks an abysmal No. 36 in life expectancy despite being one of the richest, most advanced nations on the planet.
Universal health care with an insurance mandate is not a crazy, outlandish concept, as the opponents of it suggest. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not have it — the only other nations that lack universal health care are Third World countries in places like Africa and Asia. Now what does that tell you?
Stephen Lapp, Tampa
Children's Board needs a makeover March 28, Sue Carlton column
Board provides key services
As executive director of the Early Childhood Council of Hillsborough County Inc. since 2007, I have been closely associated with the Children's Board. (Disclaimer: The ECC is funded by the Children's Board.) While I don't agree with everything the board does, I can honestly say that every employee I know there cares deeply about the well-being of children and families. Their mission is front and center to their work, salaries and building size aside. And regarding the building, it is basically a home away from home for many community partners, providing space for planning, training, team-building and youth development.
Jodie Tillman's article (Spending like boom times, March 25) makes some legitimate points. However, a more complete picture of the board and its work is necessary. Since 1988, the Children's Board has been responsible for funding successful, innovative programs that provide prevention and early intervention for young children and families. If the Children's Board were to go away, the harm to kids and their families would be immeasurable. If you have not been touched by the work of the Children's Board or its funded agencies like ECC, your turn may be coming. And it would be reassuring to know you have a place to turn to.
Stephen C. Martaus, Tampa