What happened to Obama? | Aug. 14
It's not the man; it's his policies
I was disappointed to see much of Sunday's Perspective section taken up by what amounted to an ad hominem attack on President Barack Obama. It's not the man; it's his policies.
Contrary to the opinions featured in the Times, most Americans are grateful for whomever or whatever has delayed or attenuated his agenda. It took a decade of misery, judicial nullification and World War II to extricate us from the mess that a more assertive President Franklin Roosevelt greatly exacerbated and prolonged.
If China can bury discredited economic theories, why must so many of our progressives blame the guy instead of the ideas? I still hold out hope that the president will say that it's not about tax or spend or debt, but growth, and not wishful growth.
Repatriate industries and jobs that already exist; use energy sources that we abound with; transmute entitlements to personal investments; realign education, research and infrastructure toward a manufacturing emphasis; divide the military, charging beneficiaries for the international policing component; and tax everyone, a little more but a lot more simply and fairly.
Pat Byrne, Largo
What happened to Obama? | Aug. 14
Conciliation isn't working
At last a cogent, sensible and historically based assertion about what is happening in our country and what is missing from our president.
I wholly agree that all people need a story, and I have been waiting for the story of greed and the lack of consideration for the lives of the everyday person to be told with vigor and fearlessness. This story can best be told by the person who holds the highest office in our nation, the president.
I have always thought that reasonable, honest dialogue and compromise were the ways to resolve our crisis, but Drew Westen's statement that "conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time," made me rethink my position.
Westen referred to President Franklin Roosevelt, who explained to the American public "how the market crash of 1929 had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to use U.S. resources to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today."
I think that anyone who gives a moment's thought to our situation and who ignores the bullying sound bites and name-calling from the right recognizes that the stimulus package didn't work because it didn't go far enough.
I want Barack Obama, who I believe is a man of integrity, albeit too accommodating, to find his voice, put on his boxing gloves and tell it like it is.
Ann Young, Largo
Pit bull, not prom queen
I am certain I am not alone in expressing disappointment over the performance of President Barack Obama in his first 21/2 years in office. To quote a line from the movie The American President, "We hired a pit bull, not a prom queen."
Certainly we had every right to expect that someone who got his feet wet in Chicago politics and then jumped in the pool of downstate Illinois government had learned there is only one way to get things done.
How sad that the man who introduced himself in his books Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope was a fictional character. The president, it would seem, is satisfied to secure his place in the Pantheon of American presidents as "the Great Conciliator."
Robert A. Shaw, Madeira Beach
No surprise here
Drew Westen's blatant rewrite of history may get plaudits from Noam Chomsky's loyal followers, but little else. Simply put, nothing happened to Obama. Anyone paying attention has known since Obama's appearance on the Chicago scene of his hostility toward business, aversion to capitalism and total embrace of egalitarianism.
Given Democrats' funding sources and Obama's philosophical underpinnings, there could be no doubt where Obama and a Democratic Congress would take us. The results of their much admired Keynesian policies are no surprise. The surprise is that they're even worse than expected.
Alden Burnett, Seminole
Rumsfeld and the rule of law Aug. 14, Robyn Blumner column
Kudos to Robyn Blumner for exposing Donald Rumsfeld for besmirching the Constitution in connection with the abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq.
I eagerly await her next column as she exposes President Barack Obama for besmirching the Constitution by attacking Libya without the consent of Congress.
Thomas Varnum, North Redington Beach
What we owe to the fallen Aug. 14, Bill Maxwell column
Earning our privileges
It's not often Bill Maxwell and I are on the same page, but this article is right on target. I also served with the Marines in Vietnam in the '60s as a combat medic (corpsman) with a Marine rifle company.
Maxwell's suggestions about public service would do the youth and the country a world of good and be a blessing to all of us.
Attention is needed in areas such as commitment, accountability, responsibility, comradeship, loyalty, dedication to the ideals set down in the Constitution, respect for others and self, the need for sacrifice — I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Many countries require some sort of public/military service of their citizens; why not the United States? We live in the greatest country in the world. This privilege is earned, not granted.
Robert John Errico, St. Petersburg
House, Senate gone fishin' | Aug. 18
Congress is on vacation. Barack Obama was on the road last week campaigning. Why is there no leadership in Washington? It is sad that we feel safer with them out of the capital.
Congress caused a dramatic fall in the stock market by playing politics instead of doing its job last month regarding the debt ceiling. The damage it has done to the working middle class is devastating, particularly to those in or near retirement.
Obama went on the road campaigning. He has no understanding of what it takes to lead, protect or grow our fragile society. He lacks the knowledge, skills and experience to lead the nation to prosperity.
Robert Weisman, Tampa