Practical governing, not party ideology | Sept. 5, editorial
More should follow Crist's lead
I am a practical person. When others suggest a "big picture" goal, I am there to say, "Great idea. Now how are we going to accomplish it?"
So, I agree with the Times' editorial on Charlie Crist's decision to leave the Republican Party and become an independent. Opportunist? I prefer to call him a pragmatist: someone whose former party's current ideas and values are no longer in sync with his own. This doesn't mean he, or any of us, has to agree completely with the party line or platform to align ourselves with one party or the other — or neither party, in Crist's case — but rather that we agree with enough of the platform to support that particular party.
In fact, I'm surprised more politicians from either party don't do what Charlie Crist or Lincoln Chafee or Joe Lieberman did. There are plenty of moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats whose philosophies or world views are no longer in agreement with their respective parties. If more of them would align themselves with the parties that better speak to and for them, perhaps we'd have more cooperation among all of them. Or perhaps not. But to me, at least, it's refreshing to see.
Diane Kornick, Clearwater
Democratic National Convention
Poor role models
It is with great amusement that I take note that the Democratic National Committee, which has gone to great lengths to highlight its support of women's issues, chose as Wednesday night's leading speaker a serial philanderer, Bill Clinton.
Perhaps they should also have invited some of President Barack Obama's dear friends to also speak. For example, Brian Harrison, former CEO of Solyndra, could have spoken on creating jobs in the renewable energy field; Bill Ayers could have talked about preventing domestic terrorism; and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright could have addressed religious freedom. What great role models these friends of the president are.
David Ingle, Oldsmar
It is amazing how Bill Clinton feels about President Barack Obama now. A few years ago he was quoted as saying: "A few years ago, he (Obama) would be carrying our bags." Now it appears that Clinton feels that Obama could "walk on water" after his 48-minute speech. Now I wonder whose "pants are on fire"?
Ron Bowman, Dunedin
Perception and reality
Former President Bill Clinton awed the delegates at the Democratic convention during his appearance. Former President George W. Bush "skipped" the Republican convention. The Democrats embraced Clinton's eight years in office. The Republicans acted as if Bush's eight-year term did not exist.
The Democrats have said the recovery of our middle class began the day President Barack Obama took office. In the historical vacuum fostered by the Republicans, the demise of our society was born on the same date. The perception of reality can be so greatly altered when self-interest is implicated.
Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa
Voice vote fantasy
Probably few people actually watched the voice vote to amend the Democratic platform. Your blurb in the Notebook section — "the amendment to the platform was put to a voice vote by the convention chairman, who had to ask three times for 'aye' votes from the gathering before determining that the amendment had two-thirds majority" — was nearly as inane as watching it live. He "determined" it was two-thirds — seriously? Regardless of what many of the delegates wanted, some higher-ups in the Democratic Party realized that their platform (eliminating the mention of God or the capital of Israel as Jerusalem) would turn off and insult the majority of American voters.
If only they would have responded to the real majority of Americans who did not want government-controlled health care but got it anyway. If only they would have listened to the real majority of Americans who wanted the Keystone pipeline because it would create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil but didn't get it.
Carol Mathis, St. Petersburg
We are subject to arrest if we lie to a federal agent. We can be arrested for lying in court. We may lose our mortgage or job for lying on an application. Then explain why we do not arrest politicians or disqualify candidates for lying to the American public.
This is perhaps the only issue that is shared by both sides of the aisle.
Thomas Rizzo, Lithia
After the two conventions, will each party forget the current attitude of "us against them" that is slowly destroying this country?
I suggest that all members of Congress take a long look at the paintings of the Continental Congress. They will not see those brave men separated by an aisle.
For a better exchange of ideas and solutions of this country's problems, I suggest that all members of Congress in both houses be seated in alphabetical order. It would go a long way in stopping the self-centered posturing and lying about the other party's motives. It even might bring back two forgotten words: civility and compromise.
Stephen Kaye, Lutz
U.S. health care wastes $750B yearly | Sept. 7
Consumers left in the dark
One reason why medical costs are out of sight is that they are out of sight. When I visit my doctor I have no idea of the procedure's cost. I merely pay my $10, $15 or $20 co-pay and that's the end of it. Insurance covers the balance of the charge, but I have no idea of the amount, nor have I any practical interest in it.
My physician, who is an employee of the large health care system, has no more idea of the total charge or practical interest in it than I because that is the sole responsibility of the system's billing department. There's no way or need to shop, or to compare cost with benefit. The charge can be arbitrary with no one the wiser, a guarantee of run-away costs.
Bud Tritschler, Clearwater