Candor is not a winning strategy | May 14, commentary
We need solutions, not just talk
People say they value candor, but the fact is that Americans like instant gratification and convenient scapegoats. Both political parties have let us down, without question. What we get from them is spin, political pandering, and an unwillingness to look facts in the eye and tell us the truth.
The truth is that no one person can steer the American economy or affect it in any measurable way. Certainly not the president. Tax cuts help the economy, but the federal government can help us the most by cutting spending across the board.
Where oil is concerned, we're all to blame. Americans like cheap gasoline and big vehicles. We have no right to expect one when the other drives up consumption to a ridiculous level. Congress pandered to the environmental lobbyists in restricting oil and gas exploration, and now we're paying the price at the pump.
"Energy independence" is a fraud. We simply use too much oil, and any substitute will take years to have a marginal effect. The same for "global warming." Without major technological breakthroughs, making big cuts in greenhouse gases will be impossible.
The candidates from both parties need to come clean with the American people and find long-term solutions to the issues that face this country. Anything else is just talk.
Jay Johnson, St. Petersburg
Look beyond feelings
Good for all the Barack Obama supporters who showed up in Tampa Wednesday. It's all about feeling good about yourself and doing what you feel is right. If he brings people together, then that's a good thing. It's good to see blacks and whites marching together.
It's just too bad that's what is fueling this candidacy. It's the feeling that we're doing something right by voting for him because it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling all over. This is how America makes decisions now.
I'll be going to the booth in November and voting for the person I feel is the best candidate, be it black, white, yellow, green, man, or woman, and I won't feel guilty for doing it.
Eric Hinote, Largo
Clinton invokes 2000 in quest to count Fla.
May 22, story
Her concern comes late
So now Hillary Clinton thinks that counting the Florida delegate votes is important to winning the election in November and that the "path to the White House runs right through Florida …"
Well, I happen to agree with her. Unfortunately, it did not seem quite so important to her before the Florida primary in January when her opinion might have meant something. Back then she was all too eager to go along with the Democratic Party's decision to strip the Florida voters of their vote, even pledging not to campaign here.
Of course, at that time it was the New Hampshire and Nevada voters she was pandering to because she needed their votes. Now she finds she needs Florida's, so here she is.
Perhaps if she and the other candidates hadn't been so short-sighted and had made an issue of it back then, the party might have rethought its decision, and this whole fiasco could have been avoided.
Michael Ross, Pinellas Park
A preoccupied candidate
Sen. Hillary Clinton's comments about the disenfranchisement of those who voted in the primary election is given prominent coverage, but there's no mention of those voters who would be truly disenfranchised if the rules are changed: the voters who stayed away because they understood that their votes wouldn't count.
The rules were clear at the time of the election. The actual injustice would occur if Clinton's proposal is accepted to ratify the election by changing the rules after the election. This constitutes an election under fraudulent circumstances.
There also is scant discussion that she failed to mention the issue until the eve of the Florida primary. Disenfranchisement is a powerful accusation, yet when questioned why she waited, she laughingly said, "I was a little preoccupied. I was trying to stay alive, frankly."
Being distracted and failing to anticipate such an important issue — both for her own campaign and Florida voters — is not a good indicator of her executive abilities.
Joe O'Connor, St. Petersburg
Obama's too liberal
I do not have anything against liberals. I am one. I voted for Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry. Of course, all three lost. (I guess I do have something against liberals.) I believe that Barack Obama will lose in November. The Democratic Party needs to go back to school to learn the lessons of the past.
We Democrats love liberal candidates, but they do not win the presidency. Obama is definitely a liberal. The case will be that he is too liberal for America. Some will say he is elitist. The answers he has provided, while good enough to win Democrats, are not good enough to win centrist independent voters. And the Democrats need the votes of the independents to win the presidency.
The Clinton strategy produced the only Democrat to win two presidential elections since FDR. Unfortunately for the country, at a time when we need Democratic leadership, the party is failing the test.
Mark Stephens, Land O'Lakes
McCain swipes at Obama over policy on Cuba
May 21, story
McCain policy misses boat
Sen. John McCain's foray into Florida only proves one thing: As far as the people of Cuba go, the GOP still doesn't care about Cubans. McCain only wants the votes from the staunchly Republican Cuban community of South Florida. He would strengthen embargoes against the Cuban people, making it even more difficult for them to live with even the minimal requirements Americans take for granted.
How long does anyone think Fidel or Raul Castro could last if people could get basic foodstuffs without waiting in line for hours, or other goods now looked at as "luxuries." How long will the Communists stay in power when the people of Cuba are able to see outside their country and know what things the rest of the world commonly enjoys? But our treatment of Cuba only serves to strengthen their resolve to maintain Castro's Cuba as Communist if for nothing more than national pride at sticking its tongue out at the "Yankee imperialists."
There is no defense for Castro , however, had the American government not been so foolish as to cause economic hardship and other misery for the Cuban people, they might have long ago thrown off the Communist dictatorship they've lived under since 1959.
Gerald E. Ford, Largo
Is it just me, or have you, too, noticed a ramping up of the everyday level of discourteousness, short-temperedness and just plain nastiness — verging on almost losing it — in the ordinary social interactions of life? Road rage is a prime example of what I am referring to, taken to a high level. It seems the fabric of civility is unraveling. Let me count the ways:
• High prices are rampant, and still going up, at the gas pump, the supermarket — everywhere. It hurts, and it is causing people to skimp, cut back, do without and generally feel downtrodden.
• The housing fiasco. People who want to sell their houses cannot, insurance is unaffordable, the value of people's homes goes down, the adjustable-rate mortgage adjusts way up and an increasing number of homes are vacant and in foreclosure.
• The unending drone of political ads, accusations, lies and dirty tricks seems only to stir up bad feelings and engender divisiveness.
So I find myself a little piqued these days, and I haven't even mentioned bird flu, global warming, terrorism, asteroids from outer space, the aging and decay of our infrastructure throughout the country and other goodies. Oh well, hurricane season is only about a week away. Good luck to us all.
Morris A. Spector, St. Petersburg
Feeling a loss
It is with despair that we listened to the news of Ted Kennedy's brain tumor and wondered who would take his place in the Senate should it take its toll. Ted Kennedy has been the backbone of the Democratic Party for so many years. He has been a boon for the people of this country and the thought that we may lose him is too much to bear.
My husband and I wish him well and hope something will be found to keep him whole and able to continue his constructive work in the Senate.
Judith M. Stevens, Clearwater