In today's real world, a vote for Ralph Nader is a back-door vote for George W. Bush. It gives tacit approval to this Republican-controlled administration's policies. The 2000 vote for Nader was a repudiation of the previous eight years' success in finally balancing the budget without hurting the middle class, and a repudiation of an administration that chose to work harder to attain peace rather than wage pre-emptive war.
Many years ago I had great admiration and respect for Ralph Nader. I still respect his work as a consumer advocate but do not admire the road he took in 2000.
I have a wish. It is that Ralph Nader do what he does best: marshal his faithful army, work with the next administration and solve our health care crisis. I am one of the millions priced out of health insurance. The Bush health savings accounts do not help me.
T. Mahoney, Tampa
Follow the money
Re: Bipartisan big spenders, editorial, Sept. 21.
You say John Kerry's plan will cost us $2-trillion and George W. Bush's plan will cost $3-trillion. Then you say that $2-trillion of the Bush plan will go to privatizing Social Security and $1-trillion will go to making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Kerry's plan, on the other hand, will result in $2-trillion coming right out of our pockets.
I fail to see how Bush's plan, which lets us keep $3-trillion for ourselves, is worse than Kerry putting his hand in our pockets for $2-trillion. As I see it, the difference in the two plans is that the liberal tax-and-spend Democrats will lose $3-trillion under the Bush plan but will gain $2-trillion under the Kerry plan. I'll take the Bush plan any day.
Richard Mack, Dunnellon
Debt for future generations
Re: His urgent message about the deficit is reaching its audience, Sept. 13.
Robert Trigaux's article, if not Peter G. Peterson's book, should be mandatory reading for all Americans.
We have a national debt that's approaching $7.4-trillion, and we're spending $7.4-million per hour on Iraq. If we had used just a fraction of this to fight terrorism, Osama bin Laden would be history. And think of what we could have done here for education and our crumbling infrastructure. My children, your children and grandchildren will be saddled with this debt.
Alan G. Nelson, St. Pete Beach
Politicians should act on beliefs
This election year, we have all heard ad nauseam politicians say they are "personally opposed to abortion" but they couldn't impose this belief on others. I can't imagine a more cowardly statement. The primary reason someone would be opposed to abortion lies in the belief that it takes an innocent human life.
Politicians can ignore crimes against humanity to avoid taking a courageous political position. I hope America's social decline hasn't fallen so precipitously that "personally opposed to, but .
." passes for political leadership.
Ponder the long-term consequences for a society that elects leaders who say they wouldn't do anything to stop what they acknowledge is wrong. Eighteenth century British statesman Edmund Burke still cries out to us today: "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
James Connolly, Tampa
Kerry's not much better
Re: Not easy to vote your beliefs, letter, Sept. 22.
I can agree with the letter writer when she says that she wishes a presidential candidate who espoused all of her beliefs existed. However, that is about the only statement she makes with which I can agree, for I seem to detect the inference that she leans toward a vote for Kerry.
This is interesting since she goes on to mention our courageous troops in Iraq _ we all know Kerry voted to give the president authority to invade Iraq, and we also all know that he also voted against funding our troops; certainly not a safeguarding measure.
She talks about economic policies dictated by the wealthy _ is there anyone on the face of the earth who is more infatuated with and impressed by wealth than Kerry? Take a look at the number of homes, automobiles and every other creature comfort that he has and then compare that with the average American.
That's the kind of a person she thinks should lead this country?
C. Jane Rankie, Sun City Center
It was perfectly logical for conservative Americans to vote for George W. Bush in 2000. Just as it was right that all Americans rallied to the president during our time of national crisis.
However, in spite of the existing atmosphere of permanent crisis, not all conservatives have felt compelled to temper our convictions.
Many true conservatives question the legitimacy and the wisdom of the war on Iraq, how it has been waged, and what it is now costing us, economically, politically and spiritually.
We don't agree that getting Saddam was more important than getting Osama.
There are conservatives who are still angry about the handcuffing and stonewalling of the 9/11 commission.
Some of us do care who really wrote and is profiting from Vice President Cheney's energy and environmental policies, and are unhappy with the drastic changes in direction and protections.
Conservative parents share the distress of Republican governors over the unfunded No Child Left Behind Act and its effect on our schools and our children.
Many of us question the fairness of the Bush tax "relief" and are greatly concerned about the debt we are leaving our children.
Conservatives believe in the American Dream, and we know that it can't be available to our children if health care is not.
Being conservative means believing in traditional values, such as these. Sometimes being conservative means believing change is necessary.
Mark McKinney, St. Petersburg
This vote's for sale
This is an open invitation to both the Democratic and Republican parties to "purchase" my vote (and likely the votes of many others) and it's not only legal but comes with millions of dollars in free advertising as well.
How, you ask? It's rather simple. The first party to take $2-million "earmarked" for political advertising and set up a fund to aid to the families of those killed in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other current "active duty" service can have my vote.
Imagine the free advertising. More importantly, imagine the good $2-million can do in the hands of those in need. And imagine how many others would be swayed to vote for the party that puts its money where its mouth is.
Vincent Roth, Spring Hill