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INCUMBENTS WHO AVOID DEBATES SHOULD LOSE VOTES

Incumbents take pass on debates - Oct. 15, story

For many years now members of both parties have put themselves above the electorate because we "automatically" voted the same way. But some of those elected by us have now decided that since things aren't going so well, keeping out of the public arena is the best thing for them to do.

The first hint that your representative, senator, governor, vice president or president doesn't have your interest at heart is when he/she puts his/her interest, that of being re-elected, ahead of your need to know what they have been doing over the past years.

I don't know what kind of elected official you want, but I want to know if the people I vote for can stand the heat of a local debate before I send them back, with our money, to Washington, D.C. If you, the electorate, vote for any politician who refuses to discuss matters of local, regional, national and international interest before the general public, then the next time your taxes go up, or your home and stock values go down, or your job goes overseas, or you can't send your kids to quality schools, you have no one to blame but the person in the mirror.

It's time we started electing people who can tell the truth about how things really are. It's not about why we need to replace our elected officials, but why we should keep them. And if they can't do that in a debate with someone who wants to replace them, then my decision on Election Day will be real simple.

Laurence F. Wydetic, Tampa

Questionable patriotism

When will the Republicans learn that they don't have a monopoly on patriotism and support for our troops? Cindy McCain's comments doubting Barack Obama's support for the troops based on his voting record are a bit hypocritical. Obama's record is not perfect, but Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America rate both him and Sen. Joe Biden (who has a son deployed in Iraq too) with a grade of B. Our U.S. senators, Bill Nelson (A') and Mel Martinez (B), both rated highly.

What Mrs. McCain failed to mention in her insensible appeal to emotion was that her husband was rated with a D and had missed four key veterans affairs-related Senate votes this year. This puts him at the bottom of the barrel on veterans affairs among senators.

Perhaps the shrill demagoguery we are hearing from the likes of Sarah Palin and Cindy McCain is stirring their base, but thinking voters aren't being fooled. Quit trying to hide behind the flag.

Thomas LaPorta, Palm Harbor

Unremarkable deal - Oct. 15, letter

Notable gamesmanship

Here we are in the midst of a financial crisis caused, at least in part, by banks providing mortgages to unqualified buyers and the letter writer cannot understand why the Times would give front-page coverage to a story about state Rep. Darryl Rouson having received a $263,000 loan when the bank was fully aware that he was in bankruptcy!

It sounds like the letter writer is proud of the fact that Darryl Rouson has learned to "play the game."

Bob Lindskog, Palm Harbor

The new 'Vette hits town - Oct. 10, and Behold, the king of all Corvettes - Oct. 11

American excess

Has everyone in this country been brainwashed to believe that the lifestyles, morals and values of Hollywood and television have become reality? The stock market is imploding almost as fast as the new Corvette can run. People can no longer afford their home mortgages, taxes or insurance, but for two days in a row the Times has reviewed the 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

Now Florida drivers, for a mere $117,000, can own a massive 638-horsepower engine gulping high-priced premium gas while moving a car length at a time in rush-hour traffic, secure in the knowledge that at any moment, if a gap opens, they can tickle the gas pedal and get to the next red light faster than anyone else.

Geesh! It's no wonder GM is on the verge of bankruptcy! In fact, all of the American auto manufacturers must have taken a page out of George W. Bush's playbook called, "staying the course," building cars that nobody wants.

America's love affair with excess must end if we are to survive the tough road ahead.

Everett Melnick, St. Petersburg

My first car - Oct. 6

Gas costs are relative

One of the cars featured last week had a picture from 1946 and included the statement that gas only cost 30 cents a gallon, the word "only" giving the impression that gas was really cheap.

According to the government CPI Web calculator, gas that cost 30 cents per gallon in 1946 would be $3.37 today!

Donald Haselwood, Lutz

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