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American Values, L.A. readers

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As the Los Angeles Times editorial board wraps up its series on American Values in the 2008 presidential campaign, we've asked readers for their own endorsements and ideas on the campaign. The readers' response, ranging from calls for experience and hope to critiques of the Times' bias to exuberant calls to Go Ron Paul, has been gratifying. Below you'll find the first blast of reactions.If you haven't already piped up, you can email us at opinionla@latimes.com, comment in the discussion boards for any of our election-related articles (including this one) or contact us the old-fashioned way with a letter to the editor. You can also leave a thought in the comments at the Opinion L.A. blog, where we will also be keeping track of ideas on the 2008 campaign you continue to send us.

Look for the Times to choose a Republican and a Democratic candidate in the coming weeks, and to pick a final nominee once the party conventions are over. We'll also be posting updated election-related articles, opinions, multimedia and factoids at our endorsements section latimes.com/values08. We look forward to hearing from you as the longest campaign season on record rolls on throughout the year.

Your picks for president

Much of western Europe already looks at us as a bit naive due to our loving embrace of religion. The election of a President who does not accept evolution as fact would make us a laughing-stock in much of the educated world.

Ray HemphillBurbank


I have read your series on American Values and other items regarding the next election; I have listened to parts of debates; and I have asked myself what, if anything, is the current administration doing wrong. All of these have gone into my attempt to decide where to place my vote in a little over a month's time. Although in general I share much of the Times world-view I must note that I do disagree in several areas. But I do believe that the major stand that "my" candidate should take is regarding government regulation.

The Bush administration and seemingly the Republican Party as a whole has been systematically dismantling our regulatory system. We face the destruction of the natural habitat, because the Bush administration attacks any defense thereof. Unions cannot effectively lobby for appropriate workplace protections and appropriate levels of training and pay, because the administration is so supportive of any regulation that restricts business. We allow unrestricted mistreatment of foreign "fighters" and their unauthorized imprisonment, although this is directly counter to the whole basis of our constitution. Even the courts are now ruling that regulation is restrictive of good business. All this must stop, as sensible regulation is good for the country and good for business. The charges of "nanny-government" are more than offset by the failure of regulators to protect where no one else can.

Who, then, will best champion this view? In my mind the answer is neither of the two front running Democrats or any Republican. The two front runners on the Democratic side seem to willing to compromise with business interests to the detriment of the whole. The Republicans never saw a regulation they were willing to enforce if business objected. The electable (unfortunately I must consider that) of the candidates that I believe would go the furthest in this area (without becoming a nanny) is John Edwards.

Edwards is the only candidate talking about the needs of the working man for unions. He is also the candidate who fought big business excesses. I also believe he comes closest of the major candidates in providing the type of leadership which will once again restore protection of our national landscape.

Admittedly, we do have differences of opinion, as I admit to having with the L.A. Times, but to my mind his direction in most areas is the most rational, sensible and worthy of a vote.

Leon C. BennettWhittier


My husband and I support John Edwards for President of the United States. We will be voting for him because he is the only candidate who realizes that corporate influences over government are the biggest threats to our democracy.

Virginia and Reed TibbettsTustin


I cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has the temperament, intelligence, experience, and judgment that will enable her to be an effective president who will serve all of the people and who will work to restore our nation's credibility and reputation abroad. I want to thank you for the "American Values" series.

Gary NagyGardena


In response to your invitation, I am supporting John Edwards. I think his message--that government has become the pawn and protector of big business at the expense of the citizenry it was hired to represent--is valid. But I'd also like to say that I might be endorsing Joe Biden, who is more experienced than Clinton who is running on her experience, except that I'm sure he won't be on the ballot by the time the primary reaches Connecticut. And that's too bad. Most of the mainstream media covers only the top three candidates (per the latest polls) rather than affording all the candidates equal time. By highlighting only the presumptive contenders, the choice each American gets is diluted. Of course most of the media is owned by big business these days, adding some legitimacy to Mr. Edwards claims.

Gretchen AdamekEast Hartford, CT


Principled Paul, protecting Peter

Painful experience has taught Americans to expect hypocrisy from politicians, who compete primarily (and all-too entrepreneurially) by offering to rob Peter to pay Paul. That is why a politician who consistently follows principle merits support from citizens, but attracts abuse from the backers and machines of others seeking votes.

The only candidate who refuses to sacrifice principle is Ron Paul. He alone will not compromise the limited defensible federal role our Constitution establishes to buy votes, which empowers political victors to impose harm on others in order to deliver on their campaign promises. He is the only clear voice for those appalled at ever-expanding government and what H.L. Mencken called the "advance auction of stolen goods" elections have become, as illustrated by his rivals' obeisance to ethanol subsidies in Iowa campaigning.

Paul knows that better government requires far less government.

Paul believes government's role must be strictly limited to policies clearly advancing the "general welfare," benefiting all of us, rather than some of us at others' expense, echoing America's founders. Instead of fostering wasteful bureaucracies and erosions of individual rights, which strip away self-ownership, he recognizes that government's central role is to enforce property rights--defending citizens against others' aggressive use of force--so all can increase their welfare through voluntary arrangements. In such a world, no one could use government to pick citizens' pockets and incomes would be earned solely by providing benefits to others.

Paul recognizes the inherent danger of government--the capture of its power by organized special interests, who use it to advance their objectives by imposing costs on everyone else. He knows that all Americans cannot gain from that process, as less effective political competitors will lose (including the poor, who are used to rationalize so many interventions).

Paul would end all government subsidies from others' pockets (even those that benefit him, illustrated by his refusal to accept matching government campaign funds). He would terminate government policies depriving taxpayers of income and restricting citizen choices, but failing to achieve (and often undermining) their intended results. He would stop government redistribution of wealth, which forces involuntary, harmful "trades" on citizens without their consent. He would abandon all "soak the rich" policies, as the way sellers get wealthier in market economies is by benefiting others, who are therefore willing to voluntarily buy from them (a characteristic not shared by government interventions). He would treat Americans as adults, unlocking the tightening shackles on our personal freedoms. He is the only candidate who would end the hidden tax that is inflation, as well as explicit taxes unnecessary for an appropriately downscaled federal government. And he would apply the same standards to America's international actions, as with his opposition to all military actions exceeding those actually required for America's defense.

Ron Paul is the heir to the view that inspired America's founders. He believes in liberty from coercion, whether in the form of taxes funding wasteful and ineffective programs or restrictions on individuals' choices of working arrangements, lifestyle, medicine, etc., as long as they do not infringe on others' equal rights.

Ron Paul, who attracts support whenever people discover what he has always stood for, is increasingly attacked or dismissed. But unlike him, those willing to abuse logic and twist evidence in the pursuit of political power cannot be trusted not to abuse that power over others, once they have it. Others may rob Peter to pay Paul, but Ron Paul would protect Peter instead.

Ron Paul is the alternative to holding your nose when voting. He allows Americans to actually vote for the principles that made this country great, rather than for the one they think can steal more effectively on their behalf. He is the only candidate that sends a serious message that you believe abuses of government power should stop and are willing to give up those abuses you benefit from to stop all those abuses.

Gary M. Galles, Professor of EconomicsPepperdine University Malibu


(1) Competence. The current presidency has amply demonstrated the hazards of selecting a president based on a few hot-button issues of the moment, instead of the person's experience, knowledge of the world, and skills. In view of the damage the Bush administration has done to the United States and its international standing, it is especially important to choose someone with a solid background in both domestic and international affairs.

(2) Electability. Either party's nominee for president should partner skills and experience with relative invulnerability to lowest-common-denominator attack politics. The temptation to sink into the muck in a campaign only damages the respect for whatever candidate wins the election and reduces the chances for civility in government. The parties should therefore avoid a candidate whose political or personal history opens them up to the worst in American politics. It is impossible to avoid all negativity, of course, but why ask for it?

To my mind, only one candidate crosses both thresholds: Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. As a congressman for 14 years, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, energy secretary, and two-term governor, Richardson has broad experience in both legislative and executive branches of government, in addition to executive experience in the private sector as a businessman. He has been employed for years by presidents as a diplomatic hot shot, negotiating hostage releases and other sticky international problems. This work has earned him four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. As a governor he has demonstrated fiscal responsibility and innovation in improving a poor state's standing in educational and economic measures; his record earned him reelection with a landslide 69 percent of the vote--especially extraordinary for a Democrat in a Republican-leaning state.

Speaking as a westerner, I like the idea of a president who understands western issues and recognizes the growing significance of the left third of the nation.

If you tune out the noise of the campaign (name recognition, money) and look at the qualifications of the candidates, Bill Richardson stands out in the crowd.

Abigail BokTopanga


I am supporting Hillary because I believe she has the best experience and perseverance to take on the major domestic challenges in our country, whether it be healthcare, energy independence, global warming, or immigration. She would resolve the mess we are in internationally and through knowledgeable and aggressive diplomacy restore America's image in the world. It will be a huge responsibility to be the first woman president -- just as it would be for Obama, if he were elected, to be the first African American. As President, each would be held to a very high standard, constantly needing to rise above the criticisms of those who may harbor bias toward a woman or an African American. They will, as any president would, face confrontation and resistance by the opposing party as well as by difficult world leaders. Only, Hillary has proven that she has the resilience and gumption to stay strong and keep on course if she were President. I am not at all convinced that Obama would be able withstand that pressure. There is wisdom, (lessons learned) and determination that is gained when you have gone through the fire as Hillary has. Obama has yet to experience that in his career and just willing it so does not make it so.

I thought Hillary showed courage in voting for the recent Iran resolution that was so unpopular with the other democratic candidates. There was no saber rattling intended in that vote. She judged that the resolution would be a tool in negotiating with Iran. Obama was not present for that vote. Why, if it was so important. wasn't he?. Why has he a record of taking a pass on many legistative bills in the Illinois Senate? A President can't dodge these kinds of issues with empty words. Action is what counts and Hillary has had a very clear record of fighting for and standing up for her values. She has been a steadfast advocate for universal heathcare, women and children's rights, a respected member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and won her second term as New York State Senator with 67% majority. That by itself says a lot.

Sandy Grasso-BoydSanta Barbara


Like millions of American citizens, I am currently evaluating the field of individuals running for President.

I find your series titled "American Values and the Next President" to be consistent with the Los Angeles Times single sided left wing views.

While trying to appear objective, the series reads like talking points for the Democratic Party, and another opportunity to bash our current Commander in Chief, President Bush.

I am looking for a Presidential candidate with vision and an ability to execute in the areas of security, economic growth and social welfare. Unfortunately your series pays too little attention to security and threats our country faces in today's dangerous world.

If you want to provide a valuable service to your readers and our country, I suggest the the Los Angeles Times go outside its editorial board, which is clearly dominated by a liberal agenda, and contract with a conservative writer to give an alternate view of American Values.

Michael SchmittManhattan Beach


A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ARE SUPPORTING JOHN EDWARDS . THESE PEOPLE ARE POLITICALLY SAVY, FOR THE MOST PART, AND ACTIVE DEMOCRATS WHO LIKE HIS PHILOSOPHY ON CHAMPIONING THE MIDDLE CLASS AND FIGHTING CORPORATE GREED. WE THINK HE HAS AN EXCELLENT CHANCE TO DEFEAT ANY OF THE REPUBLICANS RUNNING. THIS ADMINSTRATION HAS TAINTED AND TARNISHED THE REPUTATION OF A RATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY. LOVE YOUR EDITORIALS, ESPECIALLY LATELY AND REPORTS ON ZIMBABWE AND OTHER FASCINATING THINGS, LIKE THE HOMELESS LIVING IN THEIR CARS IN SANTA BARBARA.

Prudence Tedder


For this California kid, John McCain is the man, remains so, and forever will have been right for this juncture in American history, whatever the outcome of the 2008 primaries. He has consistently and with great political risk addressed challenging causes which instill anxiety among core conservatives for their reach, yet demonstrate an astute understanding of contemporary modernity and man. (I imagine 64 months as a POW will do so to ya, much in the way Kurt Vonnegut's eloquent humanism rooted in his experience as a POW in Germany attracted an enormous crowd of fans and believers.) I think I can be brief here, out of respect for the late, great Vonnegut: To our Republican friends and critics, lest your poor, powerful souls be in disrepair after a McCain nomination this summer, take heart: it really is a stretch to say the framers of the constitution equated money and speech so literally â money in politics, aka special interests, must be addressed. Pork is the operational equivalent of entrenched government. The slogan 'No amnesty' represents a misunderstanding of the complexity of the legislative mission in recalibrating American immigration post-9/11. At the operation level, immigration is truly an odd mix of arcane bureaucratic rules juxtaposed with deep-seated human values. As a beacon of hope and freedom, even if more symbolically than in fact during these crazy times, the letter and spirit of law must continue to prevail. To evangelicals: religion as a policy foundation is fine at the purely local level â your own behavior, for instance â but separation of church and state importantly applies to the presidency, for goodness sake. California makes this stand, as the McCain delegation will tell you. Anger and madness are the discharge of passion and ignorance â John McCain possesses only the former. A quick wit and sense of humor carry the day in his office. While ever-lower taxes may remain the creed of our political being as a party, let's not be so quick to dissolve the role of effective bipartisan government as we lose jobs and industry to China, money, security and a sense of well-being to south Asia, and, some would say, face to the Old World, from the Bush II era. This McCain supporter happens to think Bush did quite well with an extremely difficult situation. Yet we recognize that the American military mission abroad urgently needs a true Commander-in-Chief, and we have a fix. And, finally, finally, it is not moronic to believe that man's great achievements built on the ingenious combination of fossil fuels with the combustible engine are nonetheless having a deleterious effect on earth's surface, aka our environment, nor are our consumption and spending habits permanently sustainable. Please. The time is now for positive change in these areas. All the foregoing is championed by John McCain, and in my humble opinion, each alone independently carries enough weight for a vote for president of the United States in these times, as well many of you maintain in the negative. Thank you in advance for your enthusiastic vote for Senator McCain in November.

Russ WilsonSan Diego


If you are looking for the best possible endorsement for the Presidency, you would have to choose somewhat equally between John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, or Bill Richardson. All three represent good ideological thinking about the country. They are the only candidates dedicated to resolving the huge economic disparities that have developed in this country, and have reasonable plans to take the US military out of an illegal and immoral war in Iraq. If you want a compromise candidate who almost certainly will successfully mediate between the two major parties, your best selection, and one I would approve, would be Hillary Clinton. She has not taken up the impossible extremes that I support (but which will not be adopted anyways) but will almost certainly work for more equality of opportunity for our less favored citizens, and less slavish support of the most well-off in the country. She is the one best suited to bridge the gap between the parties, and no doubt best prepared and capable of instituting universal health care, and evenness in foreign policy. She has great resources in her husband. She is a little too establishment for me, but I'm sure she will fit the LA Times criteria for innovation and compromise.

But, please, please--don't be cynical or patronzing by supporting any Republican. That party is personally, morally bankrupt, and is bankrupting the country at the same time. Anytime you have a businessman like Mitt Romney running for the Republican nomination who has actually used off-shore tax havens to assist in his personal amassing of millions of dollars you truly have a picture of a sleazy party which needs to be turned out of office immediately. An even worse choice is Rudy Guiliani, an abrasive, maverick New Yorker who has an ego in which only he can believe. Or, a Mike Huckabee who truly represents a dangerous religious reliance that borders on superstition that is just plain nonsensical. What is wrong with "Middle America?" They are like a place in a Tolkien fantasy.

Good luck. As a responsible daily paper in the second largest city in America, which is also probably the most liberal area in America, any choice you make will be difficult.

By the way, I hope you aren't going to just tally the support letters for all the candidates and judge that way. That would be a bummer. I assume that your selection will be thoughtful and offer clarification.

Ralph MitchellMonterey Park


The Times' editors continue to distort the record of the Bush Administration, a result of a prejudice born of its liberal bias and disappointment that neither Gore nor Kerry defeated Bush! They argue for "liberty" while championing "death by choice" of the unborn, the right of gays to legally restrict the great majority to be critical of their lifestyle and the campaign (AB777) to indoctrinate children. They allege the "erosion of liberty" while making the bogus and unsubstantiated assertion that there has been a "weakening of the nation's security, piling on debt, smirking over global warming and sowing divisiveness for political gain."

Bush has strengthened our national security â and there is no one â including the Times editorialists who have suffered by the security measures taken! Remember 9/11? The debt has been amplified by "earmarks", a major delight of the Democrats! Criticism of Gore's politicization of global warming and the question whether it is induced by humans is not "smirking"!

Liberty? I wish to be free in 2008 of the Times editorial hypocrisy and the Democrats' divisiveness towards the Republicans and our military based on their objective to gain the Whitehouse in 2008.

Otis Page Arroyo Grande


This campaign is about who will be the next president of the United States. Hillary is ready to be president from day one. She has the experience to serve this country both domestically and internationally. She knows how Congress and the White House works. She already has the respect of leaders around the world which will enable us to restore American leadership abroad. She is committed to ending the war in Iran. Her declaration at the Beijing Conference that "Women's Rights are Human Rights" resonated throughout the world.

We know what Hillary will do once in office because we can look at her record. HIllary stands up and fights when she has to. As a young lawyer she worked to protect children and while in the White House she was instrumental in creating the Children's Health Insurance Program. Hillary has the ability to bring people together. While in the Senate, she built coalitions helping to pass legislation for healthcare, veterans, technology, reproductive rights and AIDS. She has the best policy proposals for going forward: universal health care, affordable and accessible childcare, and an energy program based on research and conservation. The best way to bring about change is through experience!

Hillary has the political and personal strength Democrats need to win in "08. She been named the most admired woman in the national Gallup poll for the last five years and she is continually rated among the top Democratic contenders as the most experienced. She was so successful representing New York State that she won reelection by 67% of the vote. Finally, she is "battle-tested" and proven over and over that she can succeed.

On the most personal of notes, Hillary Clinton has worked all her adult life on the issues that are most important to me. In politics, there are always wins and losses. True leadership is demonstrated by standing up for issues you know are important even when there are constituencies, communities or institutions that will oppose you. Hillary has done that every time!

Susan J. Rose Santa Barbara County Supervisor, ret. Santa Barbara


Even tho she is not a true Democrat I am reluctantly going to vote for Clinton.

Janet Lukes


Since you asked, here is my opinion on whom you should support:

1. I support Gov. Richardson - because he combines greater experience with diplomacy and international relations than the other candidates and also has experience as governor of a major state and a member of the Cabinet.

Foreign policy experience is important, as demonstrated by the disastrous Bush Presidency, and we cannot afford another leader requiring on the job training. In my mind, that eliminates all the Democrats except Biden, Dodd and Richardson, and all the Republicans except McCain.

2. Ideally, we need a 3rd party that would draw from the centrists in the two major parties. Perhaps the Unity08 group might gain traction.

3. California should modify our State Constitution to ensure that our primary is held one day before that of any other state. Economically and politically we are the most important state in the union. It's time we assume that role in selecting candidates. To allow the present situation to continue (i.e 30,000 people in the all white state of Iowa playing such a major role) would be absurd.

Dan SuchmanGoleta


Your editorial today, "The blessings of liberty" asked for input on who we support for president and why.

I've written many letters to the Times on the values of liberty and the libertarian ideals. I've written about the destruction of the Constitution; the corruption of our monetary system; the illegal interventions into foreign countries; etc. etc. - and you have printed some of them. But no one single letter can even touch on this subject of who should be the next president, so I will try to address the subject of liberty that was the title of today's editorial.

I think it should be obvious that any American who really values liberty, would support a president that promises to defend the Constitution, and really means it. There is really only one person running who has a track record over the last 30 years of supporting and defending the Constitution, and his name is Ron Paul. Since the Constitution is a document which restricts government, and not citizens, it is our only protection against infringements on our liberty. Only our own government restricts our freedoms. If we ignore this legacy of the founding fathers, we will not be upholding the republic that Benjamin Franklin admonished us to keep. He also warned us not to sacrifice it for temporary security as we have been doing since 9/11.

And a Constitution that can be interpreted in the most tortured ways will no longer protect us. For one example, the interstate commerce clause has been used to gut almost all the restrictions placed on the Federal Government. For example, growing legal medical marijuana entirely inside California, and used by the grower would seem to have little to do with interstate commerce, yet the Supreme Court held that anything that touches on commerce of any kind is bound to cross some state border, and therefore Congress can write any law it wishes. This is not law, this is simply magic and hand waving by judges who pretend they are upholding the Constitution while ruling according to their own personal preferences.

This is just one of the reasons that I support Ron Paul - the true champion of the Constitution. Ron Paul would not only defend the Constitution, he would appoint judges that do so also. He would have an attorney general that wasn't a complete liar with a defective memory. Ron would eliminate all the previous executive orders that violate the Constitution.

I don't think I can say it much better than Mr. Lawrence Lepard who has now spent over $100,000 of his own money to talk to the American people about Ron Paul. If you need any more reasons, you can look at this statement which he paid to appear in the New York Times:

http://www.dailypaul.com/files/common-sense-2-nyt.pdf

Eric Taylor Sunland


It's A Sad Day When Editorialists Won't Arrive at an Opinion on Their Own

Reading the editorial today was gratifying until I came to "we hope to hear your views before we settle on our own." What is wrong with you people?

You are the media.

You are the ones with facts at your fingertips.

You are the ones to rise above emotion and choose someone, even if you don't like them, based on what you think is best for our country.

Why would you want my opinion when so many people vote against their own best interests based upon liking/disliking a candidate?

This is opinion poll tested at its worst. If you can't come up with your own opinion, who am I to share mine with you?

Respectfully Appalled,

Carole Cogswell


The one thing I am sure of is that is was written for the people to keep the government in control. No government should be able to alter it without the people's vote directly⦠not congress, they are bought and sold already. Sadly. The government should have no power to alter the constitution in any way, again, without the people's vote. They serve us, we are not slaves.

Peace.

AMERICA NEEDS A DOCTOR... NOT A LAWYER!! VOTE RON PAUL

DJ


Your series was right on point, especially your final position titled, " The Blessings of Liberty " .

I want to thank you for your research and information. I only hope others have read the series and have made mental notes.

Louis E. Franyi


Gentlefolk:

I am happy to affirm my support of Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States. Like many, I was first attracted to Sen. Obama by his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention. What made me a fervent advocate of his candidacy was the reading of his two books: Dreams From My Father, and The Audacity of Hope. These spoke to me in a way no other politician has since 1968. Three things stand out for me. First, he rekindles my faith in the possibility that this country could live up to its professed ideals, that I could once again feel proud to sing the national anthem, and to believe that our democratic system is not merely the best of many bad choices of government.

Second, and equally important, is his clear thinking emphasis on the importance of rationality, as opposed to ideological preconception, in addressing the very real dangers threatening my children and grandchildren, and the concomitant appeal to all persons of good will, regardless of party, to use the best of their abilities in facing up to these issues. And finally, by his very person he offers us the chance to transcend at long last the heritage of slavery which has always been the nightmare behind our dreams of a golden city on the hill, and to present to the world a different face of America.

Peter W. WoodruffLong Beach


I agree wholeheartedly on the need for a "a return to strength tempered by humility, for an era of decency and mutual respect rather than the blunt exercise of force." I also agree that we need to find new leadership on helping the poor and troubled in this country, but I disagree that this has to come from the government. The government is the problem, not the solution. In our nation's past, we had much more extreme poverty at times but handled it better, with more intact families and communities, less despair, and a network of private charities where people *became directly involved* in the problems going on around them. Having been both a small business owner and active volunteer as well as a disabled worker down-on-his-luck, I have seen both sides of the fence: Government entitlement programs degrade the people they help, prop up dysfunctional social systems, and trap people who really do want to change their situations. As John Denver said, "My heart hurts worse than my belly."

Every troubled person's situation is unique. True compassion requires sharing their pain and suffering with them, not just paying a tax return. Real charity is most often given in time or in kind, not money, tailored to the situation. No static entitlement system and stack of forms can ever discern the difference between someone playing the system and someone really trying to get help, let alone provide the specific kind of help; it is hard enough for volunteers with direct involvement and experience. The government should provide the meanest of safety nets, ensuring that people do not starve to death, and no more. Get the government out of the way and let real charity back into the fight. Cut the budgets, give the money back to the individuals to donate where they see fit. True, some people won't, but many will, and is it really moral to force 'charity' at the point of a gun?

I am supporting Ron Paul for this and other reasons. He understands that we need to dramatically reduce the role of government in our lives (and increase our own roles in our country). He understands that we cannot keep fiddling in the governments of foreign nations and yet that we still need a strong and active defense, a strong and active role in the world. He understands that giving up our freedoms to the police does not make us any safer. Most of all, though, he is the only candidate who admits that we need to make choices: that we cannot do everything, that he cannot please everyone, and that things that we might like need to go away in favor of things we need. Everyone else just says they will cut taxes while talking about the wonderful things they will spend our money on to buy our votes. Dr. Paul is the rare true moderate in today's politics who looks radical in comparison to everyone else.

I am enjoying your series on the election, keep it coming.

Sincerely,

Eric Vought


To Whom it May Concern(LATimesEditor)

Thanks for your series on American Philosophy and its Challenges today re Candidates for POTUS.

As to your request for my selection for POTUS.

It is without any reservation and clear and reasonable rational thinking based on history and facts....Congressman Ron Paul.

Dr. Paul's 30 year career in advocating Less Goverment, More Individual Responsiblity and a Soveriegn and Independent United States is without compare and his voting record as a US Congressman speaks volumes(literally and figuratively) - on his unswerving commitment to freedom and honoring his oath to follow and OBEY THE LIMITIATIONS that the Constitution places on THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOT!!! the individual.

I was a longtime conservative activist..toiling away on college campuses, street battles, illfunded unelectable conservative/libertarian candidates' campaigns(like Dr. Paul's in 1988) and meaningless bluecollar and lawoffice jobs with no hope in site of anything even remotely resembling Dr. Pauls and his Revolution today.

I had pretty much given up on Republican Party(let alone politics itself) and now am doing my best to help spread the message of Dr. Paul's..which is NOT his idea but the timeless message of freedom.

The rest of the candidates may prattle canned bromides of freedom and independence(on lobbyist junkets and government platforms) but Dr. Paul's is the only one that can truly say that it is based on and supports the goal of Freedom - for all Americans.

Thank You

Chris BieberLake Elsinore


This is my statement as to who I support for American president and why I feel this way:

Because of his rich mixture of talents, gifts, background, employment, religious duties, home life, working with lawyers and business people, and unusual background, I support Mitt Romney for American president. First of all, Mitt Romney's father ran for American president but was not selected. Secondly, the Mormon leader and founder Joseph Smith ran for American president in 1844 but while being held in the jail in Carthage, Illinois, and for his own protection, Joseph and his older brother Hyrum were both shot and killed by an armed mob that broke into the jail, June 27, 1844. At his own expense, young Mitt Romney served a two-year mission in France and later served as a Mormon bishop. While bishop for some years, Romney had a regular job working in law and business and was very successful. In turn, Romney was not paid a salary as bishop but was employed in the fields of law and business. As a young man, Romney earned a college bachelor's degree and a master's degree in business and law.

As a devout Mormon, Romney married his sweetheart and had five sons. He has only been married one time. In accordance with the tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also called by the nick-name of Mormon), Romney does not smoke or drink alcohol or drink coffee or regular tea and does not take the name of the Lord in vain and can give talks or sermons in church. As a bishop, he was ordained and could conduct marriages, conduct funerals, baptize people, and conduct the affairs of a ward or branch (similar to a church meeting place). Mitt Romney seems to have a background or strong interest in sports such as football. During the 2002 Winter Olympics, he took over the tarnished program and conducted it (as the television programs made clear) in a very successful and popular manner and style.

Because of his success in various fields of endeavor, I think that Mitt Romney would make a very good American president. I think that he has courage, intelligence, training, education, good health, good looks, and a willingness to face up to and try to overcome any sudden emergency or national crisis. A national crisis or tribulation could come at any time, and I think that Romney would be the right person to face it and try to solve and overcome the crisis or emergency. One problem that he had to face is that the average university-trained person or graduate tends to change his or her mind on topics and situations during years of study and concentration in various fields of knowledge and at any kind of job. Consequently, it is normal for a person to change his or her mind after examining a problem or situation so as to discover the right answer or correct solution. After years of classes and studies, the average university or law student would tend to laugh if he or she was accused of "flip-flopping" and dropping one topic in favor of a better topic or better solution to a problem. Indeed, the average American changes his or her mind many times and does this all through life in one way or another.

After the 1844 shooting of American presidential candidate Joseph Smith in the 1844 presidential campaign year and the failure of former Michigan Governor George Romney (the father of Mitt and also a Mormon bishop) to become the American president, I would like to say that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is my choice and has earned my support to be the American president. Before our eyes and in our minds we can try to discern a more perfect union devoted to life, liberty and justice and the pursuit of happiness along with the themes of a general welfare and higher vision. In this way we can imagine our devotion to the idea of a more perfect and better nation and our contemplation of the key words on American currency or "In God We Trust."

Yours very truly,

Kenneth Lloyd LarsonLos Angeles


After reading your editorial: 'The blessings of liberty'

I promptly reviewed the CA Presidential Primary Election voter guide that came in the mail last week.

Although there were only propositions to review â I read the political party statements of purpose.

I identify mostly with the Green Party statement and of course the Peace and Freedom Party (although I am a registered Democrat).

I will endorse Dennis Kucinich as my Presidential candidate because he speaks to me regarding the issues that are of most importance. I believe in the immediate withdrawal of the troops in Iraq, health care for all (universal or some form) impeachment of Dick Cheney first sounds radical but essential for the future of political leaders to stop abuse of power.

Many people ask me "Can Dennis Kucinich win?" I respond positively "Of course"

I am voting on the issues; my beliefs â not who can be elected. At this point I strongly identify with Dennis and I want him to represent me!

Who would think that a black man, a woman, a Mormon, a cross-dresser or a former 300 lb guy (and Creationist) would have a chance?

That's the beauty of America and the blessing of my liberty!!

Peace,

Rosemarie L. Allaire, IALDDana Point


It's too early for me to decide for whom I will vote (unless Mike Bloomberg enters the race in which case he will have my vote without question). But it's not too early for me to decide for whom I won't vote. The names below are candidates who in my opinion do not have the principles, decency and/or integrity to be president.

Rudy Guillani. I'm a New Yorker who lived in NYC during both of Mr. Guillani's terms of office; I just recently moved to LA. During Mr. Guillani's first term he changed the city: graffiti disappeared from subway trains, garbage trucks and everything in between; crime dropped dramatically so that I felt comfortable training for the NYC Marathon at night in Central Park, graft too disappeared from the NYC Department of Buildings and other city agencies ( I since learned that almost all plumbing and elevator inspectors went to jail), the streets became clean, Times Square sex shops disappeared and etc. In short, NYC became a wonderful place, and while Mr. Guillani was not the only person to cause this all to happen he was the driving force behind all the changes.

And so, we New Yorkers gave him a second term, He then promptly went nuts with power. When he didn't like an art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum he attempted to withhold funding. His personal life became a scandal. In my opinion one's personal life is personal until it becomes outrageous: moving a girlfriend into the house in which your wife and children are living is to me outrageous. He also repeatedly showed himself to be mean spirited and vengeful. In light of President Bush's unprincipled use of torture we certainly do not need a follow up act by a truly mean spirited person.

As his term came to an end we New Yorkers were ready to run him out of town. Then 9/11 came and he shined as a leader during a difficult period, for which I give him his due. But real heroes don't continue to brag about their heroism ad nauseam as he has.

The question then becomes, "Which Rudy Guillani would show up at the White House?" the change agent or the mean spirited nut? I'm not willing to assume it will be the change agent. Give Rudy Guillani the power of the presidency and there is no telling how he will abuse this power.

Mike Huckabee. I simply could not vote for a man who can't mentally separate his religion from his government. (For the record I am a practicing Catholic.) We are not a Christian nation, we are a nation comprised mainly of Christians. In addition we have Jews, Muslims, Hindis, and probably every other religion that is on the face of the earth, as it should be. No president should consider the people who practice other religions to be less moral or less anything than a Christian, but Mr. Huckabee does just this.

Mr. Huckabee's record as governor has much to be desired. Certainly his stint as governor did not provide him with the experience necessary to be president.

Hillary Clinton. I've tested out as an intuiter. While in NYC I met Ms. Clinton twice and after both meetings my intuition told me that this was a person with whom I did not want to be associated. Being an intuiter, I have learned to trust my intuition. Ms. Clinton is a person with whom I do not want to be associated.

I have not been able to discern exactly where Ms. Clinton stands on Iraq. At first she was for the war (I was strongly against it), Now, after almost 4,000 soldiers have been killed, she seems to say that she is against it, but certainly not in uncertain terms. When speaking about the war she chooses her anti words carefully, while continuing to vote for funding the war. And so it is with other issues.

Her husband promises taking us back to the good old days, i.e., the Bill Clinton days. Bill Clinton was a better president than George W. Bush, but that's not saying much. The Bill and Hillary Soap Opera made us the laughing stock of the world. We don't need to invite them back into the White House for an encore.

Mitt Romney. Mr. Romney reminds me of a recruiting poster. Look straight at it and you see a person. But look at it from the side and you see a piece of cardboard. While I admire a person who is willing to learn and change his mind there are certain core issues that make the man, I have not found these in Mr. Romney. He has been willing to change on all issues depending on how the wind is blowing. And I must confess, his religion frightens me.

Karl Schmid


Editorially a newspaper is within its' rights to state its' position on any number of important issues facing us as human beings.

Having said this, I can't by any stretch of reasoning or application of logical thinking understand how you can come as "championing a Woman's Right To having an Abortion". By your statement you have declared yourself as being a willing accomplish to nothing less than murder.

To condone or support a woman's right to this God Forbidden medical procedure is to show just how far you can lower your standard of human decency by setting aside innocent human beings right to life. No woman can make a decision to have an abortion without giving a medical person permission to terminate the life of the child growing in her womb. Champion that move on the part of woman in big bold print in the lead headline of your newspaper for a week.

You have declared yourself to be less than human and for my part no longer entitled to the decency and respect that God granted to humans at their birth.

Paul "J." Wilkinson In The Great North Woods of New Hampshire.

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