Compromises are the cause of U.S. woes
=Writing as a Republican activist, I have been disappointed by President Bush's handling of domestic affairs.
Inheriting the office from one of our most successful presidents, Mr. Bush proceeded to do the political equivalent of throwing away four aces. Mr. Bush's failures, however, have not altered my decision to vote for him for the following reason.
Many observers have called the past 12 years the "Reagan-Bush" era. By doing so, they have tried to link Mr. Bush's problems to the Reagan administration.
This view is false because the Bush administration has not been an extension of Mr. Reagan's. Unlike Mr. Reagan, Mr. Bush has pursued the politics of compromise with the Democratic Congress. This is the root cause of our economic problems.
President Bush did not lead our country into economic stagnation by following Republican policies.
On the contrary, on issue after issue, from tax increases and government spending to regulation and mandated costs imposed on businesses, Mr. Bush took his cue from the Democratic Congress.
The bills that Mr. Bush signed that hurt the economy the most were the ones most enthusiastically supported by the liberals.
Pat Buchanan's challenge to Mr. Bush, which I supported, was a demand from grass-roots Republicans that the president return to his party's principles.
Fortunately, Mr. Bush has realized that he made mistakes in abandoning the Reagan legacy and embracing "compromise."
If re-elected, and if the voters give Mr. Bush a working majority in Congress, I am certain that the successful policies of the Reagan administration will be restored.
Gary P. Bunker
It is time to put the Bush and Clinton records concerning taxes in perspective.
Though President Bush pledged not to raise taxes, and though he broke that pledge, it is a fact that he raised our taxes only once.
President Bush raised taxes in a compromise with Democratic ** law- makers that would have also cut spending and lowered the deficit.
That compromise, as we all know, failed, for the tax increase hurt the economy and did nothing to balance the budget.
To his everlasting credit, President Bush has acknowledged his error and is unlikely to support another Democratic tax hike.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, raised taxes and fees in Arkansas over 100 times. Though governor of Arkansas for over 10 years, Mr. Clinton has done little to improve the state's economic well-being.
He has yet to learn that tax increases rarely improve the citizens' welfare. Instead, tax increases hurt economic activity. Unfortunately, Mr. Clinton has pledged to raise a whole variety of taxes if elected president.
The choice is clear. Mr. Bush raised taxes once and learned the hard way that tax increases do not solve economic or budgetary problems. Mr. Clinton raised taxes over 100 times and shows no desire to stop.
It doesn't take an advanced degree in economics to see that re-electing President Bush will be better for the average voter than electing Governor Clinton.
Laura A. Case
No secret ballot
During the early days of our history, Americans voted by secret ballot for candidates of their choice, going behind curtains to mark an X, fold the ballot and then going outside to a box and deposit their selections.
Then came voting machines. We go behind a curtain to pull levers, again in secrecy. That was considered true democracy.
What we are witnessing today must make Madison, Jefferson, Franklin and others of that era roll over in their graves. No longer is there a secret ballot, thanks to journalism and TV. From day one of an election season, journalists and pollsters are at work picking the president or some other candidate. Each election season, the situation worsens.
These polls and journalism, hiding behind the First Amendment, create an aura of a victor, so much so that many who might otherwise reach a different decision decide to go with the flow.
This may be legal by stretching our sacred Constitution, but this writer believes it far from ethical and never within the purview of the framers of that great document.
It is no different than the media's observation in connection with the upcoming vote on the abortion issue, that the government has no right to peer into one's bedroom. By the same token, the media have no right to seek behind that voting curtain. The principle is the same.
Americans can do themselves a favor when approached by pollsters, especially exit pollsters. When asked how they voted, they could say, "None of your damned business."
Richard L. Lelonek
The major-league baseball owners finally succeeded in running off commissioner Fay Vincent. They said, "You work for us, but you weren't doing what we wanted you to do, so you're fired."
That was dumb. Look at the owners' track record. Salaries have gone through the ceiling. Atlanta is West. They can't agree on the designated hitter rule.
Major-league baseball created the office of commissioner to save the sport. Judge Kennisaw Landis, who became baseball's first commissioner during the Black Sox scandal in 1919, agreed to take the job only with a written understanding he couldn't be fired. Landis made it clear to the owners they needed to be protected from themselves.
The owners still need protection from themselves, but they don't know it. And now the protection is gone. Whoever replaces Mr. Vincent as commissioner truly will be a puppet, a mouthpiece for the owners.
With Mr. Vincent out of the way, look for owners to lock out the players next spring. That's the owners' master plan to get salaries in line. How could so many smart, successful men and women act so dumb?
Assigning Dan Rodricks, an ultra liberal, the task of reviewing a book by Rush Limbaugh, a conservative from a competitive radio station, makes me curious as to whether you would have Les Kinsolving review a book by Alan Prell should the situation arise.
Alicio A. Catalano
Revisionism can't dim the greatness of Thomas Jefferson
I take issue with the opinions attributed to Dr. Herbert Sloan in the article "Revisionist historians prepare to rattle Jefferson's skeletons" in the Oct. 13 Evening Sun.
Several points raised need to be clarified; the first, that "revisionist historian" is an oxymoron, since it is impossible to make changes to past factual events, as the term implies.
Secondly, while not shrewd with money, the conclusion that he "squandered" his money is not easily reached.
His financial difficulties stemmed from debts assumed with his wife's inheritance in 1774, which were compounded by inflation during the Revolutionary War, and his expenses in maintaining his station as ambassador to France and president. For example, as president, Jefferson paid the salary of his secretary, Meriwether Lewis.
Finally, during his later life, his finances would not permit the freeing of his slaves; and as explained in the article, upon his death the slaves were sold to pay off debts.
Although initially he did not believe that blacks had equal intellectual endowment as whites, that was the perspective of someone who primarily lived in the late 18th century.
In later years, Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Banneker (the renowned Negro mathematician) that nature may have given blacks talents equal to those of other colors of men and that the appearance of a want of them is owing to the degrading condition of their existence in Africa and America.
During his life, the issue of slavery perplexed him, since he believed in the dignity of human nature and that "we all are born free."
Yet he also believed that the deep-rooted prejudices of whites, the recollections of blacks of the injuries they sustained and new provocations would divide the peoples into parties and produce continual turmoil.
In this respect, Jefferson seems to have seen 200 years into the future. Let's hope he is ultimately proved wrong in this observation.
As Dumas Malone wrote in the second volume of his monumental biography of Jefferson, "He was a true and pure symbol of the rights of man because, in his own mind, the cause was greater than himself."
There is no revision of history that could dim an American's appreciation of all this great man did for past, current and future generations.
regory A. Hook