The Baltimore Sun

Liberals ecstatic about new leadership

Once again, Ron Smith has proved that he just doesn't get it. In his column "Feeling hoodwinked, Obama backers? Join the club" (Commentary, Dec. 10), he suggests that liberals are upset with President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet choices.

Well, I have news for Mr. Smith: Liberals like me are ecstatic.

Despite what the pundits may think, we are thrilled to have a moderate group of intelligent and forward-thinking Cabinet choices poised to work with the rest of humanity to make this Earth a better place. Sure, they know Washington. Sure, they are not ideologues. But they are united in wanting to bring this country and world together and stop the economic and moral crisis President Bush has ignited.

I think what upsets Mr. Smith most is that even many Republicans support Mr. Obama's start, and that if a President Obama can forge a moderately progressive movement in this nation, as he seems to be doing, the right-wing extremism Mr. Smith represents will finally whither from the political landscape.

Sorry, Mr. Smith. So far, we liberals are applauding.

Andy Lazris, Columbia

New hope dawns after bleak years

As an unapologetic liberal, I did not vote for President-elect Barack Obama to carry out some left-wing agenda ("Feeling hoodwinked, Obama backers? Join the club," Commentary, Dec. 10). I voted for him because I have faith in his intelligence, good judgment and superior leadership skills to guide our country through these troubled times.

Will all of his decisions be the correct ones? Probably not, but I have confidence that they will be the result of the experience of his Cabinet and advisers and the excellent reasoning skills that he brings to the office.

Does his choice of veteran politicians for his Cabinet preclude his promise of change?

Not in my view, because as we have all learned, the president is "the decider," and this time we have a president with the intelligence to make his own decisions.

Do I feel "hoodwinked"? Absolutely not.

For the first time in eight years, I feel I have hope.

Kay Michaelis, Ellicott City

Southern Republicans undermine automakers

Shame on Sens. Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker, Richard C. Shelby and other Southern Republicans who are trying to sabotage aid to American automakers because of their opposition to unions and their apparent desire to give an advantage to the Japanese and German automakers that have plants in their states over American car manufacturers in the Midwest ("U.S. auto bailout deal in tatters," Dec. 12).

Their behavior is un-American and dishonest.

Jack Kinstlinger, Baltimore

What will Dixon do with raise next year?

Mayor Sheila Dixon benefits from anything she does with her raise. She can take a tax deduction for donating her raise to charity but her raise will stay in effect as long as she's in office ("Dixon says she will give pay to charity," Dec. 12).

She can show Marylanders her concern by making a donation to charity this year.

But what will the mayor do with her raise next year?

George J. Samuels, Columbia

City shows signs of a real renewal

Sure, it's easy to be negative about Baltimore, especially when The Baltimore Sun dutifully reports on crime and the temporary bankruptcy of our esteemed opera company ("Baltimore Opera seeks Chapter 11 shelter," Dec. 9).

But it also does not take much effort to see some very upbeat and exciting things happening in our city.

Expanding arts venues, new charter schools, a mayor with vision and energy, a reversal (even if it is not yet huge) of the city's long-term population loss and many other positive developments in the city are genuine cause for a more balanced, even optimistic outlook.

History teaches us that cities do not die; they recycle themselves as the rejuvenated centers of art, education, commerce and spirit.

Baltimore is well on the road to doing this.

Baltimore's rally is very real, even in the face of a badly slowed economy.

Alan Shecter, Baltimore

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