- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2000

Pressure mounts on candidates as election drags on

In your Nov. 29 editorial "Gore first, country second," you write: "Imagine the gratitude the nation would feel toward a similarly forthright Democratic delegation comprising … [Jimmy] Carter, [Tom] Daschle and [Richard A.] Gephardt, echoed by, say, California Gov. Gray Davis and [Democratic National Committee] Chairman Ed Rendell… . Dream on? No doubt."

Dream on, indeed.

We see in the actions of Vice President Al Gore and the Democratic Party the acme of the narcissistic boomer mentality that has characterized leaders such as President Clinton, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and now Mr. Gore.

Many organizations, such as any number of single-issue (usually left-of-center) activist organizations, exhibit this character as well. Principle has been replaced by the desire to win at all costs. The Clinton impeachment showed a Democratic Party that places power far above principle.

At this time, it is inconceivable that a Republican would throw a tantrum comparable to Mr. Gore's. A Republican would not be permitted to do so by the major news media. Even these days, Republicans occasionally bow to principle and vote against the party line.

Over the years, the majority of principled Democrats have been winnowed out, leaving only those who would win at all costs.

I fear that the Republicans well may follow their lead. For now, however, it's encouraging to see that there is at least a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

EDWARD T. BROWN

Colorado Springs

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Has President-elect George W. Bush practiced what he preaches so passionately? Let's see.

He believes in "the rule of law" unless it's the rule of law as stated by the Florida Supreme Court.

He believes the American people want a speedy resolution to this disputed election but the hand counts would have been finished long ago had he and his team not fought to delay them every step of the way.

In his campaign speeches, he stated he believes in "trusting the people" but he still thinks outdated voting machines are more accurate than committees made up of human counters and observers.

Mr. Bush believes in hand counts over machine counts for disputed Texas elections (supported and signed into law by him in 1998) but he condemns and demonizes hand counts in Florida.

He believes in "local control" but consistently has thwarted the attempts by local Florida county election boards to manage their own recount efforts.

He believes in states' rights instead of federal control but he runs straight to the federal courts of appeal, federal circuit courts and even the U.S. Supreme Court to fight Florida's state judiciary.

He believes in defending the voting rights of our men and women in uniform but he ignores the rights of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Gulf war veterans whose presidential votes may be stacked in an unexamined pile of 10,000 punch cards deemed "non-votes" by machines in Miami-Dade County.

He believes in the Constitution but he consistently has condemned the examination of questionable ballots intended to ensure the most fundamental constitutional right: having one's vote counted.

Where I come from, we call this kind of person not a leader, but a hypocrite.

JIM JOYCE

Pittsburgh

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I am struck by the number of times Vice President Al Gore repeated during the presidential campaign the maxim of St. Alban's School's former headmaster Canon Martin to "choose the hard right over the easy wrong."

Yet, faced with exactly that situation, Mr. Gore is choosing the easy wrong every day, prolonging the election and possibly harming the country while he seeks political cover in the courts.

BENJAMIN HARRIS

Arlington

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Vice President Al Gore wants it both ways.

When there are votes that he might gain, he is willing to overlook the law and the fact that ballots were improperly filled out, making them invalid. He hides behind his rhetoric that "every vote must count." What he does not say is that the laws must be bent in order for these votes to count. And if a ballot is ambiguous, it will no doubt be counted in his favor.

But when Texas Gov. George W. Bush stands to gain votes, the Gore camp raises any minor technicality as enough reason to throw out the ballots.

Take the absentee ballots of the men and women in our armed forces who are serving overseas. If the post office in whatever nation they happen to be in does not postmark the envelope, Mr. Gore wants to disallow their votes, disenfranchising them. Or take the case that an application for a mail-in ballot is not perfectly filled out, and must be corrected as permitted by Florida law; Mr. Gore wants the ballot to be invalidated.

So much for "the will of the people."

Mr. Gore has lost the election. It is time for him to step aside and allow Mr. Bush to take office.

DON DODSON

Fort Worth, Texas

The Democratic Party at prayer

Larry Witham's perceptive story on the National Council of Churches makes it clear that the NCC has declined in influence as it has narrowed its scope ("Methodists put National Council of Churches in black," Nov. 29).

No longer associated with Church World Service, the far larger and respected foreign relief agency, the NCC pursues a liberal social gospel agenda typified by its 10-year American anti-poverty effort.

All this suggests an intriguing rhetorical parallel.

Before World War II, the influential and far-flung Anglican Church was often dubbed "The British Empire at Prayer."

Today, the non-influential and shrinking NCC could be called "The Democratic Party at Prayer" except that prayer would be optional.

ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Senior Fellow

Ethics and Public Policy Center

Chevy Chase

Medicare cuts threaten patients, providers

Morton Kondracke's timely Commentary piece "Medical payback repair overdue" (Nov. 24), outlining immediate congressional priorities, correctly argues that policy-makers should use the upcoming special legislative session to ensure that Medicare relief is forthcoming for our nation's long-term care patients and their caregivers.

Specifically, Mr. Kondracke argues that Congress must act as soon as possible to begin the job of saving the nation's health care providers from financial ruin resulting from larger-than-anticipated reductions in federal Medicare spending. The broader point, however, is that the elderly patients who rely on skilled nursing care will be threatened further if relief is not imminent.

It will be up to the leaders of both parties to determine the appropriate legislative vehicle with which to advance an intended relief bill, but we all can all agree that ensuring the well-being and care of our nation's most vulnerable seniors should be a national priority.

The stakes locally for seniors are enormous. This becomes evident when we look at just one of the provider sectors already targeted for relief legislation skilled nursing care. Recent research shows that without this much-needed relief, funding for skilled nursing care for seniors in Washington alone will be cut by $24.4 million by 2004. Similarly, in Maryland and Virginia, funding for skilled nursing care will fall short by $261.7 million and $223.8 million, respectively, by 2004 unless immediate action is taken.

Our lawmakers will face many important issues upon their return to Washington, but we sincerely urge Congress and the administration to ensure that the restoration of Medicare cuts is front and center on the legislative agenda.

CHARLES H. ROADMAN II, MD

President, chief executive officer

American Health Care Association

Washington

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