Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Blue and proud of it

In response to the letter from Jay Brinkman (“Blue-state taxpayers,” Monday) concerning blue-state secession, as a Republican (registered 26 years) and a fifth-generation Californian, I can say that many in my state do not particularly support President Bush’s agenda and are as ready as the next Pacific blue-stater to secede.

Our Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has said he “could care less” about whether or not the state allows same-sex “marriage” and has appointed a Democratic labor leader to the labor post in his Cabinet and an environmental radical to the California Environmental Protection Agency. California had the strongest air pollution standards in the country — until the Bush administration sued us and told us we couldn’t have cleaner air than the rest of you. The state sought help in fending off Enron after a spike in energy prices and Vice President Dick Cheney told us nothing was wrong and that the market would correct itself, which it did when it came out that Texas-based Enron had set out to gleefully fleece California.

We pride ourselves on diversity and open-mindedness; conservatives here believe in conservation — of natural resources, of financial resources (read balanced budget) and more.

The same state that voted overwhelmingly and bipartisanly for Mr. Schwarzenegger voted bipartisanly for Democrat John Kerry.

Sorry, Mr. Brinkman — even we Republicans feel out of step with the rest of you, and welcome the talk of the blue states forming a new nation.

And yes, individuals pay taxes, but as a state we give the welfare states 20 percent more of our paychecks than we can spend on ourselves. If we were our own nation, that’s a 20 percent tax cut we could give ourselves the very next day — at no loss of state income. California alone (even without Washington and Oregon) would be one of the 10 largest countries in the world, economically speaking.

We are ready. Pacifica, Cascadia, Ecotopia — whatever you call it — we Pacific blue states are different, and we have begun, sadly, to believe we must be different and separate.


Pasadena, Calif.

Winning football team is D.C. United

After Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps the Redskins could find a new home in Montreal (“A call to arms,” Sports, Monday). No doubt the good people of the District would levy a tax on themselves to pay for a new stadium there.




Is this a great city or what? The Washington Times gives more coverage in its sports pages to a losing football team than to a championship-winning soccer team. It’s obvious that The Times cares little of the lesser professional sports in this city. Now that there is a championship team in the city, will The Times increase its coverage of that sport?


Columbia, Md.

Making the Patriot Act ‘SAFE’

I was disappointed that Jonah Goldberg’s column, “Exit Ashcroft” on The Washington Times Web site (Friday), misrepresents remarks I made last year in which I paraphrased the concerns of one of my constituents about the Patriot Act. ABC News’ “This Week” issued an on-air correction after the same mischaracterization was made by a panelist on that program last year.

I was also troubled by Mr. Goldberg’s attempt to brush aside valid concerns about the Patriot Act’s potential to undermine the rights of law-abiding Americans. He goes so far as to question “who really cares” if a library has been searched under the law. In fact, many Americans care deeply about the government having access to library records and other sensitive personal information about citizens who are not even suspects in a terrorism investigation.

A growing number of Americans — including many conservatives — have serious concerns about the Patriot Act and want to modify the law. I have joined a bipartisan group of senators, including Larry E. Craig and Michael D. Crapo, Idaho Republicans; Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat; and John E. Sununu, New Hampshire Republican, to introduce the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act makes changes to portions of the Patriot Act that go too far. The SAFE Act would allow the government to retain the tools it needs to investigate suspected terrorists while protecting the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding Americans.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire at the end of 2005 for a reason — so that Congress can evaluate their efficacy and their effect on our freedoms with more care and less haste than we did in 2001. I will continue to advocate changes to the law to ensure that we successfully combat terrorism without undermining liberties.



Do not disturb

I am the type of voter the Democrats are shopping for (“Kerry hits 4 swing states, hails ‘blessed gift’ of vote,” Nation, Nov. 2). I am a registered independent. I am a moderate along the lines of Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican. I do not vote party-line; I vote for the candidate I think is best suited for the job. I get my news from the New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox News, so I can try to get all sides of the issue. It both saddens and disappoints me to say I could not in good conscience consider voting for Sen. John Kerry this past election. Not because of the rhetoric, half-truths or name-calling that went on during the campaign, but because of the arrogance of the Democratic Party and its surrogates toward me and voters like me.

I am an educated professional with strong beliefs about the role of government, God and treatment of my fellow man. I believe in God, but respect the rights of others to worship as they see fit. I believe that the federal government has no right to tell a woman whether she can have an abortion, but I agree with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop that “partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary to protect a mother’s health or her future fertility.”

I don’t care what you do in your bedroom, hotel room or any other room, but I believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. I want better education for my children, but that does not include teaching them to put condoms on cucumbers. I believe we need to save Social Security, but I also believe I am better equipped to decide how to invest my money than some bureaucrat.

I think the Patriot Act is unconstitutional, but I believe in the death penalty for terrorists. I believe that our war in Iraq is justified, but that there have been mistakes made in its execution.

Yet after the election, what do the people who purport to speak for the Democratic Party call me? In effect, they label me uneducated, ignorant, a knuckle-dragger, a religious jihadist. They say that I want a theocracy, I want to return to the days of the Klan terrorizing the streets of the South or I want more young men and women to die in a war for oil. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Why is it that the party that bills itself as a party of inclusion cannot tolerate anyone who does not agree with Michael Moore or Ted Kennedy? Until the Democratic Party realizes that people like me are a plurality — if not a majority — of the people who live in the country, they will not get my vote nor the vote of many others like me.


Lovettsville, Va.

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