- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2006

Another term for Ehrlich

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has proved by his actions over the past four years and by the recent debates with his challenger, Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, that he deserves a second term (“Martin O’Malley: a ‘Liberal with sanity?’ ” Editorial, Saturday).

Simply put, Maryland is much better off today than it was four years ago.

In health care, Mr. Ehrlich has increased the funding by $1.25 billion, benefiting more than 770,00 Marylanders. He also fully funded the Maryland public-school system with a record $1.4 billion increase. Likewise, Mr. Ehrlich also increased public safety funding by 24 percent.

On the other side, Mr. O’Malley failed in his leadership as mayor of Baltimore. Despite his replacing seven police commissioners in seven years, Baltimore remains one of the deadliest large cities in the United States.

Mr. O’Malley also endorsed the Wal-Mart tax, which at the time threatened more than 1,000 jobs in Maryland. Fortunately, this unwise law was struck down in federal court.

Mr. O’Malley continues to mislead the voters in Maryland. Maryland will be much better off if Mr. Ehrlich gets a second term.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Bureaucracy overload

In his Commentary column “Anthrax in review” (yesterday), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist lamented the inability of our health-care system to deal with a significant biological threat. (Besides being a physician, Mr. Frist is a member of the family that founded the nation’s largest health care firm, HCA, which also is Medicare’s largest private billing agency.) According to Mr. Frist, the system is weak despite Congress’ adoption of “two major pieces of legislation” and “vastly increased spending on measures to better prepare us for biological threats.” More money and two bills obviously weren’t enough so, the senator has developed a new solution to this apparent problem: more federal government.

Mr. Frist said some local health agencies are less competent than others, and he claimed that a new federal agency designed to provide “a flexible, high powered federal government capacity that can coordinate all resources to confront threats of biological disease” is the key to protecting our population from the threat of biological pandemic. Can any right-minded American actually think of a “flexible, high powered” federal government entity? Has anyone seen such a thing? Would the Federal Emergency Management Agency meet the senator’s definition? Perhaps we ought to ask the residents of Mississippi or Louisiana.

Though Mr. Frist is correct in stating that our nation does not have a comprehensive policy for addressing a large-scale pandemic, more bureaucracy is not the answer. In fact, more federal government is anathema to anything “flexible” or “high powered.” There is an existing agency, however, that has done a tremendous job in dealing with disease and sickness, both biological and viral: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If Mr. Frist sincerely wants to improve our nation?s capability in this area, he should seek to improve communication and operating procedures between local care agencies and the CDC.

When the recent E. Coli scare about tainted spinach occurred, it was local health officials who contacted the CDC and began addressing this health risk. The CDC did a terrific job of analyzing the data, finding disease patterns and alerting local health officials as to probable causes, bringing about an action plan that stopped the epidemic in a matter of days. This type of local government response coupled with the expertise and skill of the CDC is also the ideal combination for dealing with other biological or viral emergencies. Gigantic federal agencies are ill-equipped for anything except siphoning additional dollars from the national treasury. FEMA is an obvious example, and there are many others.

Should a viral outbreak occur, local doctors and public health officials understand that they can contact the CDC, which has a track record of dealing effectively and quickly with these types of issues. We should strengthen the ability of the CDC to communicate with local health officials and not envelop it in some monolithic new government program. It is time that Americans begin teaching both houses of Congress that “no” is not a dirty word and that the best defense against pandemic in this country is not more federal government.

JEFF COKENOUR

Sugar Land, Texas

Perils of a Democratic victory

It is well that we listen to William and Nancy Goldcamp’s appeal to the general public about what is at stake in the upcoming election (“A precipice election?” Forum, Sunday). Their essential argument is that the Democrats crave power to the point where they are willing to do anything, which includes compromising the security of this nation, to achieve it. The Goldcamps’ letter ominously spells out the price we will pay if Republicans lose control of Congress.

When the Democratic Congress cut off aid to the South Vietnamese in the mid-1970s and the South Vietnamese government collapsed, millions of South Vietnamese fell into the iron grip of the cruel and unforgiving totalitarian communist rule. Before long, several million were killed. What have the American Democratic politicians had to say about this result over the past 30 years? Virtually nothing. That’s right. They do not want to know and really do not care that their policies led to the abandonment, death and imprisonment of those who once were our friends and allies.

If the Democrats win the elections in November, the result will be even more calamitous. It will signal to the terrorists around the world that Americans will not put forth the effort to defeat them where they live; therefore, they will be free to plan follow-up attacks to what occurred on September 11, 2001. Because the Democrats have no policy for dealing with terrorism, we will soon pay the price for failing to stay the course.

Steve Malzberg’s reminder of the feckless policies of the Clinton administration regarding terrorism is a warning of what the Democrats will bring to the table if elected (“Clinton’s legacy on terrorism,” Forum, Sunday). Mr. Clinton pardoned 16 members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) for unfathomable reasons before his exit from office. Now we are in a position where a Democratic victory in congressional elections could, in effect, mean a pardon for al Qaeda — which will be a signal for it to reorganize and plan for the destruction of our nation and our way of life.

I remain optimistic that the American people will make the difficult yet correct choice in November and will continue to support President Bush in his efforts to protect America and the Free World from catastrophe. It is best not to contemplate the alternative.

TOM RYAN

Bethany Beach, Del.

Her true colors

Ah, thank Barbra Streisand for highlighting the true colors of the Democratic Party (“Don’t mess with Babs,” Taking Names, Life/Arts, Wednesday). Her tone, her word choices and her body language at her performance in New York illustrated that Democrats can’t take it when people stand up to them. She doesn’t present facts in her “anti-Bush” skits, and she is working out of pure hatred for a man who is not in line with her beliefs.

People should stand up to her and to the Democratic Party when they put out stupid stuff like what Mrs. Streisand did in New York. In the end, we will all see the true colors of the Democratic Party when it is given facts in place of its lies. Sorry to put it bluntly, but Mrs. Streisand is wrong. Once again, however, I thank you for displaying to the world what the Democratic Party is all about: Speak first, think second. Try thinking first; it might help.

VICTOR HENDERSON

Glen Burnie, Md.

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