- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Should the speaker resign?

I am incensed that The Washington Times has called for Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to resign (“Speaker, resign,” Editorial, Tuesday). I am accustomed to Democrats screeching for resignations before the facts are known, but your piling on puts you into very poor company.

Had you waited even a few days you would have learned that two papers had the same e-mails and didn’t consider it newsworthy. And you might have had the sense to differentiate between weird and inappropriate e-mails and sick instant messages. And finally, you might have learned that this story has been shopped for a long, long time and only now it is newsworthy.

Next time you decide to sentence someone based on leaks to the media, particularly in the middle of campaign season, I would hope you show better judgment.

Rep. Mark Foley has resigned, and rightly so. He is a sick man. But we should at least have more common sense than the morally bankrupt Democrats and let the issue run its course before we start chopping off heads. One thing is certain: The people who had this information for months and possibly years don’t really care about protecting children, only about inflicting the most political damage at the best possible time. In my view, they are equally sick and culpable in this sorry event.

Your call for the speaker’s resignation puts you on their side of this event, and for that you should be ashamed.

EARL H. SCOTT

Marietta, Ga.

Amid calls for Dennis Hastert to resign, I’m wondering if any of Mark Foley’s sick e-mails — you know, the ones Republican lawmakers and staffers knew about but never publicly disclosed — ever were shared with the White House?

I’m not saying they were; however, it might be important to find out if they had or not.

A. L. CYNTON

Laguna Beach, Calif.

While your call for Dennis Hastert’s resignation is admirable, do you honestly think that Rep. Henry Hyde, one of the spearheads of the Clinton impeachment, who tried to downplay his own violation of his marital vows as “youthful indiscretion,” would be acceptable as an honest broker?

Get real. The Republicans need an unimpeachable person; not someone who lied about his own morals.

DAVID SOLOWESZYK

Boynton Beach, Fla.

I agree. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert should have relieved Rep. Mark Foley of his committee responsibilities, contingent on a full investigation to learn what had taken place with respect to Mr. Foley’s obvious unacceptable behavior. But I donot concur that the speaker should resign. This would provide even more political hay for the Democrats approaching election day than they now already enjoy.

If such aberrant behavior is a “disgrace for every Republican member of Congress,” there may be a day when a respectable citizen will not want to run for political office, were he or she risking the chance that some member of the same party might commit a despicable act that will forever taint this citizen’slegacy.

Perhaps Editorial Page Editor Tony Blankley has been sitting a little too close to fellow panelist Eleanor Clift on “The McLaughlin Group” and that lady’s bias has rubbed off on him.

BILL SMITH

Lakewood, Colo.

You are wrong to call for Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s resignation. He knew about the e-mails, but they were borderline questionable. He only recently learned of the instant messages, which were far worse.

On the other hand, certain members of the press did know of the instant messages and kept silent until now for political gain.

Mr. Hastert has done nothing worthy of resignation. If he resigned because of this, it would play into the hands of the Democrats — suggesting he was guilty of something — who would milk it for everything it’s worth.

Were Rep. Mark Foley a liberal Democrat, news outlets would be flush with defenders spewing every excuse Bill Clinton could dream up. Your call for the speaker’s resignation is premature and out-of-line.

JAN SHEDD

Kaufman, Texas

Is Bush plotting war with Iran?

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns’ rejection of any security guarantees for Iran in exchange for suspending its uranium enrichment, echoing other Bush administration officials, is extremely counterproductive to any movement on the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program (“U.S. wins a united front on Iran,” Page 1, Tuesday). Iran is not merely being told to do as we say or we will sanction and/or bomb you. It is being told that even if you do as we say and suspend uranium enrichment, we may bomb you or otherwise pursue ‘regime change’ anyway. Is it any wonder Iran is not capitulating to U.S. demands that it cease uranium enrichment?

Add to this Mr. Burns’ explicit linking of Iran with Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian militant groups. This is no accident. The Bush administration is clearly laying the groundwork for launching a military attack on Iran without explicit congressional or U.N. approval by blurring distinctions among these countries and organizations. If they can all be portrayed as enemies in the “global war on terror,” President Bush could cite his authority to attack them in the name of prosecuting said “war” under previous congressional resolutions. So he could start a war that could metastasize into a regional conflagration, or possibly even World War III, essentially on his own say-so.

Mr. Burns is an experienced senior diplomat who must know this is not negotiating. This is issuing an ultimatum that looks like a prelude to war.

KEVIN MARTIN

Executive Director

Peace Action and Peace Action

Education Fund

Silver Spring

Boorish behavior in the NFL

The article “Moss, Portis upset with penalties,” (Sports, Tuesday) left us shaking our collective heads. When a baseball slugger hits a home run, he puts his head down and never shows up a pitcher. When a golfer makes a hole-in-one on tour, a “high five” generally suffices. But when pro football players do anything whatsoever to earn the huge salaries they receive, they saunter,pose and preen in a manner reminiscent of Hulk Hogan.

The league should cut down on such boorish behavior, no matter what Clinton Portis feels about the league wanting to take the “fun” out of the game.Please. He and others would do well to recall this from Coach Lombardi, “next time you’re in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.” Still sound advice.

ELIZABETH AND

GEORGE VARY

Bethesda

Self-inflicted wounds

Star Parker makes an astonishing claim in her recent opinion piece “Race at the polls,” (Commentary, yesterday). This is not an allusion to her declaration that the Webb campaign is responsible for ongoing allegations that Sen. George Allen has a long history of racial insensitivity. Nor do I refer to the outrageous assertion that “The only thought the Webb campaign is interested in is how to smear Mr. Allen.”

No, the single most jaw-droppingly foolish statement is Mrs. Parker’s contention that “James Webb, the candidate challenging incumbent Senator George Allen, is making disappointing progress.” The Webb campaign has come from 16-20 points down in the polls to a statistical dead heat in a matter of weeks, much of that on the heels of Mr. Allen’s self-inflicted “macaca moment.” Does Mrs. Parker actually believe that this stunning turnaround provides an example of “disappointing progress?” Or is it instead her supposition that the senator’s public use of an ethnic slur is somehow indicative of a smear campaign perpetrated by evil Democrats?

SCOTT KENYON

Vienna

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