- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The fiscal gap

I heartily agree and thank you for the observations expressed in the Tuesday editorial “Fiscal clarity.” Having just spent three days at the Conservative Political Action Conference, I was appalled that only one speaker used the phrase “fiscal responsibility.” It was Rep. Ron Paul. Others used the term “tax cuts” to bring the crowd to its feet. However, no president from Ronald Reagan to the present (except Bill Clinton, teamed with Newt Gingrich) has been able to cut spending and balance the budget.

The states are addicted to the “free” Washington money. Even as the United States borrows close to $1 billion per day, Sen. Tom Harkin is leading the charge to give millions of dollars to local police departments to arrest drug dealers, who are replaced the next day. I predict the fiscal gap will continue and worsen.

HOWARD J. WOOLDRIDGE

Washington

Needed: a ‘more dovish’ approach in Iraq

Donald Lambro is incorrect in his characterizations of the “left-wing, anti-war base” (“The race to pull out,” Commentary, Thursday). One can only guess that he gets his information from former Bush administration advisers.

This “left-wing, anti-war” individual doesn’t oppose “a tougher defense posture.” I oppose an alienating, offensive posture that leaves us warring against a dangerous global enemy with fewer and fewer friends. Also, to win a global war of ideas, we don’t need more muscle in our foreign policy; we need more brains. Forcing our ideas upon others isn’t as powerful as influencing them by walking our walk. “Liberty and justice for all” is far more motivating than “bombs and waterboarding for any suspect.”

Mr. Lambro claims Sen. Barack Obama “harbors more dovish national security views,” as if that’s a bad thing. How bad would it be if we had never invaded Iraq or had done so with the more “dovish” strategy of protecting the Iraqi people instead of the more hawkish strategy of “shock and awe”? There is little doubt that a more dovish approach would have yielded us more Iraqi support in the beginning as well as more allies and international financial support, which is desperately needed as we end this costly fiasco.

In addition, no approach to war could be more “dangerous and sophomoric” than going it virtually alone on faulty intelligence and with inadequate planning. It would have been better not to have gone at all. Or, as Mr. Obama insists, we should have gone after Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda where they were instead of where we wanted them to be.

Mr. Lambro’s final question, “How long do you think it will take al Qaeda to re-establish bases throughout the country once we’re out?” misses contextual reality. Al Qaeda doesn’t need to re-establish bases in Iraq if it already has them in Pakistan or can establish them in any other lawless areas of the globe where a more thoughtful U.S. foreign policy would harden the ground al Qaeda operatives seek to crawl into.

If we can believe the Bush administration, it also wants to “pull out” of Iraq. However, for Mr. Obama, it is more a function of strengthening our nation’s security than improving the dismal legacy of a hawkish political party.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

CUand Catholic values

Catholic University canceled a series of lectures because two of the lecturers “appear to espouse views that are contrary to the mission and values of Catholic University” (“Catholic University nixes lectures” Nation, Wednesday).

The two were accused of being anti-Semitic. Though CU is to be applauded for canceling what appeared to be anti-Semitic lectures, it would have avoided embarrassment if it had determined the lecturers’ views were in concert with Catholic values before giving permission to hold the lectures on campus.

I hope this action by CU signifies that in the future, only speakers who uphold Catholic values will be permitted to lecture on campus. That certainly was not the case when senatorial candidate Robert P. Casey Jr. was invited to lecture at CU in the middle of his successful campaign in September 2006.

As reported in The Washington Post, “Some conservative Catholic groups objected to the university’s invitation to Casey because he supports the widespread availability of the emergency contraceptive known as Plan B and has backed civil unions for same-sex couples.”

By supporting Plan B, a contraceptive that the manufacturer says can act as an abortifacient, and civil unions, Mr. Casey supported values that are the antithesis of Catholic values. The CU administration was advised of his anti-Catholic positions before his lecture.

JOHN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring

Mrs. Clinton’s dodge

The day before the Virginia primary, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton visited University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato’s Introduction to American Politics class (“Presidential primaries ignite student interest,” Metropolitan, Monday).

Mrs. Clinton graciously spent most of the time fielding questions. Fortunately, I was able to ask this question:

“Sen. Clinton, I am wondering how you can claim that the Bush tax cuts were designed for the wealthy when the has reported that between 2000 and 2004, the richest 40 percent’s tax burden went up, while the bottom 60 percent’s tax burden went down to the point that the bottom 40 percent paid negative taxes, essentially a handout.”

Unfortunately, Mrs. Clinton dodged the question, completely failing to address the statistical effects and design of the cuts. Instead, she responded that the wealthy have grown wealthier under President Bush and thus could afford additional taxes.

Yes, the wealthy could “afford” additional taxes because they are wealthy but why should they be punished for their success? If the Democrats are successful in punishing success, the incentive to work hard will decrease, destroying our economy from within.

Because we are humans with a common nature, we should be treated equally, including on the issue of tax cuts. Therefore, only a flat tax can be truly fair and moral.

ALEX CORTES

Charlottesville

Reporter’s dress shouldn’t matter

Barker Davis recently complained about how ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews was dressed during one of that network’s college basketball games. He said her choice of clothing “is single-handedly setting back the clock for serious women in the sports workplace” (“Signs of the sports apocalypse?” First Down, Sports Tuesday).

I wouldn’t care if she wore a bikini. Miss Andrews is one of the best in-game reporters (male or female) in the business. She not only provides relevant information during the broadcasts, she also does her homework and is prepared when she interviews coaches during the game. Even more important, she isn’t following some script (like many of today’s sideline correspondents) and is ready to follow up with questions that provide the average viewer with insight that often is not found during televised sporting events.

Miss Andrews is an intelligent, professional and, yes, attractive reporter. If she indeed dressed in a bikini, that would just be a bonus.

JEFF BROWN

Arlington

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