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The Mormon Ticket

Re: Christopher Orlet’s No Mormons Need Apply:

Romney was the only conservative elephant in the room with a chance to win the nominee, but his religion was the only elephant in the room many chose to see. How many? More than enough to lose in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. Denying the obvious does not move us forward, but confronting it hopefully will.
Jeffrey Lawrence

A lot of what Mr. Orlet says is probably correct, maybe all of it. As the Washington Post once infamously said or as I paraphrase, We Evangelicals pride ourselves on being faithful to our Holy Word and are usually pretty fine patriotic folk but we sometimes are not the brightest bulbs and also are sometimes easily led (by false prophets?). Mitt Romney was by the far the best candidate in either party both as good man and with the capability to lead us through the difficult times ahead. But democracy is not always fair or easy.
Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

I’m not a Latter Day Saint, but the prejudice shown towards Mitt Romney, because of his faith was disgusting. What is more revolting it that some of it was done in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for political reasons. Tragically, the Republican Party was dragged into the gutter of religious intolerance inhabited by Democrats thanks to a few small minded hypocrites and a sleazy politician. I’d vote for an atheist or Muslim if his or her politics were acceptable. One’s faith is a personal matter and while it will undoubtedly influence their political decisions it is not a harbinger of how they will govern. Jimmy Carter was a Baptist, but he governed like a typical intolerant, small-minded, and anti-religious Democrat.

Sadly, this is what happens when we fail to understand there is a conservative side to separation of church and state. The wall of separation of church and state (as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson) should not and does not exclude people of faith from participating in our Democratic system or faith-based groups impacting government or society. Simply, it should keep the state from subjugating religion or religion from usurping power and creating a theocracy. As our founders recognized one cannot separate a person from their faith nor is it wise to separate our faith from decision making even in elected officials. But it can be healthy in a republican government to have a bit of tension between these two institutions to preserve freedom.

Mitt Romney was not on the way to creating a “Mormon” Mecca. They have that in Salt Lake City. He wasn’t demanding that the Book of Mormon become the Constitution of the United States. Nor was he asking that any of us ascribe to his system of worship. Would LDS values of hard work, thrift and family have influenced his Presidency? Had there been a Romney Presidency I hope they would. Who can castigate these simple all American values?

There is no religious test to serve as an elected official in the United States. Unfortunately, some people on the left and now apparently the right believe there should be. That is not the American or Republican way and it never should be. Those who have brought this garbage into the Republican Party should leave the GOP and join the Democrat party where they can happily vote for the “public theologian” Barack Obama or the lazier faire Methodist Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I believe Mr. Orlet is right in his analysis of Mitt Romney, but I would take it one step further. I suspect for many voters, their vote against Romney wasn’t so much because they were anti-Mormon but because their perception — largely due to the mainstream media fanning the flames — that too many others would be anti-Mormon therefore rendering Romney “unelectable” in the general election.

If the mainstream media were consistent (a fantasy to be sure), they would continually hound our liberal Senate Leader Harry Reid for his Mormonism. Why don’t they? Though Reid does not condone abortion (Google it), the MSM prefers his liberalism in all other respects.

But a true conservative like Romney comes along, and he’s accused of flip-flopping on the abortion issue. The MSM in their “objectivity” is merely reporting anti-Mormon statements. This makes it so much easier for people like Huckabee to make a snide comment about Mormons, knowing the MSM will pick it up and do all the dirty work.

The conservative talk show hosts, who were openly pro-Romney leading up to Super Tuesday, should have spoken up sooner. However, I doubt it would have made any difference. With the MSM amplifying the anti-Mormon rhetoric, Romney never had a chance.
Paul Lindberg
American Fork, Utah

While Romney’s faith was a factor for many (myself included), I do not believe that it was the major factor in his not winning the GOP nomination. While I have my problems with Mormon theology, I was more than willing to vote for Romney in a contest against McCain and Huckabee because he was the last candidate who at least espoused conservatives principles throughout the campaign.

Romney’s biggest problem was Mike Huckabee, in that Huckabee was able to siphon off conservative voters that would not go for McCain. By splitting the conservative vote, Huckabee allowed the moderate/independent vote to have a greater than average impact in the nomination process; the vote splitting allowed people who will most likely vote Democratic in November to effectively choose their opponent for the general election. Maybe Huckabee thought he could win, maybe it was collusion between McCain and Huckabee; whatever it was, the McCain-Huckabee alliance was too much for Romney to overcome.

Oh yeah, former Presidential candidate Joseph Smith was a victim of a lynch mob to be sure, but he was no innocent victim. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in jail for providing perjured affidavits that they were not engaged in polygamy or adultery, and having the newspaper (the Nauvoo Expositor) declared a public nuisance and destroyed. They were also under arrest for the crime of treason for having called out the Nauvoo Legion, the local militia, to prevent them from being arrested for their previous crime. That does not justify mob justice, but it does give a bit more context to what happened and why.
Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina

For the record, I voted for Mitt Romney in the Georgia primary. He was the best available candidate on the Republican ballot. Fred Thompson’s name was still on the ballot, but he had taken himself out of the race, so I went with Mitt. That doesn’t change the fact that Mormons do believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. And it seems to have taken the realization that a Mormon couldn’t be elected president without at least some black votes to prompt the belated (1978) revelation that blacks were fully qualified to hold office in the Church.

Tolerance is our way of life and it is good. Mormons are by and large the best neighbors one could wish for. But Americans are far too ill-informed about religions other than their own, and are usually far too ignorant of their own religious beliefs I know this because I am a Calvinist Christian and I am amazed what people tell me about what I believe. I don’t believe Jesus is Satan’s brother. But if Mitt is honest about it, he will tell you that he does. I did a Google search on the subject before writing this and found that the Mormons have done a good job of spinning their stance on this controversial fact, but if you are patient and keep searching the subject, you can confirm it for yourself.

Here’s an example: “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-filled brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of Mankind. Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through The Ages, 1945 Edition, Page 15 (Hunter was a member of the Mormon ruling council from 1945 to 1975).

Mormonism seems to be in the throes of reinventing itself. Perhaps, like the Worldwide Church of God, it will eventually find its way into the pale of orthodox Christianity. To do so, however, it will have to eschew the Book of Mormon and other cultic writings.

But I would, and did, vote for a Mormon to be my president.
Paul Neuman
Atlanta, Georgia

There is no doubt that Mitt Romney’s religion played a role in his ultimate defeat. And that is a shame.

Certainly some prejudice came from secularists, but it is undeniable that much of it came from Christians. Those who opposed Romney because of his religion would do well to remember that the New Testament was emphatic that we should submit ourselves to the secular government, regardless of who is in power. Romans 13:1-7, and 1 Peter 2:11-17 (which, by the way, were written in the context of persecution by the virulently anti-Christian Roman government) make this clear, as does Christ’s statement to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

Martin Luther likewise said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I would rather be governed by a competent Turk [Muslim] than by an incompetent Christian.”

However, it is hardly fair to say that anti-Mormon prejudice was the cause for Romney’s fall. This is because his flip-flops on abortion and homosexuality were brazen, politically expedient calculations, and exactly what Americans hate about politics. In 1994 (and 2002), Mitt Romney ran to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights, and claimed that he was “pro-choice.” Suddenly, Romney is pro-life, and advocating strict constructionist judges, which he did not do while serving as governor of Massachusetts. Voters are left wondering, “Who, really, is the real Mitt Romney?”

While Mormons are among the finest people I have ever met, they preach a different Gospel than what is found in the Bible. This scared people out of voting for him, but it shouldn’t. Here in America, we elect a commander-in-chief, not a theologian in chief.

His flip-flops notwithstanding, Mitt Romney’s past experience as governor, business owner, and savior of the 2002 Winter Olympics prove that he is a very capable individual with a fine resume. Plus, he would have been a far preferable candidate to Hillary the Methodist, or Barack Obama, who belongs to the ultra-liberal United Church of Christ.

Had he gotten the nomination, I would have voted for him.
Greg Hoadley
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

It is not right to tar everybody with the bigotry of a few. Unfortunately, that is what Mr. Orlet does in his article “No Mormons Need Apply.”

I agree in part with Mr. Orlet, there is an anti-Mormon feeling that helped Romney to lose. But it is very important to stress that even he points out that there is not enough information to be able to blame any one cause. But then he goes on to do just that.

Romney had many self-imposed hurdles to overcome. He had been a Liberal. From Massachusetts. And since when did the South give their votes to Yankees. (No offense intended, but in the South, if you hale from north of the Mason-Dixon line you are a Yankee.) Romney claimed he converted to conservatism. He did so just before his run for President, how convenient. Every leading contender on the Republican side flip-flopped, but Romney let himself get identified as such. After he converted, as governor, he had stood up for human life and traditional marriage in liberal Massachusetts, and did so in the face of withering attacks. But he couldn’t get the message across that his conversion had been tested and he stayed true. Most of the time, he was too reserved to really connect with middle or lower class voters. If he had run with the same enthusiasm for our causes that he had while withdrawing at CPAC, the story would have been different. And since when has a self-financed millionaire ever really had a good chance to win our nomination?

Besides, there is nothing wrong with voting for someone because you identify with them, whether the identity is regional, military, religious or whatever. How in the world do we distinguish whether a vote for one person was really for him and not against another? In some places Romney won over the Giuliani and Thompson supporters and in some places he didn’t. Many Romney supporters are now voting Huckabee. The major problem on the Republican side was breaking out of the small group appeal into broad based appeal and Romney and McCain were the only two who did so, but neither did it well. Romney had won quite a few states and a significant proportion of the total vote before he pulled out. Romney needed to win Florida to have a good chance of breaking the winner take all advantage McCain inherited from Giuliani in the New York area. But close doesn’t count.

See the truth is, even with all those handicaps, Romney had a real chance to win the nomination. A blatant anti-Mormon appeal to evangelicals knocked him off his stride in Iowa, but he recovered. The press only focused on the states he lost, not the states he won, but he kept winning more states. Anti-Mormonism was part of his being uncompetitive in the South, but he didn’t lose it there, he lost it in Florida where the contest was close.

As a Mormon, I spent a lot of time looking to see if there were a better candidate than Romney. I liked Giuliani’s fiscal, but not his social policies. Thompson was mostly conservative, but between blocking anti-tort legislation, supporting McCain-Feingold, hiding the fact he had conveniently converted to pro-life prior to his Senate run, missing the swell of interest, and giving the air of not really wanting the job, he lost me with many others. McCain had spent the past decade stabbing conservatives and Republicans in the back, thwarting half our legislation, and turning the rest more liberal. And Huckabee was pro-life, but he sold himself and his record as liberal in Iowa, and as conservative in S. Carolina, and like McCain, viciously attacked anyone who criticized him. After deliberately appealing to the anti-Mormons, Huckabee went on to attack everyone else as anti-Christian, all before anyone had voted.

Even after deciding he was the best out of a sorry lot of conservatives, I still hesitated before deciding to support him. You can’t blame anti-Mormons for Romney’s loss when even some Mormons are wishy-washy about supporting him. I think Reagan would have won Utah in a two man race against Romney. And if Romney spends the next few years in valiant and articulate support of conservative causes, should he choose to run again, he might even win the South, despite the anti-Mormon presence.

Let those who are proud of their anti-Mormon stance, stand up and claim credit. But give everyone else the benefit of the doubt before you label them as bigots. After all, if there is anyone who is at fault for Romney losing, it is Romney himself.

By the way. I grew up Presbyterian, but since converting to the LDS church in Ohio, I have lived in Texas, Alaska, Michigan, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and now I am back in Tennessee. I have seen anti-Mormonism out there, some in private, some that is organized by evangelicals, and some that is on TV, but most of it seems to be driven by ex-Mormons, and frankly there is not enough out there to blame for Romney’s loss. Most people aren’t interested enough to care one way or the other. And those who know Mormons tend to think well of them as mostly good people. It is pretty hard to think of that nice friendly family down the street or at work as part of some demonic cult. If lots of other people still have negative impressions, it usually has more to do with mostly knowing Mormons for their polygamous past. Some day we will eventually get it well known that it stopped long ago, but then there is a different type of anti-Mormon who thinks the Mormon Church has fallen into sin by stopping polygamy, and those people still practice it today.

I personally prefer to care about the anti-Mormon stuff only enough to overcome the false images they spread. But I have to stand up in defense of non Mormons when they are being tarred as anti-Mormon bigots. If a Reagan-like Mormon ran and lost that would be a different story, but for now, give everybody the benefit of the doubt.
James Bailey

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Sharia-ing Is Caring:

So the Archdruid* of Canterbury now wants to be the Archimam of Canterbury? One shudders to think of what heresies he will next unbosom himself. Making sacrifice to Zeus, Wotan, and/or Ra?
Gretchen L. Chellson
Alexandria, Virginia
*When Williams was Archbishop-designate he was inducted into the Druids.

Maybe the most important thing he said that we should remember is that he doesn’t really know what he is talking about regarding Sharia Law. After all, he wanted that known.

The sad thing about this interview is that as a well-respected church leader, his statements whether well informed or not, carry weight that is not counterbalanced by his disclaimer. Why in the world would someone in his position be an advocate for instilling a conflicting belief in his constituency? It just doesn’t make sense and makes me curious about the quality of the interview.
Rebecca Welton

The most beautiful sound I ever heard:
Sharia, Sharia, Sharia, Sharia.
All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word:
Sharia, Sharia, Sharia, Sharia, Sharia, Sharia.

Sharia, I just fell in love with Sharia,
and suddenly the Church will never be the same to me.
Sharia! I’ve just recommended Sharia.
And suddenly I’ve found how wonderful Islam can be.
Sharia, say it loud and there’s music playing.
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying,
Sharia, I never stop saying: “Sharia!”

— by Archbishop Williams, with profound apologies to Sondheim and Bernstein
David Govett
Davis, California

Religious leaders of all stripes give me the willies. Catholic priests south of our border seem both now and in the past more interested in the benefits that Communism or Socialism can bestow on their flocks and deride the proven benefits that Capitalism has and can deliver. Muslim leaders seem more interested in death than life and in making the male the owner of the females in his life. And Protestant preachers in America tend toward an intense interest in living well themselves and the business of religion.

As for the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, I doubt we will see him submit his family to Sharia Law. Rather his message is “for thee, not for me.”
Howard Lohmuller

The article about Sharia Law was excellent in that you call Dr. Williams a coward for not opposing his enemies.

I think there is more to it. Dr. Williams believes he is being Christ-like in not opposing his enemies.

He is very misguided. He has a responsibility to defend his flock from the wolves.
Michael A. Cholewka

RET writes of Sharia law, “it enjoins, among other atrocities, the stoning of adulterers, the amputation of body parts, and a kind of female subjugation unimaginable to even the most ardent Western male chauvinist pig.”

But will it legalize cock fighting?
Dan Martin

Amen Bob!! Oops, talk about a tongue removing heresy, can’t say that anymore, eh Dr. Williams? Perhaps a sotto voce Inshallah (God willing) would be a more appropriate offering from the lips of Dr. Williams and his quisling ilk. Maybe even, soon to be incorporated in the Book of Common Prayer.

I’m no psychologist, but this behavior goes beyond mere cowardice. Somewhere within these people dwells a virulent form of self-loathing that borders on the pathological. The Archbishop is so afflicted by this, that he no longer, (assuming that at one time he did), possess the inner
strength or the courage of his faith to defend it. Granted, he’s as much a creature of politics as religion, but if he cannot defend his own religion and his God, how can he be expected to defend his country and himself? Dante tells us that a special Canto exists for such folks, Inshallah.
A. DiPentima

Mr. Tyrrell never explains why useful idiots like the Archbishop of Canterbury become useful idiots: guilt. For them, life is a zero-sum affair. If the West is happy and prosperous it is only because the rest of the world is miserable and wanting–and must be accommodated
via the denigration of one’s own culture.

They don’t call them idiots for nothing.
Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Re: Quin Hillyer’s Who Wants to Be a Vice President?:

That Democratic maverick Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.
Hayley Pennington

What happened to Quin’s fantasy of a brokered convention? Is that no longer in the cards? Did all the favorite sons say “thanks, but no thanks”? I guess with the Huck-a-bust this past Tuesday in my part of the woods, a back room deal just isn’t gonna happen. A good thought — but a wrong mix of candidates.

Gov. Sarah Palin (AK) would be a terrific pick as VP. She would smooth McCain’s hard edges down quite a bit; and she would also meet most of Quin’s criteria, save one. As a former resident of Alaska, I can safely vouch that the state will be in the conservative column for the rest of our lifetimes — so, no real gain there. However, she is well-known to opinion leaders in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington State and Oregon. That would be an area where the libs would have to spend resources and time defending in the general.

She is a relatively “unknown,” so interested parties should use Google and become familiar with her positions on how big government really should be. And as far as “telegenic” is concerned, I’ll let your computer screen do the talking.
Owen H. Carneal
Yorktown, Virginia

After reading Quin Hillyer’s article, it occurred to me that the ideal running mate would be someone who has not been mentioned very much: John Kasich. This is for 5 reasons.

First, he is from a very crucial state, Ohio. This state is in danger of moving to the Dem’s column, so picking someone from this or another crucial location could be the difference-maker.

Second, he is a policy wonk. As Hillyer noted, McCain is more known for brawn than for brains, and Kasich is one of the most knowledgeable Republicans to come down the pike in years.

Third, he is a policy wonk who looks good on TV. In other words, he is not boring like most policy wonks. Also, it is an added bonus that he has guest-hosted The O’ Reilly Factor a number of times, so he will be easily recognizable.

Fourth, he is young, still in his late 40s, I believe. This removes the “dinosaur factor” that plagued the Dole-Kemp ticket in 1996.

Fifth, he has not held elective office since 2000. This is the perfect balance to John McCain. Once the Democrats pick their candidate, the media will suddenly realize that McCain is a Republican, and begin to unload on him. Their biggest complaint, of course, will be that he is a Washington “insider” who has lost touch with the common man. Enter John Kasich, who will not be able to have this charge applied to him.

McCain/Kasich in ’08!
Greg Hoadley
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We’re through the looking glass, here, folks. I wish it were different, but it isn’t. Two candidates we didn’t really expect, or want, McCain and Obama. And now, even the source of a suggestion for a possible Republican VP. Everything is upside down for conservatives. The grass roots tried for months to draft Secretary Rice (who declined) for a Presidential run, when we thought she was uniquely qualified to outflank the inevitable Hillary. Now, with Obama looking more likely, Rice, as only VP, could play the role of spoiler of all the Democrats dreams, and get McCain over the top. After all, she wouldn’t have to serve a full term as VP. Six months or so after the election, she could resign and begin her campaign for the NFL Commissioner, or return to Stanford. Then, McCain, at 72, could put someone in who would be available to run in 2012, if necessary. If the Evangelicals would just take a deep breath, realize that all their efforts have not been for naught, and that the country is arguably much more conservative than when they came on the scene after Roe. Yes, there’s more to do, and McCain is a pain, but if the war in Iraq continues apace, we might just pull this fat out of the fire. McCain/Rice ’08.
Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Condoleezza Rice.
Lee H.
Honolulu, Hawaii

Re: George Neumayr’s By Obama We Were Saved:

Ever since reading the Grand Inquisitor section of the Brothers Karamazov, I am amused when I hear religious leaders debunking a call to faith. Barack Obama indeed has dreamy qualities in his rhetoric, but I would caution Mr. Neumayr that these are precisely the qualities that have vaulted Obama from obscurity to upend the heir apparent to the presidency. The fact is that the voters in the Democratic primaries are fed up with a Republican political culture that has consistently favored corporations and wealthy individuals over the well-being of the public, basing its views on intellectually obsolete ideas drawn from Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, John Calvin, and Niccolò Machiavelli, among others, and causing the most dramatic imbalance of wealth in this country since the days of John D. Rockefeller. Similarly, the invasion of Iraq, now that the truth has finally percolated to the surface, turns out to be something that the majority of Americans wish hadn’t happened. The discontent that we are witnessing today extends far deeper than quibbling over minor differences in the candidates’ health care plans.

In cynically likening Obama’s proposals to the Great Society, Mr. Neumayr is disparaging Obama’s potential as a leader and sweeping under the rug what many voters perceive as the critical issues we face today. I wonder what Mr. Neumayr would say about Jesus Christ were he return to Earth tomorrow.
Paul Dorell
Evanston, Illinois

George Neumayr’s article seems to indicate that Obama’s appeal is not only quickly on the wane, but that it is also supported by the ‘youth vote,’ which, in his eyes, means the vote of those whose political views are more likely to be shaped by the satire of The Simpsons than of any sort of relevant, real world entity.

Poor Mr. Neumayr. His entire argument is misguided and absurdly off base (although it is not altogether surprising that a man who uses words like ‘rigmarole’ would have trouble understanding the undeniable and unwavering excitement that today’s younger generation
feels for Mr. Obama).

Mr. Obama is not going anywhere; this is demonstrated both by the polls, which show him soundly defeating John McCain in a general election, but, more importantly, this is better illustrated by the genuine level of admiration and support that we younger Americans
have for this candidate.

Mr. Neumayr, in trying to spin Obama’s positive message and downplay his massive support, exposes himself as a member of a generation which is now fundamentally out of sync with the future of American politics.
Daniel Glass

Were I not aware that the phrase “There is no ‘there’ there” predates him, I would have to assume it was coined to characterize the rhetoric of The Man Who Hopes For Change, Senator Obama.
Richard Meade
Bayside, New York

George Neumayr’s “By Obama We Were Saved” misses one important point. Obama indeed has made some serious proposals: to nationalize health care, give drivers’ licenses to illegals and open dialogue with third-world mass murderers.

This extremist swing from pure rhetoric to platform radicalism is music to his wacky leftist handlers, with no sensible, sustainable middle ground. Based on that, we must prepare for the media’s coming Obama Tsunami of empty cult-of-personality hype.
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

It’s time the presidential candidates moved on past hope and started giving us specifics. For someone like Obama who voted “present” on many key issues while in the Illinois legislature, that may not be possible. Mere hopes, no matter how sincere, won’t prevent terrorist attacks, reduce the trade or budget deficits, or eliminate the problems along our southern border. Hope is just a town in Arkansas, the place where Bill Clinton was born.
Stan Welli
Aurora, Illinois

Perhaps memory deserts me, but when has American electorate ever been more concerned with substance than symbolism? If that were the case, liberalism would be deader than the proverbial doornail. With the rise of Obama, Democrats are demonstrating a preference for “innocence” over jaded reality. Whether than innocence can withstand the jaded reality of super-delegates and those from MI and FL remains to be seen.
Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Of course Hillary has to attack Obama on the “experience” issue. There’s only a hair’s width separating the Obama vacuous promises from the Hillary vacuous promises. Trying to attack Obama on being vacuous would only expose Hillary’s identical problem. So, best to ignore it.

Of course, Hillary’s claim to “experience” isn’t anything to crow about, either. Again, there’s a hair’s width difference. But it is one that Hillary can latch on to, so it’s understandable.

Hilarious, but understandable.
Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

Alright already! Everyone is beginning to realize Obama is so full of gas he might well be mistaken for some 19th-century French balloonist.

What I want to know is this: with all the primary exit polls out there, with Democrat voters out in droves for Obama, what percentage of his votes are really votes against Hillary? I know she has negatives approaching 50% because polling tells me so. Is the Democrat turnout pumped up by anti-Hillary voters? Are these real votes for Barack by Democrat Obamanists? Or am I witnessing some Obamanable media snowjob that just might result in an Obamanable President?
Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

The article you wrote regarding Sen. Obama’s lack of substance and false message of hope is just what I have been looking for in recent weeks from the media. Somehow he has managed to slowly move along this election process and quietly avoid any criticism for his apparent empty, singular message of “hope.” I particularly enjoy your comparison of this message to the underlying theme in The Great Gatsby which I just re-read for my college course on the Modern American novel. The connection you point out is undeniable, and frankly, frightening if he manages to lead this country as our next president and the result is as negative as Gatsby’s demise. I only hope our nation and the media can focus more on substance and less on the frills of Sen. Obama’s clearly inspirational rhetoric.
Brian Allen
San Francisco State University

Re: Eric Earling’s Huckabee’s Thin-Skinned Blast:

We’ve learned that Huckabee is a fighter and we’ve known for a long time that Rollins is a fighter. I personally think that it was ridiculous of Washington Republicans to stop counting votes after 87% were counted, regardless of what the party muckety-mucks in Washington state say. It makes no sense at all to leave 13% of the votes uncounted when a 200 vote margin seperates the candidates. Basic fairness, democratic process, and simple common sense dictate that all the votes be officially counted. The networks can make their “calls” with some percentage of the votes counted but the network calls have been wrong in the past. Party and election officials should count the votes and certify the result — not make a prediction and then stop working. The results do matter, there is an effect on the momentum in a campaign, even in non-binding straw polls much less an official caucus. Because the results matter, both caucuses and non-binding straw polls should be fairly conducted and all the votes counted before officially declaring the winner.
Greg F.

Re: Greg Kotecki’s letter (under “He Thinks Not”) in Reader Mail’s John Dear:

In regard to Mr. Kotecki’s letter published 2/14/2008 re union growth.

Can promoters of unions spell M-I-C-H-I-G-A-N or A-U-T-O C-O-M-P-A-N-Y? They are having a spot of trouble, thank you very much in large part to unions.

And, as to union membership rolls, the very slight (negligible?) increase in 2007 is directly attributable to unionization of government employees, including T-E-A-C-H-E-R-S.

Might there be a correlation between the decline in (1) the USA’s auto industry, or (2) the decline in the product of our educational institutions and the abuse of power by unions?

The US BLS report is at
Nelson Ward
Cowles, New Mexico

I had to read the letter from Greg Kotecki twice since it was poorly worded, mostly incomprehensible and written in horrible grammar. But it did remind me that Union loving workers are too stupid to take care of themselves. Thus they vote mostly for Democrats and the nanny state.

Let’s look at some of his lies. Manufacturing is alive and well in Southern states. The dying auto industry is only hurting GM and Ford here in the south while Nissan and Toyota grow. Nissan just moved its entire North American headquarters a few miles from my home in Franklin, Tennessee. The Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee has jobs that are as precious as Green Bay Packers season tickets and just as hard to get. The Nissans they make there are in high demand and they are starting a new SUV crossover line.

The same can’t be said for the Saturn plant just to the south of me in Spring Hill, Tennessee. That “new kind of car company” was supposed to be different from the top down model but the UAW held GM hostage in 1991-1993 negotiations lest they create a union shop here. The union won. So instead of all the promised local jobs another few thousand were shipped down from Detroit. Today the plant is in its fourth refitting and, I believe, now making its tenth concept of an automobile that won’t sell.

The Saturn plant is union. The Nissan plant is not. GM just lost $39 billion dollars. Nissan is expanding.
Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

Re: Mike Tomlinson’s letter (under “Long Distance Relationship”) in Reader Mail’s John Dear:

I want to thank Mike Tomlinson for his rational letter concerning John McCain. I, too, am not crazy about the man. But who else is out there, or will be out there? At this point, any alternative to McCain would require a third party candidate that would ensure a Democrat win. Who wants Obama or Hillary filling that role?

And thank God that people like Mike are out there and doing their duty. Take care, Mike, and please come back safely! We need your wisdom around here. Godspeed.
Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

I would like to thank Michael Tomlinson for saying what needed to be said. You hear a lot of angry posturing by self-styled “conservatives” who are nothing but myopic history-challenged narcissists. It is obvious from their bellicosity that their problems are far deeper than the issues they fulminate over.
Craig Marshall

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