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The Not-So-Radical Left
Fareed Zakaria's "The Pragmatic President" is very disappointing [Aug. 22]. He claims that liberal criticism of Obama is based on "fantasy." That's insulting. Obama's preaching against the Bush tax cuts and then twice caving in that's not fantasy. Zakaria calls for a robust national banking system. Wall Street's wild speculation and predatory lending represent the opposite of that. And as a Democratic precinct leader, I can tell you Obama's letting the issues be defined by the GOP for three years has crippled us. He has failed to encapsulate his values in inspiring, memorable terms. He might start with Main Street and the common good. But Obama's advisers, with their devotion to the centrist myth, need to ask themselves, Will the volunteers of 2008 turn out in 2012?
John Bohstedt, KNOXVILLE, TENN., U.S.
I enjoy Zakaria's articles, but this time he got it wrong. The President needs to send the message to the right that we will not compromise with budget terrorists. To threaten to refuse to pay a rightful debt is not gamesmanship; it is blackmail.
Gerald A. Cerveny Sr., TAMPA
Reading Zakaria's article, I couldn't help but wonder why U.S. politicians on the right and left have been so unwilling to compromise. It's time they clean up the mess they've made and start working with their pragmatic leader, who is very able, willing and ready to lead. Otherwise, they will be remembered as those who failed America.
Sultan Feyissa, ADDIS ABABA
The Pain Remains the Same
I am a Vietnam veteran who will never forgive or forget the damage Jane Fonda has done [10 Questions, Aug. 22]. Why the U.S. holds her in such esteem will forever be a mystery to all veterans.
Ralph Fretta, JACKSON, N.J., U.S.
Joel Stein's "Baby on Board" was excellent [Aug. 22]. Just the fact that he as a parent recognizes that his offspring might be less than pleasurable to other air travelers, and almost sounds apologetic, is enough to help me endure the next time a child kicks my seat from behind as I lift a cup of semihot airplane coffee to my lips.
Gabriel Verhoef, CAPE TOWN
A Party to the Problem
Rana Foroohar's "Struck in the Middle" made many fine points [Aug. 15]. But she failed to mention that the current fiscal crisis began with the housing meltdown. And that was caused primarily by banks' making silly loans to people who could not afford them. Why did banks do this? Because Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Barney Frank and Maxine Waters repeatedly urged them to help the poor get a house to own. Sometimes well-intentioned politicians do absurd things, and in this case the consequences were catastrophic for our entire nation.
Frank J. Russo, PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., U.S.
The rationale for not making the wealthy pay a proportional share of the tax load has always been that it would hamper rich folks' ability to "trickle down" any excess to the peons. Have you noticed any floods of money trickling down lately? Both parties have worked to totally eliminate our middle class.
Jess Watson, SWARTZ CREEK, MICH., U.S.