Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Letters to the Times

New York Times readers responded vigorously to the July 4th editorial criticizing Barack Obama. Their letters to the editor are worth reading:

Re “New and Not Improved” (editorial, July 4):

There is something very important that Barack Obama and his advisers need to understand. Senator Obama could lose the election this fall if he squanders the support of people like us, who have high hopes for him and send modest and frequent donations to his campaign.

We realize that in today’s world, we may never see a real “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”-type candidate. But if the choice in November is between two different takes on same old, same old, there is a strong possibility that we may just not vote. Mel Minthorn

Gail Minthorn

Wilton, Conn., July 4, 2008

To the Editor:

I share your disappointment with the “New and Not Improved” Barack Obama.

As a 60-year-old white woman who should have been firmly in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp, I eschewed her triangulating for the promise of a politician who promised to restore the Constitution and govern the country for the common good, not just for a wealthy elite.

It is particularly disheartening that on our nation’s birthday, a progressive Democratic candidate cannot find the courage to uphold the vision of the founding fathers against an overbearing state and instead feels moved to support warrantless wiretapping and telecom amnesty.

His disheartened supporters are beginning to see that “Change We Can Believe In” is really “Change When It’s Expedient.” Barbara Kautz

Tiburon, Calif., July 4, 2008

To the Editor:

Your excellent editorial was not strong enough. Barack Obama is in a process of betraying those who voted for him in the primary.

The Democrats have no one in leadership who genuinely leans to the left. Mr. Obama has been a little left of center on some issues, thus making him the only candidate that a good leftist could even consider.

We believed him when he talked about change. But he is showing himself not to be a man of integrity, but an opportunist, like the rest. Too bad. Hope springs eternal — but not in 2008.

Andrew P. Connolly

Manorhaven, N.Y., July 4, 2008

To the Editor:

I’m getting very frustrated with the media response to Barack Obama. I don’t agree with him on everything, not by a long shot. He’s not changing his stripes. He’s just saying what he’s said all along.

He is not an extreme liberal, but a moderate liberal, and always has been.

I disagree with his position on gay marriage, the border fence, the death penalty, gun control and his vote on the FISA bill.

I still support him enthusiastically because he is far and away the most intelligent, reasonable, far-seeing candidate we have had in a long time.

Yes, the ultraprogressive blogs are hammering him now — and believe me, I’ve let them know how I feel, too. But opinions on individual policies are one thing. Condemning him for straight talk is another.

He has not changed: the stars in your eyes have dimmed enough to see his real views. Karen Pettengill

Greenfield, Mass., July 5, 2008

To the Editor:

We don’t worry about Senator Barack Obama’s changing his mind or position on Iraq and/or other issues. Changing one’s mind with better information is a virtue, not a weakness, and an ability to adapt is a sign of a thinking person. Lord knows we need a president who is strong and flexible.

The problem with the Bush administration is that President Bush never seems to be willing to change his stance or his policies when presented with new information. That is a sign of stubbornness and weakness.

We are tired of all the accusations of “flip-flop” behavior when one of the candidates rethinks an issue and changes or modifies his position.

Carole Himmelfarb

Philip Himmelfarb

Glendale, Wis., July 5, 2008

To the Editor:

I agree that it is most disillusioning to see Senator Barack Obama go back on so many of his principled campaign positions, undermining our trust in him as a “man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games.”

Mr. Obama is not yet the Democratic Party nominee for president, and the reality is — it’s not over till it’s over. He should keep in mind that, even now, there are other viable candidates out there who would be ready, able and willing to stand up if chosen to do so.

Lee Bergman

Tuckahoe, N.Y., July 4, 2008

To the Editor:

Your editorial seems surprised that Barack Obama has shifted positions on so many important issues.

What surprised me most during the primaries was the group euphoria among the media and many Democrats for his candidacy. Most of these people were taken in by his soaring rhetoric and lofty proposals.

But these same people failed to examine his record in Chicago, a city not known for genteel politics or honest politicians. Or perhaps they chose to ignore it. If they had bothered to look, they would have found a crafty politician who made calculating choices from the very beginning.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has asked her supporters to endorse Mr. Obama. Although I cannot vote for John McCain, neither can I cast my vote for Senator Obama. He is a roll of the dice, and I’m not a gambler. Laura Stern

New York, July 4, 2008