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Top 10 Letters

UFOs, Goldhagen mistakes, LaRouche, Queen Elizabeth, advice for David Tell, and more.

11:00 PM, Nov 3, 2002
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Faced with a similar (or worse) dilemma living in Oakland (Barbara Lee's congressional district) where the choices were Lee, a Green candidate, and several members of the crop circle party, my husband and I bought a 30 acre "ranch" in very conservative Amador County (Sierra Foothills, home of zinfandel). There, surrounded by resplendent beauty (although my morning compute to San Francisco) exceeds two hours), we can vote for candidates who largely share our views--even if their voices are drowned out by the rest of California. Perhaps David Tell should do the same.

--Pamela Victorine

*7*

OK, here's what David Tell should do.

(1)Vote for the Republican. Tell may think that Connie Morella has never cast a vote that he agreed with, but she actually has done so, at least once for every session: She has voted to organize the House under Republican leadership. Does Tell want Denny Hastert or Dick Gephardt as Speaker?

(2) When in doubt about referenda, vote against the position recommended by the government. They are not looking out for your interests. If it is not obvious what the government is looking for, vote in a way that will most likely make government's job harder. Thus, on Question A, vote "no." Keep the county attorney and the City Council at each other's throat and they will have less time to browse your pocket.

(3) Never vote for anybody who's running unopposed. What's the point? If the unopposed candidate fields fewer votes this time than last time, maybe someone will think of opposing him next time.

Or, just boycott the election. As a friend of mine told me recently, "If we vote now, it means that the politicians have won."

--Charles Meyrick

*8*

Rachel DiCarlo's piece on Bob Ehrlich (Smiling His Way to an Upset?) highlights an important development: I believe that it signals the end of the Democratic party's overwhelming dominance in Maryland. In future elections, they may have to actually campaign.

Also, the Maryland Democratic party will have to re-learn how to court the African-American vote. Instead of trying to dodge the issue of race, Bob Ehrlich has tackled it directly. He nominated an African-American, Michael Steele, for his running mate. He has managed to pick up some endorsements from African-American community leaders. He even engaged in a NAACP-sponsored debate with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend at Morgan State University, a predominantly African-American University. Bob Ehrlich may not be the ideal candidate for African-Americans who harbor political beliefs similar to that of members of the Democratic party, but he was willing to go after their votes. Meanwhile, Townsend nominated Charles Larson, a retired admiral.

Finally, this election cycle may signal the end of the Kennedy mystique in national politics. Several qualified Maryland Democrats were discouraged from running for governor in deference to the Kennedy name. Bob Ehrlich was warned, too, but he bucked the conventional wisdom. If Bobby Kennedy's daughter cannot get elected on her name and devotion to the liberal values espoused by her family, then what good is it being a Kennedy Democrat?

--Ian Fallon

*9*

Fred Barnes says the public understands the economy because we see it every day (The Worstest Hyperbole in the World--Ever!). No, we don't.

I don't know what the unemployment problem is like--either nationally or locally. I don't know how big the deficit has gotten or how it affects me. Sure, I see numbers in the press and I hear people talk, but most economic figures aren't real at all. They are guidelines that help us understand a very complicated economic scene--and even the most knowledgeable experts seldom agree about their significance.

The average American recognizes when prices rise and fall, understands the value of his stocks, and sees how much his wallet is getting pinched. But he can't tell when a recession starts, or stops, or the difference between a recession or depression.

The Democrats can still make points if they can convince enough of us that the economy is sour. And millions of people just might believe the economy really is sour, because all we see is our own corner of the world.

--Sean Farrell

*10*

Jonathan V. Last omitted one of the best of the LaRouche "mishegas": The one about Queen Elizabeth heading up an international heroin smuggling ring.

--Marc Rifkin