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Clinton and GOP Congress

November 17, 1996

Charles Krauthammer's Column Right (Nov. 10) is a perfect example of how the Republicans don't get it. Krauthammer says that, for the good of the party and in order to get even with the Democrats, the Republicans, in general, and Bob Dole, in particular, should refuse to work on reforming Medicare. For your edification, Mr. Krauthammer, representatives and senators are elected in order to serve and benefit the people, not the party.



* It is clear that Republicans control the political agenda in Congress. That means control of spending, control of what bills get passed. Democrats got even weaker in the Senate (45-55), as they reduced their minority status in the House (about 208-225). President Clinton has the veto, line-item and otherwise; but he cannot force spending to continue upward as quickly as it has in past years.

The real challenge will come when Clinton tries to put another liberal on the Supreme Court. This, Republicans should not allow. It is now time to de-fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. These are a voice for leftists. Let them raise their own money.


Huntington Beach

* As a Democrat, I'm turned off by your liberal column writers' criticism of President Clinton for, in their opinion, abandoning liberal principles. They want the whole loaf and refuse to recognize what Clinton did some years ago--it simply is not attainable.

They should instead be lighting fireworks for a president who has miraculously not only harnessed a runaway radical congressional majority intent on regressing to the turn of the century but succeeded in getting himself elected twice.

Democrats have themselves a man with the charm of Ronald Reagan, and a lot smarter, who has shown himself to be more than a match for a strong opposition, and our solitary hope for any real progress during the closing years of the 20th century.


Mission Viejo

* Re "Strong Campaign Gives Clinton His Second-Term Triumph," editorial, Nov. 6:

It's not only that Clinton was the first Democrat to be reelected president since FDR, it's also interesting to note that the president adapted well to his opponent's negativity by stressing family values. While Clinton connected with the public on family values, Dole did not connect with anything. While Clinton slowly moved to the center on issues of health insurance and welfare reform, Dole fell off the map.


Van Nuys

* The outcome of the presidential election affirms the heights to which the gullability of the American electorate has risen, and the depths to which its intelligence has sunk. Batten down the hatches and fasten your seatbelts, folks. It's gonna be a bumpy ride!



* I do not understand the big fuss over whether or not Clinton received 50% of the vote. He certainly didn't lose by 50% of the vote. Somewhere in that other 8% should have been a few votes for him, in essence.

I myself, a former Democrat, re-registered for the new Reform Party only because I believe it is time for our country to have three strong parties. But when it came down to it, fairly assured that Clinton would win, I couldn't find it in my heart to vote for Ross Perot. After considering the rhetoric of the various groups of leaders, I settled for voting for Harry Browne of the Libertarians, even though I knew he hadn't a chance. How much more of a protest vote do we need against that fine man, Dole, who carried the mantle for the narrow Republicans who feel they have an answer for everything, that answer being "don't."

Bravo to Clinton, who has grown in the presidency, and in four years I may reregister as a Democrat for Al Gore if I feel he needs me. Better yet, I may stay Libertarian to keep the federal government in check. Being an independent Californian, I ought to give our state government some attention. It needs some pruning, starting with Gov. Wilson. I'll watch to see if Leon Panetta needs me on his bandwagon. Or maybe Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco will run for governor. He has a real song and dance which I like. He's a politician and he knows it. But then again, I hear the Green Party made a few strides this time.



* The election is over and we can either be glad our candidate won, or some proposition failed or passed, but in one respect we have all lost. That is the fact that less than 50% of the electorate is making decisions for all of us. I believe that to survive, the democratic process must make some changes and I propose the following:

* Open and close the polls at the same moment (not the same hour). In the Eastern time zone this would mean 9 a.m.; Central, 8 a.m.; Mountain, 7 a.m.; and Pacific, 6 a.m.

* Close all polls 12 hours later.

* Consider changing election day to the first Sunday in November, except that when the first Sunday is Nov. 1 the second Sunday would be election day.

These changes would not be easy to implement but they would mean more of the electorate would vote. The exit polls would be of less importance and perhaps more than 50% would decide the future of the country instead of less than half.

Members of Congress should think more about the good of the country and less about their jobs.


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