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Special interests and partisanship

August 07, 2009

Re "The (political) party is over," Opinion, Aug. 2

Mickey Edwards is right on target when he writes that "loyalty to party undermines the very essence of representative government." One problem is that our representatives too often act not according to the honorable principles in their official party platforms but to improve their chances of reelection, which of course involves party unity and special interests.

A second problem is that we have no reliable mechanism to tell us which representatives are voting strictly for party unity instead of following their acknowledged principles. The media need to keep us informed.

Politics flourishes in obfuscation. An informed electorate goes against the interests of many politicians. Robert E. Scott

Los Angeles

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I think Edwards is confusing his own disappointment in the recent degeneration of the Republican Party with the imagined dangers of political parties in general. As a Democrat, I'm in general agreement with the basic Democratic Party ideals of looking out for the common interest, as opposed to the basic Republican ideals of selfishly looking out for the narrow interests of the wealthy and powerful.

The problems are not so much the result of party loyalty as they are loyalty to campaign contributors. The solution is not dissolution of the parties but to implement public financing of campaigns. Elected officials would be more inclined to represent the interests of the public good rather than those of corporate lobbyists.

Gary J. Halbert

Laguna Niguel

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Edwards' article really hits home for me. I was a longtime registered Republican before I changed to an independent. There is very little independent thinking from our leaders going on in Congress or the Legislature. Do you really think our leaders have our best interests at heart? Or is it special interests, to get reelected?

Forget party loyalty -- we need to throw these guys out and start over.

Terry Johnston

Newport Beach

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