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Michael Kinsley comparing Presidents Reagan and Obama; Escondido's crackdown on illegal immigrants; Rep. Jane Harman's decision to leave Congress

February 11, 2011

Presidential timber

Re "No comparison," Opinion, Feb. 5

Michael Kinsley portrays Ronald Reagan as a failed leader. Though every presidency has its challenges and shortcomings, Reagan left behind an impressive legacy of achievements: recovery from the economic malaise of the late 1970s, dramatic expansion of freedom in Eastern Europe, and a restoration of American confidence on the world stage.

Kinsley denies that Reagan ever championed large defense cuts, having apparently forgotten the historic nuclear arms reduction treaty negotiated with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Kinsley also states that bipartisanship and compromise were not Reagan themes, even though Reagan's most significant legislative accomplishments in the areas of income tax cuts, budget deficit reduction and immigration reform were achieved with the cooperation of then-House Speaker Tip O'Neill and a Democrat-controlled Congress.

About the only thing Kinsley got right was noting that President Obama is no Ronald Reagan.

Julian Cummings

Huntington Beach

Finally, someone has said that the emperor has no clothes. With all this centennial hogwash going around, I haven't forgotten that Reagan should have been impeached for Iran-Contra.

As Kinsley points out, Reagan started the budget busting that continues today.

All these modern-day Republicans who worship at his altar would find him completely unacceptable today because he raised taxes after his disastrous 1981 cuts that heavily favored the wealthy (sound familiar?); enlarged the federal government; tried to eliminate nuclear weapons (look at the Republicans' criticism of Obama's New START treaty); supported amnesty for illegal immigrants; and signed an abortion bill as governor of California.

Reagan would never pass the current GOP litmus test.

Mark Temple

Huntington Beach

Many have used Reagan's image, name and politics in comparison to Barack Obama. Thanks to Kinsley for setting the record straight.

I would concede that Reagan then, and Obama now, share the goal of

reelection. Otherwise, there is no comparison.

For those Reagan

disciples who continue to lionize him when they invoke his memory, they might heed Kinsley's concluding remarks: "Reagan ran for president promising smaller government and a balanced budget. When he left office, federal spending was 25% higher and the federal workforce was no smaller."

Dan Pellow


I am in agreement with the title. Paraphrasing Charles Dickens, the Reagan years were the best of times; the Obama years are the worst of times.

Gunther R. Bauer

Rancho Palos Verdes

Way to go Escondido

Re "U.S., city team up to oust illegal immigrants," Feb. 5

I am amazed at how often immigration reform activists fail to take advantage of an opportunity to change the public's perception about their motives.

The program in Escondido has been designed specifically to deal only with illegal immigrants who have a criminal record. In Javier Barrera Saldivar's case, there was a woman and a child in the car whose statuses were not even checked.

Immigration reform would have a lot better chance of becoming a reality if the ACLU would look more toward how to help improve programs like this rather than implying they are anti-Latino. Stop looking at why things won't work and start helping figure out realistic answers to a serious problem.

Randy Helms

La Palma

Bravo for Escondido! When every California city joins it in getting on board to fight illegal immigration, this state will indeed be on the road to again projecting a bona fide law-and-order stance, perhaps even witnessing some recovery from the financial mess that it's in.

The question is: Are there too many illegal-immigration-rights groups to prevent this from ever occurring?

Ron Romanosky


A slap in the face from Harman

Re "Harman says she is likely to step down," Feb. 8

Rep Jane Harman's (D-Venice) decision to step down to run a Washington think tank so soon after reelection is a slap in the face not only to her constituents in the 36th District but to the entire state.

Those of us who supported her for her strength as a long-standing and influential incumbent have been sideswiped by this self-serving move and left to pick up the tab for a special election.

Thanks for nothing, Jane. Next time, bow out gracefully before jerking our collective chains.

Robert Hughes


It seems that L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn would be the best fit for the district. Unfortunately, I will not have a vote in this election.

I live in Westchester, which was gerrymandered out of Harman's district in 2000. Westchester is an anomaly, a neighborhood with a mix of conservative and liberal voters and a three-way split identity. To the real estate business, it is part of the Westside. Economically, it is part of the South Bay. But politically, it is part of South L.A., Rep. Maxine Waters' district.

The upcoming redistricting could correct this anomaly for 2012. I hope it does; my vote in congressional and state legislative elections has not mattered since 2000.

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