Rigorously vetting candidates would slow trend of infidelity

(Regarding article “Sanford mystery is explained — Gov. tearfully admits affair,” June 25, and related coverage.) What the hell has happened to men, women, marriage and commitment? Seems like not a month goes by that some prominent party or religious leader — in this case South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — thought to be an example of honor, duty and integrity, is discovered chasing a skirt from behind the curtains, leaving trusting constituents to roll over in a wake of frustration, disappointment and pain. Soon thereafter we see him standing before TV cameras undressing his character, as he acknowledges and apologizes for poor behavior, and then pathetically says to let the cards fall where they may; all to get past personal guilt.

Not only has he thrown his party’s behavior code under the bus, but his family members discover they’ve been hit by the same bus, forcing them to endure public and private humiliation as their lives are publicly destroyed, and constituents are left to wonder, What does it take to find a solid leader that willingly stays the road of trust?

For God’s sake, it shouldn’t be so difficult to stand for your word and live by example. We have to stop using the same, inadequate methods to uncover our leaders, and Congress has to stop impeding the process. Politics has become such a dirty business that the goal must be to clean it up, and the first step would be finding real character-driven people who willingly live by duty and example and get them to run for office. At that juncture, constituents and politicians alike need to be willing to let duty and character clean up politics, forgoing favors, greed, sleaze and manipulative intentions.

I understand people are not perfect, but there are degrees of imperfection and it’s those degrees that need to be a fundamental aspect of the vetting process. We need to define a more stringent vetting process — not worry so much about stepping on social norms but focusing on ensuring that character and family values are deep-seated, and if that requires intruding in personal lives, so be it. We must demand character, leadership and duty — and only seek out people willing to live by those examples!

Murrieta, Calif.

Keeping his cool

From Eileen Okada

I am prompted to write in response to Sam Youngman’s article titled “Obama’s cool demeanor slips” (June 24). As I watched this press conference on Tuesday, my observation was the opposite of Mr. Youngman’s. I thought many of the reporters’ questions were disingenuous and were blatant examples of the “gotcha” mentality so prevalent in the media today.

It seemed to me as if many reporters are not truly seeking information, but already had preconceived notions of the “truth” or what the “right” or “correct” answer should be. When President Obama answered their questions, they weren’t satisfied because it didn’t fit into their preconceived opinions. I thought this was particularly obvious from the “reporters” from Fox, CNN and ABC, and the woman who really wanted to know about the president’s smoking — not really if the new law would help him quit.

I thought the president’s answers were direct and let them know he was on to their game tactics; I didn’t think his answers were an indication that he had lost his “cool.” Mr. Obama has a quick, insightful wit and doesn’t have time for speciousness or insincerity from the media, and neither does the public.

Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Dying on the vine

From Conrad Quagliaroli

Following the dishonest pattern of proposing vague bills with few details, President Obama said his new government healthcare program would give people the choice of their current plan or the government’s plan. Like most of what Obama says, it sounds good. The problem is, it could tax employers who provide private healthcare and tax employees for their healthcare.

If Obama’s plan becomes law, it won’t be long before employers stop providing healthcare, everyone is forced on the government plan, and private healthcare dies on the vine. This is literally a matter of life and death! People in countries with socialized (government) healthcare are dying on waiting lists. I spent 20 years in Europe and know firsthand how bad socialized healthcare is.

This is the same government that “manages” the veterans’ hospitals and Medicare. Medicare has an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in fraud each year and is scheduled to be bankrupt by 2019.

Woodstock, Ga.

2 a.m. alarm

From Bruce Heckelman

Cap-and-trade bills, healthcare bills, stimulus bills, paying-for-the-war bills and on and on. Doesn’t anybody on Capitol Hill wake up at 2 a.m. staring at the ceiling and say, “What the hell are we doing?”

Our economy is in shambles and will be for several years; our unemployment numbers are ever-increasing; many of our states are announcing they can’t pay their bills; and we have this insulated group of congressmen and -women and senators who can’t say, “Stop the insanity!”

We need to take a big step back and reduce the manic desire to push every possible bill through Congress. Every American should be getting on the phone or e-mailing their congressmen right now. This is absolutely a disaster on all fronts!

Mill Spring, N.C.