Congress must not roll over on latest White House gambit

(Regarding article “Bush earmarks plan roils Dems, fractures GOP,” Jan. 15.) The administration seems to be begging for a constitutional crisis. Nixon tried to do an Imperial Presidency with the budget and we got the Congressional Budget Act, which gave Congress a process to implement its constitutional control over the purse. This president has sent Congress his earmarks. Many of those are not in bill language, but instead are in reports. He can take care of those under the contemplated executive order by simply making sure the departments fund his pet projects.

Congress has tied itself into knots about earmarks. The House leadership has imposed policies and procedures that have injured the power of Congress to control federal spending. If they roll over on this latest White House gambit, they might as well elect Jim Nussle Speaker of the House and give up on the charade of a congressional budget process.


They’re no Ronald Reagan

(Regarding article “Huckabee, Thompson compete over Reagan,” Jan. 11.) I have grown quite tired of observing the Republican nominees compete for the prize of who is more aligned with Reagan values. Sadly, Huckabee and Thompson are not the only offenders.

Ronald Reagan was a perceptively shrewd and imaginatively insightful politician of his day. His principles and policies were sharply and almost melodically tuned to the issues of 1980s America. He skillfully communicated his ideas, excelled at forming broad coalition support for them, and superbly executed his plans.

That was then. This is now — the 21st century. We face different problems and challenges that necessitate fresh perspectives and values. Aspiring to be more like Reagan is irrelevant. Be your own man and seek your own unique legacy or, please, get out of the presidential race.

Dublin, Ohio

Anti-smoking tyranny

Supporters of local tobacco bans have made their choice. Rather than an attempt to protect people from an unwanted intrusion on their health, the tobacco bans are the unwanted intrusion.

The decision to smoke, or to avoid second-hand smoke, is a question to be answered by each individual. This is the same kind of decision free people make regarding every aspect of their lives: how much to spend or invest, whom to befriend or sleep with, whether to go to college or get a job, whether to get married or divorced, and so on.

The individual must be free to make these decisions because his life belongs to him, not to his neighbors, and only his own judgment can guide him through it. Yet when it comes to smoking, this freedom is under attack. Cigarette smokers are a numerical minority, practicing a habit considered annoying and unpleasant to the majority. So the majority has simply commandeered the power of government and used it to dictate their behavior.

Thunder Bay, Ontario