No love is lost between us, but Van Hollen got bad rap

I write in response to Dr. Steve Hudson’s letter to the editor of June 19 regarding H.R. 1553, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (“Van Hollen takes undue credit for childhood cancer measure”).

I praise the good doctor for his work with victims of childhood cancer, his understanding of the need for this important legislation, and for his foray into congressional politics. I must take exception, however, to his characterization of Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) motivation for co-sponsorship of this landmark legislation.

Although there is no political love lost between Mr. Van Hollen and me, he was indeed an asset in the House passage of H.R. 1553. From his advocacy efforts in securing the 228 co-sponsors of the bill to the final assistance in scheduling committee and floor consideration, Chris Van Hollen was an ally and a friend all along the way.

Passage of this legislation was a bipartisan effort in the truest sense of the word, and this Republican believes our institution would be a finer place if there were more of it.

Washington

Van Hollen opponent polarizes cancer bill

From Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman, House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health

I was very disappointed to see that Chris Van Hollen’s opponent in this election decided to polarize a very important bi-partisan accomplishment. Steve Hudson totally misfired by attempting to minimize Chris Van Hollen’s leadership role in the passage of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act.

Rep. Van Hollen was not simply one of 229 co-sponsors of this bill as Hudson writes. He was the lead Democratic sponsor and worked tirelessly to build support for the bill and enlist co-sponsors. Moreover, he was relentless in pushing the Energy and Commerce Committee to act on the bill, and as a member of the House Democratic leadership, his support was critical in getting the bill to the floor.

Like any legislative success, this one required a team effort, but it is indisputable that Rep. Van Hollen’s advocacy was critical to the passage of the Pryce-Van Hollen legislation.

In this era of highly charged partisanship, we should celebrate the instances when we are able to put aside our differences and pass important legislation. The bill to conquer childhood cancer was one of those successes.

Washington

Vision must trump ‘change’ platitudes

From Denny Freidenrich, First Strategies LLC

There’s no question that “change” has become the cornerstone of both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns. Witness Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) “change we can believe in” vs. Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) “the choice is between the right change and the wrong change.”

I have nothing against change; in fact, I embrace it. My problem with the concept of change is it doesn’t really address the core leadership value the public craves, which is vision.

I’m very big on goals and objectives. If the goal truly is change, then I want to know what steps each candidate is going to take to make it happen. Sorry to say, but “experience” is not an objective. It is a characteristic.

As far as I’m concerned, change for change’s sake is fine if you are talking about living room furniture. It is not OK when our children’s future hangs in the balance.

Agree or disagree, Ronald Reagan’s vision for America fundamentally changed the political landscape of the 1980s. So much so, his name dominated all the GOP presidential debates earlier this year.

I want to make sure the change in this year’s election is truly visionary, not just a prop for a presidential candidate’s TV commercial.

Laguna Beach, Calif.

Obama the infirm

From Al Sartor

Regarding the article “House passes FISA overhaul” on June 20, I note that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he supported the decision, but with the “firm pledge” that as president he would monitor the program.

I wonder if Obama thinks it is acceptable to break his pledge to accept public financing of his campaign since it was merely a “pledge” — not a “firm pledge.”

Walnut Creek, Calif.