Palin political blunder

Unless John McCain is very lucky, his selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate will probably go down as the political blunder of the century. Although we will never see any, I would love to read interviews concerning the pick with Mitt Romney, Joseph Lieberman and Tim Pawlenty, all of whom spent a lot of time, effort and money seeking that position — and any one of whom would have been far more qualified.

Mr. McCain, whom I respect greatly for his military history, has spent months complaining about Mr. Obama’s lack of experience, and yet he picked someone who has been governor of an “offshore state” for less than two years and before that mayor of a town with a population of 8,000.

We all know why he picked her. He thinks she is going to pull in Hillary’s 18 million votes plus all the other women voters in the country.

Such a belief — that women will vote for any woman — is an insult to Hillary, to her followers, to women in general and to the entire country.

Such a belief does not surprise me coming from someone who once repeated a joke about Chelsea Clinton that was tasteless, unfunny and worst of all—cruel to a young person.

If I were a Republican and did not want to change my allegiance to Obama, I would think about sitting this election out.

Stephen Allen


• • •

Nothing to laugh about

John McCain’s supporters say he has a great sense of humor. But are McCain’s jokes, which all too often ridicule, demean and degrade others, really funny?

McCain has been quoted as referring to Leisure Village, an Arizona retirement community, as “Seizure Village,” and as joking that the best part of having Alzheimer’s disease is that “you get to hide your own Easter eggs.” Other McCain classics include his Chelsea Clinton ugly joke, his bomb Iran song and his recent quip that he has stopped beating his wife.

These past and current examples of McCain’s warped sense of humor, which reinforce and promote negative attitudes about aging, the stereotype that women enjoy being attacked sexually, and trivialize war as something to be laughed about, are not only tasteless and offensive but convey clearly that he is lacking in good judgment, empathic understanding and regard for his fellow human beings.

Reversing his previous position on abortion, candidate McCain has now hopped onto the pro-life bandwagon in a transparent effort to gain conservative Christian votes, but he shows little reverence for life. He has voted against pay equity for women, repeatedly shot down legislation to increase the minimum wage and wants to dismantle the Social Security system.

If the American people send John McCain to the White House, the joke will be on us.

Josephine A. Bright


• • •

Filling in the blanks

The author of the letter to the editor in the Aug. 30-31 edition of the BDN concerning Sen. Obama’s vice presidential pick seems to be espousing a deeply felt certitude: “Sen. Obama did not select his running mate last week. He selected his running mate 20 years ago. Her name is Michelle.” While the statement resounds with a certain definitiveness, the author’s true intentions remain unclear.

Those of us who are cynics feel the author must have been burned by some of Michelle Obama’s comments on the campaign trail and thus he couldn’t care less whom Barack Obama selects as a vice presidential candidate. But those among us with a more idealistic world view believe the author is presumably making a positive statement about the strength of the Obamas’ marriage. Still, the author’s brevity could be explained as tongue-in-cheek open-endedness or a linguist’s attention to the use of the word “mate.”

Since the author’s true intentions may never be known, inquiring minds may have to make up their own meaning.

Wesley John Hopper


• • •

Allen a better choice

I’ve heard Susan Collins’ political advertisements frequently in the past weeks. These ads contain feel-good messages but do not reflect the kind of representation Maine needs and deserves.

Sen. Collins says she is proud to have brought a large number of defibrillators to Maine, but what is her record on pushing for real improvements in health care? She advertises tax credits for teachers to pay for school supplies, but does not mention that her bill (S.1727) is a credit for “an amount equal to 50 percent” of “qualified education expenses” and “does not exceed $300.” What about real federal dollars to fund federal education mandates rather than merely giving teachers back up to half of what they donate to public education?

Sen. Collins’ votes against the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act demonstrates her lack of support for Maine’s forest products industry, expansion of school nutrition programs and the small Maine farmer in order to protect more moneyed interests.

Maine needs a new senator who will work for improvement on a large scale, not one who authors and supports bills that provide cover for maintaining the status quo. I urge you to examine Tom Allen’s proposals and voting record. They convince me he is a better choice for Maine.

Tad Johnston

Old Town

• • •

On animal testing

Carolyn McKinnon’s letter “Animal terror” (BDN, Sept. 3) reeks with childish emotionalism. More importantly, it illustrates the dangerously convoluted value system of so-called animal rights extremists who elevate animal life above human life.

McKinnon objects to Frankie Trull’s condemnation of domestic terrorists who firebomb buildings and threaten people’s lives. She also laments animals used for research, “crying in fear and pain, never seeing the light of day, never being able to run or play.”

Has she given thought to all the children her statement applies to, children whose only hope for any quality of life rests with medical research? She might want to take a long look at the front page photo in the same edition of the paper. Would she look Kiki Atwood in the eye and say, “Sorry, but lab rats are more important than your son”? Would she choose “animal rights” over research and let her own child or sister or father suffer instead? I think not.

Animal rights extremism is no joke. The FBI has described the leading animal rights extremists in this country as “our most serious domestic terrorist threat.”

Jack Gagnon


• • •

Collins the right choice

Why is Tom Allen bringing a congressman from California to Maine to try and tell us how to vote? Do they think they know Sen. Collins better than we do?

I know Sen. Collins and I know she is a hard-working senator who always puts Maine first. She has fought for better health care, better education, and better security for our na-tion. As one of the leaders of the Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Collins is one of the most powerful and influential mem-bers of the Senate. It’s too bad that Tom Allen is resorting to the politics of personal destruction that he pledged to denounce.

Rebecca Pratt