A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

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Stubborn resistance

Democrats push moderate citizens to reject them

Editor, The Times:

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Though I enjoyed “Democrats must engage GOP on the battlefield of ideals” by Robert V. Swain (Times guest commentary, Dec. 21), it was nothing more than the same mind-numbing claptrap to come from other recent Democrat operatives, trying to explain why they have lost with increasing frequency at all levels of national elections over the past decade.

The reason, for me, specifically is the all-or-nothing attitude of Democrats. I’m a Christian with a liberal social point of view. I even support abortion in an extremely limited way. I’m a fiscal conservative who is mad-as-heck at our current administration and the Republican-controlled Congress and their disgusting lack of spending control.

Nevertheless, the difference for me was as evident as the speaker list at the Republican Convention. The GOP is the party of the “wide tent.” I can disagree with people from my own party but still work together to get behind legislation that is common sense.

What we get from Democrats is typically a bunch of vitriol. I don’t care that they don’t believe in the same religion that I do, but I don’t want to be called an idiot for believing.

— Jacob Shepherd, Marysville

Balking at the whip

The Democrats are still trying to explain away their political losses without actually having to admit the majority of voters didn’t like their ideas or ideals.

Ideas vs. ideals, the letter “L”; good grief, how far are the liberals willing to go to try to rationalize their failures at the voting booth?

The party of the intellectuals? How intellectual is losing touch with the voter base? How intellectual is having Michael Moore embody your ideals?

The Democrats have allowed the far left to hijack their party, and they can’t understand why the majority of Americans cannot relate to their ravings. They were going to leave the country if they lost the election. They refuse to do anything other than pay lip service to the war on terrorism, criticize a sitting president in every word they breathe, try to cast doubt on the intellectual honesty of the citizens who voted against them, and in general are about as supportive as a house of cards.

Do the Democrats really believe that they put forth the only “good ideas”? While I disagree with many of the president’s religious ideals, I support his ideas on the conduct of the war on terror. I would still rather be fighting it in Iraq than New York. Our choice isn’t whether or not to fight, it is where to fight.

— Charles George, Stanwood

Just change horses

A lot of space was dedicated to Robert V. Swain’s theory that, for Democrats to start winning elections again, they need to focus on “ideals” rather than “ideas,” like their Republican opponents have been successful doing. Instead of trying to change colors, much like a chameleon, in an attempt to avoid differentiation with your surroundings or your opponent, wouldn’t it be much easier for Democrats to just switch to the party that already makes ideals a priority?

Of course, this “ideals” theory didn’t work in the governor’s race, where it appears Democrat Christine Gregoire will steal the election with legal “ideas.”

— Jeff Payne, Snohomish

Lonesome trail

Robert V. Swain’s encouragement to the Democrats is right on. The first thing that they need to do is “remind the American people that being an American is about freedom and the God-given right of all people to make decisions for themselves and for their families.” That is first and foremost the reason that I (an independent) voted for George Bush.

Having had my life ruled and my daughter’s life hampered by the liberals populating the courts in diametric conflict with the laws passed by the Legislature, I am more than ready for the appointment of “strict constructionists” of a moral nature.

Perhaps Swain is unaware of the destruction by the liberals of the “rights” that he lauds. If so, all he needs to do is read the Washington state Supreme Court’s majority decision re the Marriage of Littlefield and the subsequently more devastating Marriage of Pape.

These decisions destroying children and families (by any definition of family save “a mother and her children”) along with a similar erosion of rights as they pertain to property, are pushing the middle class away from the Democrats.

— Doug Martin, Olympia

Class status

Falling in the middle

I was disheartened to read “Seattle schools budget woes not unique” (Local News, Dec. 17), the interview with Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Raj Manhas.

He should be out every day talking with the mayor, the City Council, business leaders and the public about ways to increase funding for Seattle schools. Instead, he appears happy to preside over the system’s steady decline.

He speaks of “closing the gap,” but the real gap is not between black and white, it is between poor and middle class. The rich have already left the public school system, and many middle-class parents are already making enormous financial sacrifices to pay for private schools.

Manhas’ policies of bigger schools, bigger classes and continuing cutbacks will “close the gap” by driving the remaining middle-class parents out of the public schools.

Seattle is not a poor city by any stretch of the imagination. We deserve and can afford better schools — but that will never happen until we have leaders in the school administration, the city government and the press who have the courage, tenacity and intellect to make it happen.

— Henry Kautz, professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle

In the stands

This one’s gone

Last week I applauded the Seattle Mariners as they finally dished out “big money” to lift our team out of the quagmire to glory. Now I could sit back and savor the team’s victories as they are sure to roll in. Then it hit me, like that sour taste in your mouth you get from buyers’ remorse when a purchase satisfies the “quick fix,” but later turns out to be a lemon.

Who’s paying for all this? Well, that, of course, would be you and I. Love for the game has given way to lust for the highest bidder. Players we, sadly, deify laugh all the way to the bank as appreciation has given way to expectation. We shoulder the load, paying higher ticket prices and dishing out tax dollars to build stadiums. Fans complain and players protest, “But I’ve worked hard, I’ve earned it.”

Give me a break. My garbage man works his butt off for a year to earn what some player earns in a few at-bats. Heck, the surgeon in town who is called up at 2 a.m. to come in and remove your ruptured appendix (and save your life) is out-earned in one to two weeks.

When are we going to wake up as fans and quit signing these checks? I’m walking away. My pockets have been emptied too many times already.

— Tyler Anderson, Arlington

Crash course

How to retire at 100

The president says he has reasons that Social Security needs to be privatized with Social Security money going into the stock market (“Bush makes Social Security pitch,” News, Dec. 17). Well, here are just a few good reasons to not privatize Social Security:

Stock market crashes:

1901-1903: 46 percent

1906-1907: 48 percent

1916-1917: 40 percent

1920-1921: 47 percent

1929: 48 percent

1930-1932: 86 percent

1937-1938: 49 percent

1939-1942: 40 percent

1973-1974: 45 percent

1987: 22 percent

1990: 19 percent

2000-2002: 37 percent

Which crash would you be comfortable retiring under?

— John Snow, Woodinville