The President's Judgment and the Vice Presidential Candidate

I fully agree with the opinion piece "Open Up Vice Presidency to Competition," May 14, that the national conventions, and not the presidential nominee, should choose the vice presidential running mate. Up until about 40 years ago the conventions always chose the vice president. However, since the 1950s one man alone has been allowed to choose the next possible president of the US. I, for one, think it is absurd.

Let's let the conventions make the vice president choice as in the past. Surely it would be better than Spiro Agnew in 1968, Thomas Eagleton in 1972, and Dan Quayle in 1988.

William Proctor Jr., Conway, N.H.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

There is one reason why George Bush picked Dan Quayle to become his running mate: to make himself impeachment-proof! In 1988, with independent counsel Lawrence Walsh breathing down his neck during the Iran-contra scandal, Bush shrewdly protected himself from possible impeachment by appointing Quayle as his running mate. No one could impeach Bush so long as the US would get Quayle as his replacement.

This maneuver created the same dilemma for Congress that Richard Nixon presented during Watergate. Congress could not impeach him so long as Spiro Agnew would be president. Only after Gerald Ford replaced Agnew could the Nixon impeachment proceedings move toward their final denoument.

Francis A. Boyle, Champaign, Ill., University of Illinois

TV, movies, and values

Regarding the Global Cultural Frontiers package of articles, May 9: I am worried about teenagers and children who have the likes of Madonna as a heroine, and I abhor the violence portrayed in movies and on TV.

Movies and television can foster superficial and destructive life values. That these false, money-making films produced by US studios are exported worldwide is even more horrifying. The violent, sex-obsessed, drug-laden society we see in so much of the country today is partly a result of media pandering to the lowest elements of our population to gain ratings.

Have we nothing better to export, much less offer, the young people of this world?

Pan Smith, West Newbury, Mass.

Fostering a respect for books

Thank you for the article "Ready, Set, Read," May 10. It is true that there is an interest in children's reading in some areas, and there certainly is a wave of colorful and attractive new books for children.

For those who cannot afford to buy them, books are still available at public libraries. Lamentably there is not nearly the amount of money available for schools and libraries to stay open and purchase the things they need. And to this librarian, it is even more lamentable that books and reading do not get the respect they deserve. Part of every library's book budget goes to repair and replace books poorly handled by youngsters who do not appreciate or understand the value of having good books.

Ruth Raczka, Milwaukee, Wis.

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