Political Party Rules Are Less Important Than a Candidate's Ideas

As a lifelong Democrat I read with interest your series "Democrats and the Presidency," Jan. 27, 28, and 30. However, the underlying reason for Democratic presidential failings went unmentioned.

The comments of Susan Estrich are illustrative. In 1980 Jimmy Carter's campaign was foundering, and Ms. Estrich, then a member of the Democratic Party platform and rules committee, threw him an anchor.

Today she regrets this and wants to rewrite the rules. Better she should ponder why her platform was an albatross; why local Democratic candidates disclaimed it; why voters rejected it.

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Carter's election in 1976 was not a fluke. Jimmy Carter saw that the severest problems facing America have solutions which are moral and spiritual. Democratic leaders ridiculed this idea and have alienated voters who recognize that these problems are not amendable by legislation.

This antipathy toward moral and intellectual values discourages good candidates from coming forward and renders victory impossible when they do.

Neither the party nor the country is served by a philosophy of leadership which believes that changes in party rules can substitute for a critical discussion of ideas. S. Dreith, Clay Center, Kan. Truthful information?

The article "Separating Fact From Fiction In the 'Age of Information Feb. 6, reviews Jean-Francois Revel's book "The Flight From Truth."

The article prompts me to mention two issues that are of vital concern to the future of the United States. They are: 1) the necessity of dismantling a large portion of the national governmental structure as not only wasteful and unaffordable, but redundant; and 2) being accountable for major past sins of American foreign policy, such as, assassinations and attempted assassinations; disruption of, and even purchase of, elections in sovereign countries; and destablization programs in sovereign countries.

How long can we put off taking responsibility for past wrongs? Nancy Dorsey, Columbus, Ohio Defending Cuban exiles

The Opinion page article "Treat Castro as Irrelevant," Feb. 6, is another entry in the recent boomlet by American commentators of the "let's be nice to the Red tyrant and hope he mellows" variety. Like other writers on this subject, however, this author makes gratuitously insulting comments about the Cuban exile community (which is equal to more than 10 percent of the population still on the island).

The author states that "the exiles talk about democracy" but what they really want is a return to "a status quo that produced Castro in the first place." No evidence is offered for this defamation of an entire ethnic group. What seems to bother him is that the Cuban exile community is generally prosperous and politically both adroit and right of center.

Of course, he is ready to advocate cozying up to a bankrupt anti-American regime that violates human rights - those Cubans don't make him uncomfortable. Alberto M. Fernandez, Burke, Va. Potential presidential morality

Regarding the editorial "The Character Issue," Jan. 28, the marital faithfulness of presidential candidate William Clinton is of some consequence.

If a future president while in office commits known acts widely regarded as immoral, he will probably not be a very effective president, as the willingness of the Congress and the rest of the country to respond to him will be substantially impaired. David Herron, Atherton, Calif.

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