Zoe Baird and the People's Choice

Regarding the front-page article "Baird Rejection Signals Clout of Boomer Voter," Jan. 25: The Zoe Baird incident reminds me of the Clarence Thomas hearings. Where Ms. Baird admitted to breaking the laws she would swear to uphold, Mr. Thomas denied breaching a code of ethical conduct he has since sworn to integrate into legal rulings.

With Baird's honesty and decision to withdraw, we have a clear horizon. With Thomas's avowed innocence and approval, after such broadly debated hearings, we are left with muddy waters. The best difference our new president has already demonstrated is his willingness to listen to the people he was elected to serve. May this breath of fresh air become a gale force for political change. Marie Shih, Seattle

The consequences of the searing light of national scrutiny and judgment are that Ms. Baird will return to her $507,000-a-year corporate position as counsel for Aetna Life Insurance ably assisted by the income of her husband, a Yale University law professor.

They knowingly abused their legal expertise and responsibility not only by willfully employing poorly paid illegal aliens but by avoiding paying social security taxes. The Peruvian couple were vulnerable, and now they are to pay the price of Baird's flawed nomination: They are to be deported back to Peru.

I call upon President Clinton to stay the long arm of the law and, in an act of compassion, grant them special status until they can, with proper counsel in due course, qualify for immigration in the land of opportunity. Jane Cynthia Nielsen, Los Angeles

The reason for the rejection of Zoe Baird as attorney general is purportedly that she broke the law and therefore cannot be expected to represent it. However, the underlying tone in constituent opposition was envy at her $507,000-a-year salary. There is little hope for renewal if the nation continues to base decisions on envy and greed. Incidentally, doesn't mercy go hand in hand with justice? T. White, Arlington, Va. Clinton's honeymoon

Regarding the Opinion page column "Zoe in the Year of the Saxophone," Jan. 27: The need for ethics reform is appropriate in more ways than one. Notwithstanding, President Clinton will continue to improve upon the phrase "outside noisy, inside empty." This is because our new president's value system is flawed.

Examples include his actions to avoid the draft; his actions via demonstrations against the United States in foreign countries during the Vietnam War; his knowledge of Zoe Baird's illegal actions and continued support of her appointment. The required reform and healing must begin at the very top. Michael Garvey, Libertyville, Ill.

It seems that the news media have conspired together to assure that President Clinton must fail in every campaign promise. He has been in office two weeks, and the media have repeatedly pronounced him a failure.

In the Opinion page column "Clinton Seems to Be Promising Too Much," Jan. 26, the author reiterates the judgments of various commentators using such terms as "phony." The author also speaks of "indifference to campaign promises," and how "popularity only endures when success is being achieved." It has taken years to create the depleted condition of this country. Must we see instant cure or immediately condemn those who are attempting to improve the accumulated results of bad management? Ettamay Wildow, Carlsbad, Calif.

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