Candidates should be the focus of reform

The Marc Rich pardon should not "impel campaign finance reform," as your Feb. 20 editorial "Pardon My Pardon?" states. It should instead impel political candidate reform. Why should we accept that politicians are corruptible and that money corrupts? Why don't we instead elect officials on whom "the corruptive influence of money on politics" has small effect? How do we do that?

Corruption certainly didn't begin during the past administration, but there are two distinctions to recent displays of corruption. First, corruption becomes more dangerous as we invest more power in our elected officials and give them increasing amounts of our money, as we do year after year.

Second, former President Clinton so corrupted the idea of ethics in public office that his motto could be "Innocent Until Proven Guilty." However, we must not accept this as the rule under which politicians govern us. Instead, we must allow politicians less influence over our lives. More importantly, we must expect politicians to behave the way we would and not be corrupted by money.

We can accomplish this because we have the right to vote. But in order to accomplish this, we have to prove that our vote cannot be bought; that our vote is not subject to "the corruptive influence of money on politics."

J. Preston Carter Grayslake, Ill.

Thank you for your Feb. 20 editorial about former President Bill Clinton and his pardon of Marc Rich. Although I am a Democrat and voted twice for Mr. Clinton - consider the options - I can only say that he left as he came in: sleazily. So now he confirms all misgivings, even as he diverts attention from the illegitimate installation of his successor.

As George W. Bush prepares to take us down the Reagan path, I should like to point out that his father took the hit for Reaganomics (or "voodoo economics," as he properly called them when he campaigned against his soon-to-be commander in chief in the '80 primaries). I voted with pleasure for George Bush pere in '88, knowing that the bill for the Reagan economic plan was sure to come due during his tenure. It did, and we got Clinton in his place. Clinton happened to win the Democratic primary race. Any Democrat who won that race would have won that election.

Peter Kiar Chicago

Sharon deserves a fair shake

The Monitor prides itself on its reputation for objectivity, and rightly. But the day after Ariel Sharon's election in Israel, a car bomb ripped through an ultra-Orthodox quarter in Jerusalem. Sharon then repeated an earlier dictum that he would not talk peace until all violence stopped.

That's not the way the Monitor reported it. According to the lead on your story in the back-page update of Feb. 10, the important news was not the explosion but that Sharon "used" it as a "pretext" for repeating his vow. Says who? Spot of editorial bias creeping in here?

Ted Berkman Santa Barbara, Calif.

No consensus on EU military force

Regarding the Feb. 8 opinion piece by Seth G. Jones, "No need to reinvent Europe's defense wheel": I realize it's just an opinion article, but I'm surprised that the author didn't mention the differing ambitions of Germany, France, and the UK regarding the EU military force. Noting that the author considers this topic underexposed in the US, I'm disappointed that he omits the issue that has received the second-most coverage in Europe (next to Turkey's objections).

Joe Walp Montgomery, Ala.

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