Reassessing Republican claims of policy success

What a quaint fantasy world Rep. David Dreier (R) of California's 26th district inhabits – at least that's a fair conclusion upon reading his Oct. 26 Opinion piece, "A GOP record of achievement." The record of Republicans hasn't been as rosy as Mr. Dreier declared.

Federal deficit: At the end of 2000, just before President Bush took office, there was a surplus of $236 billion. But the GOP used pork and tax cuts for the rich during a time of war to create the largest deficit in history.

Taxes: The GOP gave tax cuts of more than $4,000 over three years to some of the richest Americans but only about $55 over the same period to the shrinking middle class. A significant number of new jobs pays 30 percent less than those lost to outsourcing. Not to mention corporate "offshore" tax loopholes given by the GOP.

Iraq: Perhaps the most audacious implication in Dreier's piece is that Democrats advocate admitting defeat in Iraq. This is childish. I and many other Democrats urge convening a conference of all involved parties, seeking short- and long-term solutions, international assistance and input, plus strict oversight of funds for Iraq.

Katrina: Where was Dreier on the day Katrina hit? He was with Mr. Bush, who was touting Medicare prescription drug benefits, which did not benefit the seniors it was supposed to serve.

Dreier seems to believe that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." I suppose if you say it often enough, you may start to believe it.
Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews
La Verne, Calif.
Democratic candidate for Congress, 26th district

In his Oct 26 Opinion piece about GOP successes, I can appreciate Rep. David Dreier's attempt to get voters to focus on the accomplishments of the Republican party and vote "for something" as compared with voting "against something." However, Mr. Dreier's claims reflect the very reason many voters are dissatisfied with the GOP: Republicans' continual denial of the problems caused by these "achievements."

Dreier seems to overlook the fact that the tax cuts and the courageous stand taken in Iraq have created the worst deficit in years. Touting benefits of the US Patriot Act also overlooks the loss of civil rights. And Dreier doesn't discuss the Military Commissions Act, which strips prisoners of habeas corpus and allows the US government to use interrogation techniques that amount to torture. Dreier mentions establishing allies in the Middle East but does not cite the loss of our credibility with allies in Europe. I must ask the good congressman: How are these examples of progress in our economy and the war on terror?
Rick Onderdonk
Tehachapi, Ca.

Hazing doesn't have to be bad

I really enjoyed the Oct. 25 article, "They doff their beanies to tradition." As someone from a school steeped in tradition (the University of Notre Dame), I understand what it means to earn your spot among some of the best and brightest. Hazing has gotten out of hand because the few have ruined it for the rest of us. There are many firsts in your freshman year of college, and learning your place in an environment much bigger than yourself should be one of them. I understand that destructive hazing can be a problem, that is why I was happy to read about the situation at Wabash College. If only more schools could allow for productive hazing, I think all students would gain from this experience.
Greg Carney
Stillwater, Okla.

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