Your Sept. 13 editorial concerning Colin Powell mentions what you call "the growing distrust of the professional political class." This distrust grows directly out of some so-called "reforms" of a few decades ago, viz. the presidential primary system.
It had its flaws, but the old system (smoke-filled rooms and meaningful conventions) generally threw up an eminent and seasoned man somewhat above the preliminary partisan debate. A partisan himself, he could nevertheless enter the general campaign seemingly above petty politics. If successful, he would take office on a much higher level than what seems possible today.
So why are people interested in Colin Powell, William Bennett or Ross Perot? Easy. They want a President, not a candidate.
* According to media reports on Sept. 12, Powell favors gun control even though he owns guns. He maintains that affirmative action helped him get ahead, but dislikes quotas. He is reluctantly in favor of a woman's right to have an abortion, although he would prefer to see babies carried to term and given up for adoption. He is against school prayer but would be in favor of a "moment of silence."
He sounds like the ideal "center-of-the-road" candidate we have been seeking. But it seems impossible that an independent President could wield control of Congress. Therefore, one of the parties should embrace him soon. Which one should it be?
* Powell may be the only genuine candidate for President, but only if he chooses to run as an independent. The Republicans don't want him to run unless he runs as a Republican, because they will lose if he runs as an independent. The Democrats don't want him to run unless he runs as an independent, to ensure President Bill Clinton's reelection, or as a Democrat to get rid of Clinton.
Newt Gingrich said that Powell should not run for President as an independent outside the two-party system because it would be "a joke" and "a disaster" (Sept. 11). Gingrich also said that this country runs on the two-party system. This country has been seriously injured by the two-party system, and what a scary arrogance of power it is to ignore the fact that there are several other legal parties in existence.
Rush Limbaugh, the Republican hit man, has already started his campaign to demonize Powell as a spoiler, lacking in any leadership capabilities. Limbaugh's self-appointed mission is to scuttle Powell, Ross Perot or any other independent from running or forming a third party. His mission is to intimidate moderates into being rabid conservatives and to scoop up the middle for the Republicans.
This country was not founded or intended to be a two-party, or any party system of government. When the so-called two-party system came into full force and effect, it turned into a "disaster" of a government of partisan politics, and "a joke" on the people.
I was a registered Republican for over 30 years, until I broke loose from the narrow view to be an independent. I know that the vast majority of voters want to make a declaration of independence from party politics altogether. We don't want any more hucksters promising and telling us what we want to hear and then doing something else. We want to be a government of ourselves. The only way we can survive is to get behind someone like Powell, for him to be himself, and to champion our independence from that devastating partisan chokehold on our crippled society.
DANIEL B. JEFFS
* Is the Powell campaign going to be like the Windows 95 hype, more mega-bark than byte?
* I have read many, many articles urging Powell to run for President, and just read Christopher Matthews' Sept. 7 commentary, again urging Gen. Powell to run now. Part of Matthews' reasoning was that a black fits the nation's needs now.
Most Americans know by now that Powell is black. Will newspapers and columnists ever get over identifying a person by race? Would Powell be a black presidential candidate? Will Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) be a white presidential candidate?
I am 65 years of age. I will swim from Long Beach to Catalina (without stopping) if Powell is nominated by any party.
As a hypothetical question: If elected, could President Powell live in certain neighborhoods of Washington: Georgetown, or in Maryland?
MAXCY D. FILER