The Massachusetts Senate race; bad teachers; that sexy OMB director

Massachusetts’ surprise

Re “ Obama scrambles to keep Democrats’ edge in Senate,” Jan. 18

A battle cry for all Americans could be taken from Republican Scott Brown’s Senate campaign speech in Massachusetts, in which he said of the mysterious healthcare bill: “I will insist they start over. . . . I will make sure they do it better.”

Americans pay the government to do the right thing. Healthcare is a tremendous undertaking, requiring involvement by all the people, not just frivolously passed by politicians who seem to care less that future generations will be saddled with the exorbitant costs of correcting their mistakes.

Brown got it right. Insist they start over and do it better . . . for everyone’s sake.

Jean Martino

Re “ GOP wins vital Senate seat,” Jan. 20

Politicians have the power to shove anything down the voters’ throats.

Voters have the power to shove it the other direction.

Theron Collier

Media, including The Times, have described one outcome of Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts: Senate Democrats can no longer pass healthcare reform over the unanimous opposition of Republicans.

This is true, of course. But it fails to highlight the necessary predicate to that situation: the unanimous opposition of Republicans to healthcare reform.

Democrats now have a solid-gold issue on which to campaign this fall. They can say: “Every time you have to pay an extravagant co-pay, every time you must make up a huge deductible, every time you or someone you know or love is denied coverage because of a preexisting condition or a lifetime limit, think of your Republican member of Congress and vote accordingly.”

Don Warner
Los Angeles

Dear President Obama:

You won your party’s primary by promising to be nice and work with the opposition.

We’ve seen how well that worked. The Republican minority has stymied everything they could, and Brown’s election guarantees that you and Congress will accomplish nothing further this year.

Please, for the sake of all of us, take the gloves off now. The GOP has become the party of guns, oil and poison, and needs to be named as such.

Call them out on their votes. Point out what they’re doing. (And that includes their nasty little proxy senator from Connecticut too.)

You’ve been Barack. Now it’s time to become a bit more Hillary.

Douglas Green
Sherman Oaks

In the 1770s, Massachusetts united the Colonies with the Boston Tea Party and the battles of Lexington and Concord.

On Jan. 19, 2010, it saved the country by electing a Republican to the Senate. How grateful can the other 49 states be?

Paul Bernstein
Beverly Hills

To the courageous and patriotic voters of the great state of Massachusetts, I say, “Ich bin ein Massachusettser!”

Carl E. Ossipoff
Newport Beach

Chalk up another first for Obama. He is our first elected chief executive to go from inauguration to lame duck in exactly one year.

Mike Lucas
Sierra Madre

The assessment is in: Obama and the Democrats have failed. The only question is, why?

Obama was elected to end the war; he has expanded it.

Obama was elected to end the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell”; he has remained silent.

Obama was elected to end rendition and torture; he has continued these policies.

Obama did not bring hope to America. He has brought betrayal.

He could have completed all of the items on this list within 12 months. He and the Democrats chose not to. Now they will pay the price.

Ray Shelton

On second thought, worry

Re “Relax, Democrats, 2010 isn’t 1994,” Opinion, Jan. 17

Nancy Cohen’s attempt to soothe the nerves of Democrats proves that Democrats need to worry. She tries to reassure the reader that what happened in 1994 cannot possibly happen again in 2010 because the GOP “needs to broaden its constituency significantly, but nothing suggests there are sufficient numbers of additional voters who can be recruited to its cause.”

Has she no knowledge of Massachusetts, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 and yet the Republican candidate Scott Brown soared to victory Tuesday? Can she not see the handwriting on the wall?

Cohen’s final words are: “It’s time to calm down.” Beware. Those who decide not to worry are going to be sorry come November.

David Seale

Are you kidding, Ms. Cohen? One thing the Republicans have is unity. Voters look at local choices and fail to see the national apoplexy their choices can cause.

You say relax? Can you say that because global warming won’t affect you, because equal opportunity for Americans isn’t important, because fair taxation doesn’t matter, because our infrastructure isn’t caving in or because perpetual war is OK?

I can go on, but can we as a people?

Jim Hoover
Huntington Beach

Cohen proposes that although all indicators point away from a continuation of Democratic-autocratic power, that the party faithful has nothing to fear.

I wish your audience good luck with that proposition. The voters are coming, and none too soon.

Peter J. Mokler
Mammoth Lakes

Subtly incorporated within the rhetoric of the Contract with America were three issues that Republicans used to their advantage: crime, immigration and welfare. Clearly linguistic code for race, this strategy was certain to appeal to white Southerners and certain factions of white evangelicals.

This year, all the Republicans have to campaign on is the fear of socialized healthcare, which is a trans-racial issue -- the recession has affected everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity. 2010 is certainly not 1994.

Kerry Lee Riley
La Crescenta

Teacher tenure isn’t bad

Re “1 bad teacher, 7 long years,” Editorial, Jan. 18

When it comes to education, The Times seems to be wholeheartedly embracing red-herring journalism.

Based on the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s rulings on Matthew Kim, it may well be that he should have been fired long ago. But The Times’ call for schools to “get rid of tenure,” while in the next breath allowing that protections be maintained against arbitrary or political terminations, simply makes no sense.

What is misleadingly called tenure amounts to the difference between at-will employment and due process -- a vital bulwark for public employees, indeed for everyone, and especially in such a sadly politicized field as education.

Is The Times unaware of the difference? Or could it be that The Times is again scapegoating teachers and taking potshots at the teachers unions, while cozying up to those who would like to replace our public institutions with a more business-friendly scheme?

Christopher Konzelman

Meghan and men

Re “He’s hot, he’s sexy, he runs the OMB,” Opinion, Jan. 14

Great take by Meghan Daum on Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag’s surprising “ability to score with hot women.”

Daum has incredible insight into the male psyche. Her “nerd complex” could easily be expanded to include other geeks -- like some governors we know, and perhaps even former President Bill.

Aw shucks, include Tiger too.

Ron Troy
Pacific Palisades