Re "Why she lost," Opinion, Nov. 4
Arnold Steinberg doesn't get it quite right when he says that "for [Meg Whitman] to win, she needed to be liked." It would be more accurate to say that for a wealthy businessperson to win, they need to prove to voters that they are likable.
Why? Because Californians have been led to believe (by the media, by celebrity pundits, by liberal professors) that successful businesspeople are not to be given the public trust. And as long as we go on believing that, our ballots will be rife with action heroes, career politicians and the activist du jour.
Let's hope our treatment of Whitman does not scare off future candidates from the business elite.
Why did Whitman lose? Unlike Steinberg, I can sum it up in three words: Nicandra Diaz Santillan.
Notwithstanding Whitman's slim voting record, excessive spending and dishonest advertising campaign, ultimately it was the quietly courageous voice of a housekeeper that toppled the billionaire businesswoman.
Steinberg maintains that Whitman's main problem was that she never defined herself to the voters as anything more than a big spender. Wrong.
From the primary campaign against Steve Poizner to the very end, her ads defined her as a negative campaigner who'd say anything to win. The dustup over her housekeeper merely reinforced the image.
The idea that not putting forth an ad campaign to give the public an idea of her wonderful character somehow left a vacuum in the public mind is nonsense. People had plenty of evidence to form an opinion, and the result wasn't pretty.
Not much middle ground
Re "The shrinking center," Nov. 4
The reality is that the "political center" spoke on Tuesday and voted a large number of progressives out of office.
As The Times correctly notes, the result will likely be gridlock. Gridlock, however, is only an issue when one is trying to get to a target destination.
But political success is not measured by how many pieces of legislation get passed. The perceived gridlock may not be what the progressives want, but it is far superior to their desired destination. Fortunately, the political center recognized that and voted accordingly.
The political center was not the big loser on Tuesday; it was the big winner.
In 1948, Harry Truman shocked Thomas Dewey with an upset victory by attacking the Republican-controlled Congress as the "do-nothing" Congress. Sen. Mitch McConnell was around kindergarten age and Rep. John A. Boehner was born about a year later.
Because the economy is in worse shape today than it was then, McConnell, Boehner and the Republicans risk the same fate that befell Dewey if they continue to block Obama's proposals to get people back to work.
It's the economy, stupid!
It's the unemployment rate, stupid!
The sad thing is it's neither of these. It's to defeat Obama, simple as that. If you don't believe that will be the objective, just watch the next two years.
We're after hearts and minds
Re "War is hell," Opinion, Nov. 3
In World War II, our strategic objective was the unconditional surrender of Japan, and one of the tactics we employed was to kill as many Japanese as possible, including fire-bombing (and atomic bombing) their cities.
The strategic objective in Afghanistan is to win the confidence of enough Afghans so that they can establish a political system to keep the Taliban at bay. The tactics we employ must be consistent with that objective.
Morality aside, the same tactics that led to victory over Japan will lead to failure in Afghanistan.
I don't understand the point Jonathan Zimmerman is trying to make. Is he saying that the end justifies the means? I would agree with him if he is saying that warfare often brings out inhumane behavior in people. War is neither noble nor ennobling.
The question we need to ask is whether warfare should be used as a tool of international relations, especially considering its disastrous effects.
Movie magic and midterms
Re "The 'Toy Story 3' midterms," Opinion, Nov. 2
I'm sorry, but was Andrew Klavan's Op-Ed article supposed to be ironic? It is bizarre in its naivete.
Is he really so simplistic as to reduce supporters of President Obama's progressive and inclusive ideals to "sissified men, race-baiters and gender warriors"?
Is his American dream our "heroic cowboy past" (sorry, Native Americans) and our "Space Age optimism" (too bad that darn Vietnam and the Cold War got in the way of that)?
Klavan is insulting to Americans and to a terrific movie.
"Toy Story 3" belongs to everyone, and we choose to enjoy it as it is. Certainly Klavan can create a political fable from whatever he wishes; however, he hasn't made us believe that only his side exemplifies Woody's and Buzz's "old virtues" of courage and heroism while everyone else is a villain.
The original movie was much better.
Get over it
Re " 'Don't ask' — just do it," Editorial, Nov. 3
As a veteran, I believe the question needs to be asked: Are our troops so "sensitive" that we need to do a study as to how the integration of gays and lesbians will affect them?
Please. We had gays in our units back in 1961. Not once did I hear anyone voice a concern about sexual orientation.
All this discussion and examination of the appropriateness of getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell" makes me wonder if we're talking about the concerns of military personnel or of those whose sensitivities are so fragile that we need to protect them from a reality that was very ordinary in the military of 50 years ago.
San Juan Capistrano
Re "Fed to try a tonic of cash," Nov. 4
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke says that the "biggest mistake the government can make is to not do everything it can to fuel spending." But printing billions of new dollars puts us at huge risk of runaway inflation.
Rather than putting $600 billion into the financial market, why not just give Americans a tax holiday? No income tax for a period of time.
If fueling spending is the goal, then we the people should have money to spend instead of the bankers and Wall Street fat cats.
Trent D. Sanders
La Canada Flintridge
Re "Full circle for POW bracelets," Column One, Nov. 4
How times have changed. Your article said that James Hivner, who was a captain when he was shot down over Vietnam, received promotions while in captivity.
During World War II,
I was captured by the Germans on Dec. 19, 1944, and was a prisoner of war for about four months. While in captivity, I never received any promotions.
I was promoted from private to private first class on the day of my honorable discharge on Dec. 5, 1945.