ROADBLOCK OR LEADER?
Pawlenty must step up
Gov. Tim Pawlenty believes DFL legislators are trying to sidestep him because they believe he's "irrelevant."
No, they see him as the roadblock he is when it comes to funding the roads, transit and bridge repair that are sorely needed in this state.
I can't think of anything whose cost has not increased in 20 years except the gas tax. Even in the wake of collapsing bridges, he refuses to be a leader.
For a person who is reportedly on the short list of vice presidential candidates for John McCain, he would be well-advised to start practicing some "straight talk" with Minnesotans and show himself to be a leader, instead of a roadblock, on this most pressing issue.
PHYLLIS RODEN, MINNEAPOLIS
THE DEMOCRATIC RACE
Wilson's odd logic
One thing isn't clear to me about Joe Wilson's call to Democrats to support Sen. Hillary Clinton for president ("Democrats can't wither under attacks," Feb. 19). If Barack Obama can't beat John McCain, and Clinton can't beat Obama, how does it follow that Clinton can beat McCain?
Four years ago the Democrats sent up a candidate who, according to conventional wisdom, had the best chance to win in November. That didn't work out too well. This year, maybe we should try sending a candidate to the general election with a track record of wins in the primaries.
JOE GARRICK, ANOKAEqual treatment?
As presidential candidate and a woman, Hillary Clinton can be attacked savagely by political pundits, late night comedians, syndicated columnists and cartoonists without fear of being charged with sexism, but can they do the same with Barack Obama without being labeled racist?
Think about that for a moment. It may explain why she is being treated quite differently up to this point from her challenger. When will the honeymoon be over for Obama? How will the media handle attacks on him and his policies in the future?
LEE PAULSON, GLENWOOD, MINN.The case for Obama
The idea that Barack Obama's talents lie only in speeches while Hillary Clinton has the experience to get things done is ridiculous when you consider their two campaigns thus far.
Obama has built a campaign organization that has him leading Hillary in pledged delegates, total popular vote, and in almost every voter category of age, race and gender. You don't do that with speeches.
He has surrounded himself with top-notch advisers, some even from the previous Clinton administration. That's exactly the type of judgment required of a chief executive. His campaign message has been crisp and steady, and he's built a tremendous financial organization as well.
Hillary's campaign has been the exact opposite. Her message changes depending on the polls, she had to fire her campaign manager, and she can't control Bill. Even with the edge Democrats have this November, early polls show it's not clear she can beat McCain.
Experience does not equate to good judgment. But judgment and the ability to inspire can transform our national politics and change the world in the process.
ZOL HEYMAN, ARDEN HILLSThe fluff candidate
Much has been made of the firsts in this year's presidential election: the first serious female candidate, the first viable African-American nominee, the first Mormon contender and even the first candidate to encounter a UFO. Yet despite the chatter, we have failed to recognize another possible first: the first People Magazine president.
An attractive and articulate figure comparable to John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama has chosen rhetoric of "change" and "hope" in lieu of substantive policy solutions. While stirring, his language does little to address national security, ballooning entitlement spending or any other challenge.
If we permit rhetoric to trump substance in this year's election, future generations may wonder why we were audacious enough to choose hope.
ROSS WIDMOYER, MINNEAPOLIS
A call to action
According to the Feb. 17 Star Tribune, a Minnesota teen dies in a traffic crash roughly every five days. And we're waiting for the government to make some changes?
Changes can be put in place today that may save a life tomorrow. Parents can monitor their own teen's driving, and they can do it now -- without waiting for governmental intervention. No phone calls, no texting, only one friend in the car and no late-night driving are just some of the guidelines a family might choose to enforce.
True, teens may not like it, but would their parents rather have their teen never be mad at them or have their teen alive?
DEBBIE COSS, MAPLE GROVE
Be a buyer, not a seller
I am a Northwest Airlines stockholder, frequent flier and taxpayer. Do I benefit from a Delta takeover? No. Those who do benefit are Delta and Northwest executives, hedge funds, mutual funds and money managers who get immediate gain on stocks at the cost of losing Northwest.
There is a better way. Northwest can stop being the passive -- and become the active -- player in airline mergers and acquire Continental.
Northwest has an agreement with Continental, the "golden share," giving it first right to a deal with Continental. They have complementary route structures and a close partnership already in place. Continental's total stock value is almost half of Northwest's. These are the makings of a great business move for Northwest and its customers, employees, business partners, and the state of Minnesota.
Our economy has suffered much for the gains of the money elite. Business left to itself does not always make good decisions for the marketplace, the consumer, or sometimes even the companies themselves. That is why the money elite knows it must act before President Bush leaves office, because the next administration may serve better interests.
JIM HAUGEN, GOLDEN VALLEYSend the invite now
With the Northwest/Delta merger, maybe the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Minnesota politicians can get Southwest Airlines to serve the Twin Cities. Can you say $59 flights to Phoenix?
TOM LUTZ, RICHFIELD