NOTE TO READERS
On Wednesday, the Star Tribune reprinted a column by David Brooks of the New York Times. I didn't choose it for publication, but had I been making selections that day, I surely would have. It was exquisite satire -- mocking media and opposition stereotypes about Mitt Romney by audaciously mimicking them, while implicitly conceding that stereotypes are formed from a kernel of truth.
The responses were numerous and impassioned: Either Brooks (and the Star Tribune by extension) had bashed the Republican nominee in a totally lame and unprofessional manner, or he (and we) had finally seen the light -- thus demonstrating that satire is a delicate art that usually doesn't translate in the newspaper venue, even though we try now and then.
The other topic dominating the letters has been the convention, and we're turning the rest of today's package over to it. It's imbalanced, but it accurately reflects the tilt of the letters we've received in the last 48 hours, from a community of correspondents that's generally more liberal than conservative and that is responding to the news of the day.
DAVID BANKS, ASSISTANT COMMENTARY EDITOR
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Star Tribune lionizes him, despite falsehoods
In his speech at the Republican convention on Wednesday, Paul Ryan did not honestly portray President Obama's views on Medicare, or his own. He played very loosely with facts and numbers regarding the deficit and debt. And he blamed the president for the closing of an auto plant in Janesville, Wis., that happened to close a month before the president took office.
The Romney campaign continues to endorse commercials suggesting that the president has done away with any work provision attached to the welfare laws, a commercial that has been panned by a number of independent fact-checkers as blatantly false.
Yet, despite all this, the Star Tribune hails Ryan as a candidate who "vows to seize [the] calling of a generation." Very heroic words, based on a very dubious narrative. I do wish that news organizations would call out candidates (on both sides of the aisle) for blatant falsehoods and distortions, rather than serving as their cheerleaders and waterboys. It would serve the public well to hear some truth mixed in with their partisanship for a change.
MITCH KANTER, Excelsior
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It's all blame and no responsibility
I am an undecided voter and perplexed by what I'm hearing from the speeches and the surrogates at the Republican convention. What I'm hearing is that President Obama is solely responsible for not fixing the economy. This after the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
Here's what I'm not hearing. I'm not hearing that anyone else had, or has, responsibility for decisionmaking, legislating or policy-setting. It is disingenuous for Republican legislators and governors and partisan cable media personalities to suggest that the lack of a solution to the poor economy is solely the fault of President Obama. When will I hear a politician say, "We haven't found the solution. We haven't worked together. We haven't passed legislation to put specific fixes in place?"
We'll likely hear similar rhetoric during the Democratic convention. Here's hoping voters will begin holding our elected officials accountable for leadership and action.
PAUL SWANSON, Plymouth
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Driven by Tea Party and social issues
The Aug 30 Letter of the Day attacking David Brooks' attempt at humor was a typical Republican broadside. Whether one found it humorous or not, the attempt was obvious. What was not obvious was the humor anyone who really pays attention could find in Jennifer Rubin's adjoining article, a rather pathetic attempt to correct the "wrong" understanding of Republicans.
Not so humorous is my belief she will sell her article to many people.
While one could challenge all 10 of her arguments, for space I will note just a couple.
• "The GOP has been taken over by the Tea Party": A review of the party platform is probably proof enough, but Mitt Romney's flip-flopping to satisfy the Tea Party, and naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, knowing that he is the only far-right candidate to satisfy the Tea Party who has some chance of not alienating moderates too much, should be proof enough.
• "The GOP is obsessed with social issues": Sorry, but that is just about all we know about Republican plans. We all know their positions on birth control, abortion, and equal pay for women, etc., but nothing specific about plans to create jobs, beyond blocking most Democrat plans to stimulate the economy.
We know nothing about reducing the deficit other than the draconian Ryan budget, cutting social expenditures while reducing taxes on the wealthy. They say tax reform will offset those tax cuts, but fail to note that the only "reforms" with significant effect (such as eliminating home mortgage interest deductions) would hurt the middle class.
DARRELL EGERTSON, Bloomington
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I have been reading a lot lately about how you Republicans are focused on fiscal issues this election and how those Democrats are using social issues as a distraction. Really? Back in 2010, you all promised me the same thing: Your focus was fiscal, fiscal, fiscal. After you won both congressional and executive control in several states, what were your priorities? Gay marriage, abortion restrictions, crushing unions, and voter ID laws. Your focus has been social, social, social. You rammed these things through early in your term so that the voters would forget by the next election (we have short memories). Sorry, but I can't forget -- and I don't believe you anymore.
DAVID WEIDER, Shorewood
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Vote makes the case for procedural reform
Rick Santorum overwhelmingly won the Republican caucuses in Minnesota this year, but fell short of getting the nomination. So, of course, when the state's delegation announced its votes on the floor of the national convention the other day, it sought to reflect unity. One problem: Instead of following tradition and changing votes to back the nominee, the delegation gave 33 of its 40 votes to insurgent candidate Ron Paul, who was using procedure to nullify Minnesotans' intentions.
Whether it's the use of the caucus system (which truly suppresses turnout -- 50,000 people in a state this size?) over a primary, or this latest tactic, can't we finally realize we need to reform our process? Let's go to a primary to get more involvement and then lock in the votes of the delegates so that someone can't hijack them in the middle of the night.
DAVID POOLEY, New Hope