D.J. Tice (“As always, Biden goes where the wind blows,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 27) makes the tired case that Joe Biden is boring and indecisive. Tice’s major evidence? It’s that Biden has called for a study of Supreme Court reforms rather than proclaim a firm position on the single question of whether the court should be expanded. But Tice’s underlying premise is dead wrong — that leaders must be bold, charismatic and willing to make instant decisions. That’s a better description of demagogues and authoritarians. Why, oh, why can’t we have a president who will think deeply, act carefully and avoid the pressure — the wind from a different direction, if you will — to be a “personality”?
I’m on the left side of liberal but thought Biden’s response to the court-packing question was exactly right. The emergence of a bitterly partisan (and minority-controlled) Supreme Court is not sustainable, and there are many ways to address that problem. Some of the solutions might even draw bipartisan support. But to reach a snap judgment on one of them — just because conservatives demand an answer — is irresponsible. We’ve had four years of “bold,” uninformed decisions. Why not give deliberation a try?
Stephen Bubul, Minneapolis
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I’m a fan of Tice and faithfully read his columns to get his perspective, but think he missed the mark in his criticism of Biden not taking a stand on court-packing. I think it would be premature for Biden to presume he will be president and take a hard position on that before the election. That would be a no-win situation for him. Biden may be a “waffler and a bore” but I’ll take that over a “clown,” “barbarian” and narcissistic bully on any issue.
Wallace Wadd, Woodbury
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Tice fills many, many opinion page column inches as he writes about how “going where the wind blows is how Joe Biden has always made decisions.” Change Biden’s name to “Trump” in the headline and you have a hurricane wind blowing rather than just a slight breeze. Trump’s wind has swept up the segment of America’s population (including members of the Republican Party) that in 2020 is willing to ignore and/or support his racism, cronyism, lawlessness, tax evasion, sexism, disregard for the rule of law, petty name calling, daily adolescent behavior, dishonesty, support for ruling dictators, etc., etc., etc. Tice closes by writing that many on the “far left” don’t have much respect “for the average ‘privileged’ American who thinks it’s enough to be law-abiding, self-supporting and taxpaying.” How ironic it is that none of these characteristics have ever been or could ever be attributed to President Donald Trump.
George Larson, Brooklyn Park
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I take great issue with Tuesday’s commentary “As always, Biden goes where the wind blows.” The writer complains that Biden’s hesitancy to “reveal his intentions” about packing the court is simply a political ploy that reflects his inability to make decisions. But it could be caused by his use of caution and wisdom when making a choice of such profound historical significance.
Does the author believe that Biden should make impetuous choices without the consultation of constitutional scholars? Appointing an unbiased commission to study the issue in depth is the only sensible approach.
The author’s concerns would apply far more appropriately to the Supreme Court hearings for Amy Coney Barrett. She revealed no thoughts about voter suppression, voter intimidation, health care for the uninsured or even global warming, claiming with every question asked that she needed to consult her colleagues. That is exactly what Biden is doing. As a judge and law school professor, Barrett is certainly knowledgeable about all the cases that will soon be brought before the Supreme Court. One must ask if she is the one who bows to political expediency.
Laurie Cowles, Northfield, Minn.
AMY CONEY BARRETT
If Garland deserved it, then ...
As once again evidenced by a recent letter to the editor (“Strategy check,” Oct. 27), we are repeatedly told that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “is obviously a hypocrite” for opposing Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in the fourth year of his second term but then moving forward on that of Amy Coney Barrett by President Donald Trump, also in his fourth year. If that is accepted as true, isn’t the reverse equally valid? Aren’t Sen. Chuck Schumer and the other Democrat senators identically hypocritical for having supported Garland’s nomination, which they claim was legitimate, but unanimously opposing Barrett’s, which they claim wasn’t?
I am reminded of a comment attributed to any number of famous individuals. When asked what was the secret to being successful in life, the answer was, “Sincerity, young man. Once you can fake sincerity, you can do anything.” Anyone who isn’t naive, gullible or hyperpartisan knows that feigned indignation and hypocrisy are the coin of the realm in Washington, D.C., and have proven themselves over and over again to be highly successful.
Sam Albert, Minneapolis
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In a historic first, Schumer has finally said something with which I agree. With the vote for Barrett’s confirmation, Schumer said, that day “will go down as one of the darkest days in the 231-year history of the United States Senate.”
Of course, Schumer expressed this sentiment because he was unhappy with the vote’s outcome. I, on the other hand, view this to be a dark day for the Senate for a different reason. It is the first time since 1869 that, despite a nominee’s accomplished pedigree and proven capabilities in jurisprudence, the minority party put politics ahead of its mandate to vote on the merits of the nominee and voted en bloc against the nominee.
I had hoped that Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith would consider the merits of Barrett’s distinguished career, plus the diversity benefits she offered as a female justice. Instead, our senators voted in lockstep with the rest of their partisan Democrats even though they could find no faults in the candidate. Instead of political gamesmanship, we deserve better, more independent, representation by our two senators.
Mark Kelliher, Arden Hills
It’s dangerous and should be banned
Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used organophosphate insecticides in the United States, despite its links to neurological effects, persistent developmental disorders, autoimmune disorders, low birth weight, lower IQ and attention problems. It was banned from residential use in the United States in 2001, and in 2011, Environmental Protection Agency scientists were unable to find any safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos. Nevertheless, Minnesota is one of the top five states in terms of total pounds of chlorpyrifos applied.
It was banned by the EPA in 2015, but Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt quickly overturned that ban after meeting with industry lobbyists and executives.
The American Academy of Pediatrics responded with alarm, saying, “There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.”
As a physician, I find it unconscionable that our current federal administration is ignoring clear science and putting the health and safety of our children at risk. I introduced legislation in the Minnesota House to ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos last session because we ought to be doing more to protect Minnesotans and their health. We must act on a state level to ban this dangerous neurotoxin and find better, safer and healthier ways to grow our food supply.
Rep. Kelly Morrison, Deephaven
Morrison represents District 33B in the Legislature.
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