Partisan Rankings of Presidents InvalidReading letters...


December 06, 1992

Partisan Rankings of Presidents Invalid

Reading letters from crybaby Republicans has been almost as much fun as watching George Bush try to convince America why he deserved a second term.

However, the Nov. 22 letter from Phyllis A. Waidner begs rebuttal, for it smacks of half-baked analysis and a partisan view of history.

Ms. Waidner notes that the elections of 1992 and 1912 had three candidates. She is right. She fails to understand the dynamics in each election.

The 1912 election saw a Republican party that was ruptured. The progressive branch of the party was headed by Theodore Roosevelt and the conservative branch was headed by William Howard Taft.

Roosevelt was the "third party candidate." However, his candidacy symbolized Taft's failure to control the party. George Bush had the support of his party. He lost the support of his country.

Ms. Waidner also fails to note that the exit polls showed that if Ross Perot had not run, Bill Clinton would have not only won a majority of the votes but would have done so by a margin of seven points.

Secondly, Ms. Waidner has a partisan view of history. She said President Wilson was a failure. President Wilson gave us the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve Board. Is Ms. Waidner trying to contend that these institutions are failures? If they are, why hasn't her beloved GOP tried to dismantle them?

If Wilson was a failure, why did a group of historians rank him among the five greatest presidents some 40 years after his death?

Wilson did experience some failure. He was unable to persuade the leaders of Europe to treat Germany with compassion after World War I. The European elite did not listen to him. They treated Germany with malice, paving the way for Hitler.

Wilson also failed to convince the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and join the League of Nations. One of the things that contributed to this failure was a stroke that Wilson suffered. Is Wilson to blame for the mistakes of Europe and his own stroke?

It seems clear that Ms. Waidner defines Democrats as failures. This means that her list of failures would include FDR, Andrew Jackson and the man I believe to be the greatest president of this century, (the man Bush tried to convince us that he was) -- Harry Truman.

I am sure that she also defines every Republican as a success. There will be some accurate entries on her list: Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and the greatest president of them all, Abe Lincoln, would certainly belong on this list. However, if Ms. Waidner wants to make her list a little more accurate, she should consider Bush a Democrat.

Dennis George Olver


Stop Pregnancies

Sara Engram's ''Saving Baltimore's Babies'' (Nov. 29) graphically illustrates the tragic failure of conventional approaches in reducing infant mortality.

Instead of ''preparing'' single women for pregnancy, and then insuring they avoid repeating only for 12 months, the sole objective should be to insure they don't get pregnant in the first place.

By condoning and rewarding irresponsible behavior, government exacerbates, intensifies and prolongs the misery.

It is neither human nor compassionate to permit unmarried females, especially teen-agers, to bear more children, who are in most cases destined to live a life of poverty, deprivation and crime. These helpless creatures have three strikes against them at birth, and even if they survive their ghetto beginnings, rarely become productive, self-sufficient citizens.

With Medicaid funds now available for the Norplant contraceptive implant, there is no excuse for continuing this welfare/dependency cycle, and instead taking every opportunity to break it. Baltimore's 80 percent out-of-wedlock birth rate is a national record. Until government abandons the repair approach, which is always too little, too late and too expensive, no major social problems will be solved. The prophylactic wins over the therapeutic every time. No curative action ever beats prevention.

Howard L. Naslund


Gangs, Not Clans

Recently you, and others, have been referring to the marauding groups in Somalia and elsewhere as "clans." Is this another attempt to alter our language in the direction of "political correctness"?

Clans are "a social group . . . which claim descent from a common ancestor" (Webster). No threats emanate from members of a clan these days.

Tribes are social, economic and territorial groups, usually of identical or similar ethnic descent governed by a chief, and often distinguished by language and custom. Tribalism developed among primitive and nomadic peoples notably, but not exclusively, in sub-Sahara Africa and the North American continent.

What you are writing about is gangs -- as in Los Angeles.

The English language is one of our most precious legacies and more than anything else is the glue that binds our diverse nation.

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