The day after the midterm election, Nancy Pelosi, soon to be speaker of the House, pledged that hers would be the most ethical and honest Congress ("Planning for power shift," Nov. 13).
Less than a week after making that pledge, Ms. Pelosi announced her support for Rep. John P. Murtha to become House majority leader. Mr. Murtha is suspected of directing federal money, through earmarks, in exchange for campaign contributions, and he was an unindicted co-conspirator in the FBI's Abscam bribery sting operation 26 years ago.
If the choice of Mr. Murtha was not bad enough, Ms. Pelosi also intends to appoint Rep. Alcee L. Hastings as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Hastings was once a federal judge but was impeached in 1989 on charges of bribery and perjury - and now he will have oversight of our nation's most sensitive secrets.
On Nov. 7, voters expressed their disgust with corruption and voiced a strong desire for change. If this is how Ms. Pelosi intends to respond, she does so at her party's peril.
Democrats pledged a "New Direction for America," but so far, it looks to be a trip down the same old road.
The writer is an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Dangerous duty for next speaker
I wonder if Rep. Nancy Pelosi remembers that when you attempt to drain the swamp, you may end up with a whole lot of angry alligators ("Planning for power shift," Nov. 13).
Do-not-call list in election races
Now that the election is over, I feel it is time to talk about the bad behavior of our politicians ("Praying for return to life without campaign folderol," Nov. 12): the mudslinging, the misleading crime statistics and, last but not least, the repeated harassment from those demon dialers. You know, the recorded messages that you received several times a day, especially around dinnertime, for three weeks leading up to the election.
What would happen to me if I called our newly elected officials several times a day for the next three weeks? That would be considered phone harassment.
The same rules should apply to everybody, including our elected politicians.
Politicians' public service records should win them a new term in office; they shouldn't have to resort to such unsavory, unscrupulous tactics.
Voters should watch their newly elected politicians for the next four years and vote on their records, not empty, meaningless campaign promises.
Gregory O. Marsalek
With Democrats' win, voting was fair?
Did anyone else notice with the recent Democrat Party sweep that there was no cry of foul play in the voting process ("Democrats sweep both chambers," Nov. 9)? No intimidation at polling places, no voting irregularities?
I suppose this only happens when the Republicans win.
Makes you think of the little boy who cried wolf.
Girl's death reflects O'Malley's failure
What I find very ironic about Mayor Martin O'Malley winning the governor's race last week is that at the same time that he was celebrating his victory, a young, hard-working woman, Nicole Edmonds, was being chased from a light rail station and brutally murdered in front of her younger brother by a gang of barbarians ("Nikki's death stands out amid blur of statistics," Nov. 13).
Mr. O'Malley couldn't keep his promise of slowing down the homicide rate in Baltimore, and was rewarded with the governorship.
It's time to reduce power of presidency
After reading The Sun's editorial "The vision thing" (Nov. 11), I would argue that the central problem with American foreign policy is not so much the swings between idealism and realism and when to properly apply them, but a flaw in our Constitution that grants far too much power to the president to make war.
In 54 years, I've watched my country become mired in two disastrous wars, first in Vietnam and now in Iraq, resulting in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and tens of thousands of American soldiers killed or injured. And for what? This kind of carnage demands a more effective regulation of the executive branch by our Constitution.
The flaw lies in the president's ability to send tens of thousands of troops to another country without first getting explicit authorization from Congress to do so. History has shown that once the troops are in place to fight, Congress tends to support the president out of the fear that doing otherwise would make our country look weak. And once the war is on, Congress is understandably reluctant to cut off funding.
We need to find a way to maintain the president's ability to quickly defend the country from imminent threat while strictly regulating the president's ability to make war in those cases where the threat is highly debatable.
John C. Hilgartner
Videotaping police misses the point