November 12, 2008

White House frivolity shouldn't be priority

I can't believe that Susan Reimer considers that the most important things about the presidency and the White House are the number of state dinners, decorating the Oval Office, new fashion, best-dressed lists and how cute the Obamas will be as the first family ("From dour Bushes to fun-loving Obamas," Nov. 10).

Maybe, just maybe, the Bushes have had to deal with a lot more than having state dinners and playing Camelot, which is a good reason not to drink or party but to go to bed early. Regardless of what anyone thinks about President Bush, the country has not had another terrorist attack in eight years. I can only hope that President Barack Obama will have the same good fortune.

To a wartime president, having state dinners is obviously not on top of the priority list, as Mr. Obama will soon find out.

Duffy Stephens, Perry Hall

Boy, is it a sad indictment of exactly what it is that the Obama family's supporters are drawn to when Susan Reimer's unabashed glee borders on the puerile and basest of reasons: their good looks and style, cute children and a designer puppy, in stark contrast to the steadfast Bushes, who do not drink or party.

Which begs the question: Would she prefer a fun-loving drunk to a tee-totaling curmudgeon leading the free world? I know which version of president I would rather have answer the proverbial 3 a.m. phone call.

Perhaps Ms. Reimer should find herself less smitten on how Mr. Obama will decorate the Oval Office and more on issues that matter, such as how he will approach an ever more totalitarian Russia, handle a global economic crisis that has not yet seen bottom, or protect Israel from an increasingly emboldened Iran and well-armed Hamas. Or maybe she just voted for him on appearance alone.

David W. Ryden, Baltimore

Emanuel pick shows Israel still favored

The editorial "A map of the world" (Nov.10) describes the concerns in the Arab world that President Barack Obama will favor Israel over the Palestinians, as did his predecessors in the White House.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama's appointment for White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, confirms those Arab fears.

Mr. Emanuel had dual Israeli-American citizenship, served in the Israeli military and promoted the disastrous Iraq war in order to make Israel more secure.

He is the first of many Obama payoffs to the powerful Israel lobby, ensuring that Israel's interest and security will continue to come first.

Ray Gordon, Bel Air

Will new president protect the planet?

This historic presidential election touches upon most Americans' hopes, but I have fears about what the Bush administration is going to do in its last days in office ("Bush rules," editorial, Nov. 11).

The administration is threatening to wreak havoc on the environment by weakening laws that preserve clean air and water and protect endangered species. At a time when the ice caps are melting and the polar bears are dying, the officials in Mr. Bush's Department of the Interior are changing the rules once again so that the impact of global warming on endangered species can be completely ignored. Now we hear that in Montana, the trout are dying because of the warming of the streams and fishermen and farmers are fighting over the ever-diminishing water.

What will be next? How many more creatures will have to suffer and go the way of extinction before we do something about global warming? We are trying to save the economy, but what are we doing to save the planet? I hope when President-elect Barack Obama takes office, he will place global warming as one of his top priorities.

Maryanne Nobile, Baltimore

Advice for Obamas on the first puppy

There has been some discussion about the choice of a companion animal for the new first family. I want to suggest that the Obamas consider adopting a basset hound. They are even-tempered, loving, family-oriented dogs.

We happen to have a basset in our home, so I would mention that another characteristic is sniffing around, following their noses over every inch of ground they can reach. The Obamas should also bear in mind that a lot of a dog owner's responsibility involves cleaning up after him.

These latter two items suggest the perfect name for the president-elect's new dog: Hoover.

Allan McWilliams, Reisterstown

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