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Conservative red meat wont solve our problems
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I appreciate the concerns of Clinton Hawkins and Monte Seehorn regarding my letter on political balance in The Times’ Opinion page. I agree there's a regrettable absence of investigative reporting on politics in news media. The firing of Dan Rather, Helen Thomas and Keith Olbermann from national news positions are examples of this trend. The trend is conservative.

For the record, I questioned Ron Martz's motivations, not his intelligence. It's fair to describe his column "of the dead, nothing unless good" as a character assassination intended to smear Hillary Clinton. What Martz said regarding Clinton's testimony on the Benghazi incident is not rational thinking, but a cynical and shameless attack. By comparison, his recent column "The Marine who vanished without a trace" is worthy of praise.

There's a reason they call these the Viewpoint and Opinion pages. Opinions are formed from many different sources of information. This page should reflect the full range of public opinion, not just political preferences of a tyrannical majority. Hawkins claims the columnists I criticized address issues, provide facts and offer solutions, but his quote of Thomas Sowell's condescending remarks on socialism and public entitlements is just conservative red meat that solves nothing. He should read my letter on problems in our electoral system, or my rebuttal of Ted Hinds' denial of global warming that shows he cited illegitimate sources (reference links online). The columnists I named generally haven't provided realistic solutions.

Conservatives have had fair opportunity to implement their ideas on trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the rich, deportation of undocumented immigrants, destruction of worker's unions, gutting government regulatory agencies, unlimited corporate money for elections, war against Iraq, regime change in Libya, Egypt and Syria, and the Republican "solution" for health care. Those ideas failed.

I agree good intentions don't replace facts. They should however, inform government policy that works for the people instead of the corporate establishment. Capitalism works best for the public interest when it's checked by appropriate regulatory policy and balanced by strong unions. When those checks and balances are missing, we get fascism. Good intentions and labor unions gave us the 40-hour work week, minimum wage, laws against child labor, Social Security and major improvements in workplace safety. Citizens won't give those up, even if conservative "facts" say we should.

I believe we deserve government that works. Democracy provides political parties an opportunity to address problems, develop solutions to fix them, debate the points of competing plans and win on the merits of that debate. Unfortunately for us, it's easier to sabotage the opposition and make them lose than to do the hard work of addressing and fixing our problems. That's the politics of personal destruction. It's why columnists I criticized spend their time attacking Clinton over contrived email issues and the Benghazi incident rather than fixing problems. That's unacceptable.

If we don't stop this charade and focus on common ground, we'll continue to elect lousy leaders who ignore us while they pursue conquest of the Middle East.

Bruce Vandiver

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