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by TOTHEEDITOR@INLANDER.COM & r & & r & Mitt: Good Mormon Man & r & & r & Every Thursday, I race to Starbucks to get the fresh Inlander. This week, however, there was a fascinating column by Robert Herold ("Mitt: Perfect Mormon Man", 1/17/08), which inadvertently paints Mormons with a broad brush. Mitt Romney ... perfect? Nope!





Herold is an engaging and courageous writer, but he is a little off base here. I am a Mormon who performs standup comedy, and furthermore, I drink red wine like a fish in a bathtub. Not all Mormons are teetotalers. My bishop, Bill Peacock, knows I am addicted to coffee and he understand this.





Mormons are not all the same. A so-called "Jack Mormon" like me still loves the church. We just disagree with the thought that you might go to hell for drinking a latte. That seems a little silly and Woody Allen could make a great joke out of that.





Unfortunately, Herold paints Mormons as a stiff bunch of boring folks who never make mistakes. I wonder if he tells money-saver jokes about the Jewish faith. Does he mock Brigham Young for having 56 wives? (I can only handle seven ... a joke!) Does the professor paint all Catholic priests as child molesters? All three of those examples are simplistic, but Herold should consider that Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as the savior of the world. So does Mitt Romney. Should the details keep him from the Oval Office? I think not. Just because Mitt has the discipline Giuliani wishes he had when he cheated on his wife ... should we hold that against Romney for being a man of conviction?





Normally, Robert Herold writes with beautiful brevity and concise clarity. This time he attacked a good man for ... wait for it ... being a "Good Mormon"!





I am an alcoholic Mormon who seeks to be more like Mitt Romney. I want my family to have the same love his family has. Is Herold jealous?





I conclude that the most important issue is not religion, but accomplishment and leadership. Romney has it in spades. Oh ... and he also has the best hair!





David H. Elton III


Spokane, Wash.





Defining "Conservative"


What is meant when you hear a politician state that he or she is "conservative"? Have you filled your gas tank lately? When the Bush "conservatives" took office in 2000, gas prices were $1.50 per gallon. Now they are $3.25 and going up. A barrel of oil was $27, and now it is approaching $100. This is no accident: Remember Dick Cheney's secretive energy task force, allowing oil executives to write energy policy. It was the fox-in-the-chicken-house strategy; Bush's goal was, by design, enriching oil companies. Have you paid your Avista bill lately? Have you purchased a gallon of milk at $4.00, doubled since Bush took office?





Bush has doubled the national debt to $10 trillion, passing on this enormous burden to another generation -- not only the life-sapping interest but also the unpaid principal. Bush doesn't care; he financed the wealthiest 1 percent tax cuts with these deficits. This is temporary false "conservative" economic prosperity.





An economic stimulus package is now in the works but, ironically, prior to the recent economic dire news, their solution to the current "Republican recession" was extending the Bush tax cuts. For one, if they are working so well, why are we in this economic mess? Secondly, they are still in force and do not expire until 2011 -- how will extending these tax cuts benefit us right now? But the Republican presidential candidates' drumbeat is to extend the tax cuts; it's their solution to middle-class problems. Their real motive is using this crisis to extend these no-millionaire-left-behind tax cuts indefinitely, which amounts to "conservative" trickle-down economics.





The recent ABC News Republican presidential candidate debate sounded like a group of hypocrites, advocating absolute "privatization" of health care. Again, the "conservative" policy has nearly doubled health care costs since 2000. This is interesting, since they welcome free federal government-run health care with open arms for their families. I have not seen one of them drop their terrible "government" plan and pay out of their pockets. Dick Cheney's "government"-supplied heart surgery seems to be doing just dandy.





Free marketeer Mitt Romney expounded, "We absolutely should not allow drug company competition, that's a terrible idea." What? This is insane. Every other sector of the economy is forced into international competition. Why are drug companies exempt? Romney and the others are beholden to the HMOs, PPOs and pharmaceutical companies.





When you hear a politician utter the word "conservative," you should run the other way as fast as you can. It is a code word for "assault on the middle class." They will not rest until every middle-class American has no retirement, pension or health care and are working for Wal-Mart wages. Are you better off than you were eight years ago? The "conservative" results speak for themselves.





Kelly Brown


Liberty Lake, Wash.





That Huckster Huckabee


Qualified kudos to Ted McGregor for his commentary ("Be Like Mike," The Inlander, 1/10/08) on Mike Huckabee's last-minute decision not to run an attack ad against Mitt Romney in Iowa. The media need to continually reward politicians for refraining from negativity. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here.





McGregor seems to have taken Huckabee's bait just like the rest of the media. This wasn't an act of godly conscience -- it was a coldly calculated political maneuver, masquerading as a good deed. If it were really a change of heart that motivated Huckabee's decision, he would've simply canceled the ad without a word. But he didn't. He called a press conference to announce he had this terrific attack ad, but that he wasn't going to run it, because he didn't want to be negative. But he did show it to the press (who all reported the ad's message) and, in fact, the ad did actually end up airing in Iowa -- three times, according to FactCheck.org.





Pastor Huckabee would do well to remember Jesus' indictment of the Pharisees: "Everything they do is done for men to see." But even worse than boasting of his own good works is pretending they were good works in the first place. The reverend's stunt allowed him to get his negative message out while still appearing to cling to the moral high ground.





A savvy political trick to be sure, but I disagree with McGregor in hoping that Mike Huckabee has set the tone for 2008. If he has, it's going to be a dirty political season indeed.





Burt Fischer


Spokane, Wash.

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