The GOP's pro-life platform hasn't hurt the party
Elsie Hillman argues in her Feb. 19 letter that the GOP must reject traditional pro-life Republican ideas regarding abortion if the party is to ever be successful again ("GOP Must Reject Reproductive Rights Extremists").
Mrs. Hillman is welcome to her opinion and welcome to contribute to the party. However, her conclusions on this issue are in conflict with recent political history and, quite frankly, an insult to pro-life Republicans.
While the polls regarding views on abortion differ based on what specific question is asked, I am unaware of any major shift in overall public opinion. Thus, if people have held much the same views over the last 10 years, Mrs. Hillman needs to explain how George W. Bush was twice elected. The unabashedly pro-life Republican platform and Mr. Bush's clear pro-life position didn't seem to hurt the party in 2000 and 2004.
Wise up, Mrs. Hillman. John McCain ran a competitive race in an impossible economic climate against the biggest political phenomenon since JFK. The GOP needs a lot of help, but telling a key block of supporters to stifle their heartfelt views isn't the way to go.
Upper St. Clair
Did it ever occur to Elsie Hillman that not everyone who believes in protecting innocent human lives is an extremist?
I resent her condescending assertion that being anti-death is somehow a fringe point of view. The traditional Republican mantra of personal responsibility and limited government is in no way at odds with the desire to save lives.
I find Mrs. Hillman's total antipathy toward social conservatism to be the real extreme view given the moral decadence that permeates our society. Why this woman remains a Republican is beyond me. It is her intolerance that is intolerable.
PATRICK MARK WARD
Doing what's right
This letter is in response to Elsie Hillman's claim that Republicans need to disregard our pro-life platform. What does it benefit a party to pick up a few moderate voters if it costs us our soul?
Republicans are supposed to stand up for what's right, regardless of who disagrees. The percentage of Republicans in Congress who voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act was larger than the percentage of Democrats who voted for it. It was Republicans who ended slavery. It was Republicans who protected the rights of Southern black people during Reconstruction.
Republicans are supposed to protect the weak, the innocent and the helpless. I have been pro-life since I was 9 years old. I joined the party in 1993, when I was 18 years old, because the Republican Party stood for what I believe in.
Let's disregard the euphemisms "reproductive rights" and "choice"; what we're talking about is abortion. If there's nothing wrong with it, why is there a need to hide it behind grandiloquent language? No one wants to take away someone's right to "choose" contraception. No one wants to take away a woman's right to "choose" the pill, or anyone's right to buy condoms. We want to take away the "right" to snuff out a nascent life because it dared to come along at an inconvenient time.
What is being proposed is that we turn the Republican Party into the Democratic Party. We already have one party with elastic ethics and fluid principles. We don't need two.
Last Wednesday, Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, took full advantage of his new powers by publicly scolding Americans (about 75 percent of whom are not black) that it was "a nation of cowards" in discussing racial matters ("Holder: Americans Cowardly About Race Discussions," Feb. 19). For a man in his high position, this racial statement is an embarrassment and hypocrisy.
Is he too stupid to recognize that the white voting majority refused to consider President Barack Obama's race or skin color as being any detriment to his ability to act as president?
Mr. Holder seems to have completely missed the lesson taught by President Obama's amazing success. Mr. Obama demonstrated that, in the end, skin color isn't as important as who you are and what you represent.
I can't help but wonder if our new attorney general is genuinely capable of the same racial impartiality that was demonstrated by American voters in November.
A business essential
While one might argue that total compensation for corporate executives has become excessive in relative ways, the corporate jet for executive travel is not simply a perquisite but an essential tool, much as Air Force One is for the country's chief executive.
Aside from security issues (and they are significant, real and underreported), the ability to personally lead teams, especially in difficult times, is essential to the executive role. With broad corporate footprints, and less than wonderful alternatives in commercial travel, the private jet affords timely departure and arrival at locations better situated to optimize time highly in demand in a large organization.
Economics are vastly in favor as well, especially for a bank where the cost of capital is extremely low. The owned jet is far less expensive to operate than a leased one, saving shareholders substantial sums while creating jobs in the region including pilots, crew, maintenance, storage and catering.
Surely the PG editors can forgo one bandwagon ride ("Bumpy Ride," Feb. 14 editorial) and retain objectivity, especially with one like Jim Rohr who personally, and as CEO of PNC Financial, has invested so much in this region so well.
PATRICK J. REIDY
The state is making poor choices with museum cuts
I was appalled at the projected 2009-2010 state budget. Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum is a living memorial to all Pennsylvanians who have honorably served our commonwealth and nation. We provide educational programs and veterans memorial programs and co-sponsor veterans health, job and self-help programs. The plan for the future cuts in financing to museums/memorials and veterans benefits is deplorable.
I am well aware that our state and nation are in a financial crisis. I have no objection to making sacrifices at a time when we should all stand together. However, I do object to all funds for not a few, as the PG continues to report, but 168 museums and historical centers being deleted from the state museum budget while the "non-preferred" museums -- the Carnegie and Franklin -- enjoy a mere 10 percent cut.
I object to being classified as "Joe Six-Pack" and then having our children further slotted in that category by removing independent education, history, the arts and music from their lives.
I can understand the quandary facing the governor, the Senate and the House. However, as they make these tough decisions, make them equally across the board. Let us all share and sacrifice equally. Do not make Pennsylvania a cultural desert that shows no interest in enriching our children or honoring those who have sacrificed for us!
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum Trust Inc.
Can't wait to respond to our letter writers? Go to community.post-gazette.com/blogs.
We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.