GOP should get with program, modern times

Since the days of Abraham Lincoln, the Grand Old Party has held conservative-but-mainstream views. Leading up to the election of Ronald Reagan in the mid-1980s, it was known as the "party of business," whose leadership understood the underlying strength of America was leveraging capitalism to maintain a strong and informed middle-class electorate.

Since then, however, extremists have co-opted the party. First it was the religious right, who wanted to become a third party in everyone's marriage. Recently it's the tea party, who seemingly want to destroy the federal government but have no alternative solution to offer. The current vision of the GOP is being "the party of no," simply blocking any and all legislation just because they can. Their obsession with President Obama borders on a racial phobia for which there is no compromise. Its well past time to stop the whining and put together a positive agenda.

The real Grand Old Republicans need to stand up, evict the extremist elements, and refocus the party on creating a new upbeat dynamic in America. One that includes rebuilding the middle class and empowering the average person to be a valued contributor to our society rather than just keeping them a willing recipient in one or more entitlement programs.

Just say "yes" to having a business-creation vision once again and demonstrating the leadership to carry it out at the local, state and federal levels!

Many mainstream Americans would eagerly join a GOP with that agenda ....

Bob Fish

Danville

Romney's plan was bipartisan, unlike Obama's

Democrats draw similarities between Romney's health care program and Obamacare, citing similar startup problems. Similarities do exist but are overshadowed by major differences.

The Affordable Care Act is 50 times as comprehensive as Romneycare. But the overwhelming difference is that ACA is strictly a one-party product, rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote. True, it is now the law, but so was Prohibition at one time. Today, thousands are finding their health care programs canceled. Small businessmen find ACA legislation onerous and a disincentive to expansion. Thousands now remain unemployed. More people today disapprove of ACA than approve of it.

Romney, an experienced and astute politician, was careful to achieve bipartisan support for his program (witness Ted Kennedy). President Obama claims to welcome bipartisan participation, but history testifies that he says many things that are simply not true. Working effectively with the opposition is clearly not in this president's Chicago-style political DNA. The ACA, as a result, is largely devoid of Republican buy-in, and it's very unlikely that Republicans will jump in and bail while ACA slowly sinks.

Walter D. Welti

Danville

Oakland mayor should quit for city's own good

I grew up in Oakland and have a child who resides there, so I usually like to follow what's going on in that city.

Has anyone else noticed that when things are going bad in Oakland Mayor Quan can't be found anywhere or she has conveniently taken a mayor's trip somewhere and isn't available for comment but yet when there is any sort of photo-op that has any sort of positive spin -- there she is attempting to take credit for something that she probably had nothing to do with?

She is without a doubt the most unqualified mayor that this area has ever seen. How she wasn't recalled after the Occupy protests and her inability to bring some sort of calm to that city is beyond me. The most prudent thing that she could do is to resign and allow Oakland to find someone who will attempt to start working on its numerous issues, but as long as she remains, so will Oakland's problems. Time to leave, Mayor Quan.

Kevin Kane

San Ramon

Democracies gardens that must be tended

History informs us that every civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction. Civilizations get ruined for failing to detect such seeds and weed them out. It is the euphoria of the civilization's belief system as the "final truth" that projects an umbra under which the seeds of destruction are nurtured as nonquestionable, axiomatic truths. They do not permit us to consult our experience to test the currency of the long-held beliefs. Identification of the seeds of destruction runs counter to the prevailing culture and is resisted by the vested interests.

Democratic civilizations are highly vulnerable to destruction for several reasons: a) lack of control on corruption in elections and in governmental affairs; b) lack of uniform values to accommodate diversity; c) emphasis on individual freedom without commensurate responsibility; d) undue emphasis on equality leading to moral equivalence of the best of human culture with worst of human nature with the justification that "justice is blind", e) no centripetal force in place to hold the society together against the centrifugal forces generated by the constitutional freedom.

The destructive danger to democratic civilization is more from within than from outside. Democratic governments have to be continuously self-correcting to protect themselves from becoming self-defeating.

It is recommended that democratic governments re-examine their ideologies, identify the seeds of destruction and streamline governmental operations to nurture democratic civilization.

T.S. Khanna

Alamo Foundation for Better Government

Founders were compromisers, unlike tea party

Tea Party pedagogues flatter themselves by claiming direct descent of our Founding Fathers, who they alleged held a monolithic set of values -- theirs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Founding Fathers were remarkably diverse. The Adams family wanted a hereditary presidency and senate. Thomas Jefferson's view was that only small-town caucuses should be the base of a representative government. Some hated slavery, while others were completely untroubled by it. Patrick Henry hated import taxes (he was a smuggler). Ben Franklin, an Anglophile, strove to recreate Albion in America.

Most were religious, but in the manner of the Age of Enlightenment. For the first time, reason stood equal and complementary to faith. We see this in the Declaration of Independence, which justified our rebellion by appealing to both "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God." Religion should be the handmaiden of democracy and not its master.

The Founders can and did argue viciously among themselves. Yet, in the end, they compromised. Always. Constitutionally, slaves were not people but counted as three-fifths for census purposes. If this is not the work of committed compromisers, what is?

Our Founding Fathers didn't claim omniscience. The tea party can't claim it either.

W. Michael Youngblood

Danville