Almanac

Viewpoint - August 17, 2011

Letter: Impugning integrity not helpful in debate

Nancy Lemer's recent guest opinion regarding the debt-ceiling crisis reminded me why, after 36-years as a registered Republican, I'm no longer a member of the GOP.

Not only is her point of view extreme, but so is her tone. First, she contends inaccurately that failure to raise the federal debt-ceiling would not result in catastrophic default. Then, she accuses those who disagree with her, such as our congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, of lying.

Ms. Lemer is entitled to her belief that risking the full-faith and credit of our country is no big deal. But impugning the integrity of those who, like Rep. Eshoo, think this reckless, is not helpful in fostering the type of respectful and reasoned debate that we need in a democracy to solve our nation's problems.

As one who served in local government for 30 years, I know that those who disagree with us may — or may not — be mistaken, but they are seldom "lying."

Reading Ms. Lemer's piece made me nostalgic for the days many decades ago when the Peninsula was represented by Republican, as well, as Democratic officeholders in state and federal government. But, these were a very different stripe of Republican, from liberals like Pete McCloskey, to moderates like Ed Zschau, Tom Campbell and Dixon Arnett, to responsible conservatives like Bob Naylor.

They and the great Republican presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, would find it difficult to be at home in today's Republican Party. I dare say, even Ronald Reagan would purse his lips if he saw the things being done in his name.

Jon Silver, Portola Valley

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