Today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:
Re "Obama is ducking a leader's duty," Opinion, Oct. 4
Arthur C. Brooks, by selectively disregarding the conduct of certain congressional Republicans, favors a nonsensical Washington where defeated extremists create an increasingly adversarial system of government.
He evidently favors a Washington where Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) poses for the media in front of a Washington memorial that he helped close, then castigates a poor National Park ranger, saying she ought to be ashamed; a Washington where disingenuous, camera-ready opportunism trumps civility. Doesn't Brooks think that President Obama is taking personal responsibility when he rejects odious shutdown tactics?
Informed people know that the president has a long history of meeting and taking ideas from the opposition. The Affordable Care Act is law. Obama may, to use Brooks' words, "own the consequences" of having already prevailed by rejecting the extortionate tactics of irresponsible disgruntled politicians — tactics that, if acceded to, would set a very bad precedent.
Is it "leadership" when a mother caves in to her child's tantrum and buys another candy bar? Obama may have given in to the little congressional brats once or twice, but like any good parent, he saw the consequences and is now fully in charge.
I wish House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) would take the same level of responsibility for the spoiled children in his caucus.
Brooks says that to be a good leader, Obama should take responsibility for the government shutdown. In fact, Brooks is just using sophistry to say what all hostage-takers say to their victims: If the hostage gets hurt, it's your fault.
Justifying this by alluding to the "vast, scholarly literature" on leadership does not make it any less reprehensible.
Richard S. Marken