Obama given clear mandate? to continue what he started

Republicans are claiming that President Obama didn't get a clear mandate from the people on his administration's policies for the next four years, because the popular vote was so close (a 3 million or so advantage for the president). If it makes them feel better, that's fine. Unfortunately, they couldn't be much further from the truth.

Way before the election was held, innumerable maps were used to show what states each candidate was going to win. A state like California was not going to be counted in Mitt Romney's column, no matter how much campaigning he did. Likewise, Utah would never fall into Obama's column. What difference does the popular vote make in a state the candidate knows he's going to win? Is the message or mandate these states are sending to the president any different from his first term? I don't think so.

The election was going to be decided by the toss-up states – those that could go either way since the polls showed a dead heat in each one. These states, defined by many pundits, were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – a total of 11 states, with 146 electoral votes to be won. Of these states, the president won 10. Some of the races were close, but some were blowouts, such as Wisconsin (Paul Ryan's home state), Michigan (Romney's birthplace) and Pennsylvania.

Was this election close? No. Was a mandate sent to the president? Yes – to continue what he started.

Larry Karmel

Orchard Park


Obama's first four years ?nothing to cheer about

Was Mitt Romney the answer? I don't know, but four more years of President Obama has me worried. Borrow a trillion dollars so low-income families have cellphones? If I felt I couldn't afford a cellphone, I wouldn't have one. Borrow a trillion dollars to give foreign aid to countries that hate us? We can't afford to support the world right now. Free breakfast and lunch for low-income students? These families already have their electronic benefit transfer cards. Can't the kids' parent or parents get up and give them a bowl of cereal? Obamacare? Wait till the fees and surcharges take effect. The middle class will pay the bill.

The taxpayers saved General Motors, the biggest offender of shipping jobs out of the country. The axle plant on Delavan Avenue closed. The Tonawanda Engine Plant used to employ 8,000, now it employs about 1,000. Same goes for Delphi in Lockport. After we gave GM billions of dollars, it built a $500 million plant in Mexico. Nice way to say thanks.

I hope the president has a better plan for the next four years. His first four were nothing to cheer about.

Cliff Kaczmarek



Election should serve?as wakeup call for GOP

"The billionaire donors I hear are livid. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do … I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing," one Republican operative told the Huffington Post.

After a surprising (to them) and demoralizing loss, instead of reflecting as to why President Obama's voter coalition combined to cream them in this election, the GOP has settled on finger pointing rather than epiphany. A stocked Bush Supreme Court opened the money floodgates to the 1 percent to create a climate ripe to buy this election. How did that work out for them? Having lost all connection to working-class and lower-income voters, as well as minorities, the GOP is now stuck with a demographic that sees this loss as nothing more than a win for Godless liberals and stealthy politicians. We can only hope they continue down this slope to irrelevancy.

Obama's America has somehow changed before their eyes back to the mind-set from which it began: an inclusive, welcoming, big tent place to live that sees a need for government. The GOP may well continue to urge its base to spew hate and misinformation, but clearer thinkers are refusing to buy it. From a denial of global warming, to a reticence to believe exacting polling information or jobs reports, to accepting as dogma information coming from right-wing radio, the GOP really needs to recognize that America today does not match the one that dwells in Rush Limbaugh, David Koch and Rove's mind-sets.

Stephen F. Saracino



Suffocating debt? will destroy nation

My best guess is by midyear 2014, those who voted President Obama back in will wish they had not. My health insurance for 2013 has increased to $62 a month from $40 a month in 2012. When I questioned the representative at one of the satellite offices, her response was, "wait till you see your rate for 2014."

It is beyond me how a Godless person who shreds the sanctity of life and openly berates those who hustle and take care of themselves could have been re-elected. It is on the backs of my children and grandchildren that the convoluted programs and suffocating debt this man has promoted will be carried. It's hard to believe in my 70 years I've witnessed the United States go from its pinnacle after World War II to its impending decline today.

Charles Schwendler

Orchard Park


Time to work together? for good of the country

I admire people who stand on principle, who draw lines in the sand and say "This far and no farther." But our country is facing a crisis of your making, you men and women of the U.S. Congress, erected because you didn't have the guts to make a decision, choosing instead to put in place draconian measures that would force the other party to do it your way. You must compromise, and the key to that dirty word is another – doubt.

You cannot believe that the principles you stand for are the only possible way to survival of the country. You must be able to admit that maybe, just maybe, the other side has ideas that just might work. None of us can predict the future, and none of us has the ability to know with absolute certainty that our way is the only way. You must doubt yourself. You must say, "OK, you may be right, let's try it." For the good of the country.

Frank Needham



Republicans chose? wrong man for job

By nominating Mitt Romney, the Republicans snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Barack Obama, one of the worst presidents ever, and not even qualified to be president, should have been easy to defeat, but Romney was not the candidate who could do it.

His biggest negative, in my view, was that he claimed to be a leader, but promised to do what Benjamin Netanyahu wanted in the Middle East. My ticket for the Republicans, by the way, would have been Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano.

Richard D. Fuerle

Grand Island