This here Rick Perry you write about sure does seem like a rootin'-tootin', six-gun-shootin', cowboy-bootin' macho man, and he scares the bejeezus out of me on account of we've already been there, done that for eight years with that Bush fella [Rick Perry's Mission, Sept. 26].
Bob Wilson, PHOENIX
The "rise" of Perry has been bad for Texas and will be bad for the U.S. Like George W. Bush, Perry favors pre-emptive military strikes, which could lead to more unnecessary and costly wars. Seventeen percent of Texas children do not have health insurance, making the state second to last in the nation. Perry touts the Texas economy, yet when the state faced a $27 billion budget deficit, he favored cutting billions from education and health care rather than using the state's rainy-day fund and modifying the tax system. Perry disputes the scientific community's conclusion that global warming is man-made and a serious risk to humanity. He says he errs on the side of life. Yet there is evidence that at least one man, Cameron Todd Willingham, has been wrongly executed on his watch.
David Atwood, HOUSTON
Your lily-livered, weak-kneed attitude on crime and punishment was evident in your first sentence. Over almost 11 years, 234 murderers were executed, some for multiple killings. Perry did not indict, try, convict or sentence these criminals. Justice was served, but the victims' families are still devastated. Texas is a tough law-and-order state, thank God.
Rita Pyle Fjelseth, ORO VALLEY, ARIZ, U.S.
As someone whose relatives suffered under the socialist regime of Josip Tito in the former Yugoslavia, I take great offense to Perry calling our President a socialist. To understand what a true socialist is would require deep thought, something Perry obviously lacks the capacity for.
Thomas J. Trkula, HARRISBURG, PA., U.S.
Your article says that Perry's "idea of gun control is 'Use both hands.'" Do Americans really want a President who is so crass? Isn't it time that Americans leave the Wild West behind and adopt a truly Christian approach to the right to bear arms?
Kevin Doi, DIAMOND BAR, CALIF., U.S.
I feel a lot of sympathy for all those who lived through 9/11, but I still cannot believe my eyes when I read that some people thank God for saving them from a terrible disaster that left so many dead. Does this mean these people are more special than those who perished, about whom God evidently did not care? I find this thinking presumptuous and offensive, especially toward those who have lost their loved ones.
James Derounian, CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND
Perry says people are tired of "political correctness." How does he define it? As I understand the term, it means treating others with respect and fairness, no matter what age, sex, religion, race or sexual orientation they are or what disability they have. I'm an American, and I'm tired of the politically incorrect communication and uncooperative behavior of American politicians in 2011. We need statesmen, not politicians.
C.C. Yager, MINNEAPOLIS
If Americans want to elect someone who truly represents everything that is synonymous with their country, then Perry is their man. He's a brash, outspoken Texan who has many an internal contradiction much like the U.S. itself. He seems a perfect fit for a country that decries the intrusion of Big Government programs but rarely is prepared to actually sacrifice the benefits they receive from said programs.
Christopher Weinberg, MELBOURNE
Russia's Corruption Problem
Corruption is the cancer of a nation's economy and politics [State-Run Shakedown, Sept. 26]. And it would be very difficult for Russia to get out of its economic quagmire unless the damage caused by massive fraudulence is repaired. With the presidential election coming in 2012, I am anxiously awaiting a better tomorrow for all Russians.
Yuri Czekov, MOSCOW
Re "Unfriended" [Sept. 26]: It matters not one iota to Israel what happens in Palestine, Egypt, Turkey or indeed anywhere else in the world as long as the Israeli tail continues to wag the American dog.
Brian Scott, HARROW, ENGLAND
Stephen Gandel writes that America's banks still don't work [Sept. 26]. Here's one possible reason. In order to call yourself a physician, you must study and pass an examination. In order to call yourself a lawyer, you must study and pass an examination. In order to call yourself a banker, all you have to do is say so.
Robert Schroeder, EWING, N.J., U.S.
Gandel refers to the banks' "mortgage-market mistakes." Mistakes? Was it not banks that deliberately put together almost worthless bundles of mortgages and sold them with the intention of increasing profits by ripping off customers? Of course, the rating agencies were complicit, but a deliberate fraud is more than a "mistake."
Richard C. Massey, COLUMBIA, S.C., U.S.