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Jesse Helms vs. William Weld

We've received a quick blast of e-mail in the wake of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on William Weld's nomination. Here's some of them, and if you have a comment, too, drop us a line at editor@AllPolitics.com. Be sure to include your name and home town.

'Trump The U.S. Constitution'

Sen. Helms showed statistics of the number of nominations that have gone down without a hearing; that is irrelevant. It is very undemocratic that one senator can decide the fate of a president's nomination without a fair hearing, especially when the majority of the committee wants a hearing. What Sen. Helms is doing is politics as usual -- the Helms way. Maybe he should wake up and smell the roses. We are tired of the U.S. Congress treating nominees unfairly under the disguise of traditional Senate day-to-day operations. There should never be a senator so powerful that can trump the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution calls for consent and advice of the Senate when the president nominates someone. What ONE senator says is outside the constitutional text and intent. We want the advice and consent of the ENTIRE Senate. Mr. Helms got elected to uphold the Constitution. Unfortunately for all Americans, he is very successful in going around it.

-- Juan Madrid, Sep. 12


'What Is Helms Afraid Of?'

It is a sad time in American history when we have an "unelected, want-to-be president, Helms," prevent Mr. Weld from having his day. What is Helms afraid of? Give Weld a chance at confirmation. Let the "jury" Congress decide.

-- Richard Harris, Sep. 12


'That Great Tobacco Plantation In The Sky'

Helms will be the big loser here. Americans are already fed up with corruption, power and influence in Congress. Now, add to that simple, straightforward unfairness. At the very least, Weld deserves a hearing. He was a governor, for God's sake, and they are trying to lock him out! But this is a major player who's not going to go away. I have a feeling Weld will be in politics long after Helms has gone to that great tobacco plantation in the sky.

-- Steve Harper, Sep. 12


'Go, Jesse, Go!'

Live by the sword, die by the sword! Senate committee chairmen have long been given, and continually use, the authority to schedule or not schedule such nominations.

GO, JESSE, GO!

-- Bill Compton, Sep. 12


'He's Not Very Smart'

I am WITH the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee -- SENATOR HELMS ... I have spent a great deal of time watching Democrat chairmen when the Democrats were the majority party. Need I say more? YES, I MUST SAY MORE! THEY STOPPED NOMINATION HEARINGS AND THEY WERE NOT CONSIDERED 'DICTATORIAL'! POOR GOV. WELD ... What can I say? HE'S NOT VERY SMART! With all his education, he did not become very educated! The TV/Press Media is having a good time along with the White House folks. As usual ALL of them agree with each other. They are AGAINST Sen. Helms... ONWARD SEN. HELMS! YOU ARE CORRECT IN THIS MATTER and SEN. LUGAR, SEN. BIDEN AND GOV. WELD ARE WRONG! ...

Thanks for letting me sound off!

-- Pat Manning, Doylestown, Pa., Sep. 12


'Well Within His Rights As Chairman'

Last I checked, this was still a representative democracy. For those of you who fell asleep in Political Science 101, that means we elect officials to make decisions for us. Jesse Helms is an elected official. He was elected to make important decisions that the public would not normally have the opportunity to know all of the ins and outs of the decision. If Sen. Helms has made a decision to deny a hearing for Weld, then I trust he is making the decision based on his beliefs. He is well within his rights as chairman to do this, as he has proven today. Although, the media refuses to show his proof (which should outrage the public more than anything). It doesn't matter what public opinion polls say or whether I think Weld should be nominated, simply because the general public doesn't know enough about the situation.

-- Thomas C. Pope, Sep. 12


'Typical Of The Good Ole Boys'

Sen. Helms is quite typical of the "good ole boys" that I have encountered in my home county's politics. He is arrogant, power-hungry and believes that his way is right. He has the audacity to speak for the views of his constituency when he isolates himself from us and slips in and out of towns for special events. His views on those with HIV/AIDS is NOT supported by all of the people in North Carolina. Nor is his blocking a hearing on the appointment of Gov. Weld as ambassador to Mexico. The American way, Jesse, would be to allow the hearing to take place, not to block it and, once again, run the United States of America as Jesse Helms sees it.

-- Elizabeth Pruzinsky, Carteret County, N.C., Sep. 12


'So Much Fuss'

As Helms said, there have been over 150 nominations that have not been acted upon by the committee chairmen. So, why is there so much fuss about this nomination? Because the media support Weld and Weld is such an upstart that he is taking advantage of it. If Weld hadn't criticized Helms so much in the past, I think that Helms would be better disposed toward him.

-- Jackie, Palmerton, Pa. Sep. 12


'Stick To The Facts'

I wish you and all the media would settle for a discussion of the facts.

What specifically about Weld does Helms disapprove of?

Why is there no prominent mention of Helm's offer to conduct a hearing on Weld for ambassadorship for any other country where drugs are not a issue?

Stick to the facts and point out the hypocrisy of Biden and Lugar. After all they have refused to conduct hearing on nominees. In Biden's case, 44 of them. Say the word. They are hypocrites! ...

-- Greg Olsby, Bellevue, Wash., Sep. 12


'Watching One Man Cripple The Process'

I have been watching with great interest the current situation regarding the nomination of William Weld for ambassador to Mexico. Frankly, I know very little about the gentleman, except he seems to have been a very popular governor, and that he can be very feisty when he wants to be. I don't know if he would be a good (or great, or abysmal) ambassador.

I do know that I am watching one man cripple the process that would give Mr. Weld a fair hearing before our elected representatives. And what scares me most is that it appears no one has the "intestinal fortitude" to demand that a fair and unbiased hearing be mounted to review this nomination. It seems that the system is in place only for nominees the committee chairman deems acceptable to his finely tuned sensibilities.

And we wonder why our best and brightest aren't yearning for a life of public service? We wonder why we have become apathetic towards the system that is arguably the best in the world? The point isn't this man who wants to be ambassador. The point is yet another example of our representative form of government being manipulated in such a blatant, callous and self-serving manner.

I don't know how these folks pick their fights up there, but frankly this schoolyard bully has pushed one too many kids to the ground if you ask me.

-- Peter M. Jewett, Austin, Texas, Sep. 12


'A Man Of Principle'

Hooray for Jesse Helms, always a man of principle! Every day we listen to politicians and media clucking their tongues over the tobacco industry and smoking but these same people want Weld -- who's soft on drugs -- to be ambassador to Mexico! What hypocrites!

-- Judith A. Raymond, Sep. 12


'A Good Compromise'

Sen. Helms revealed that he told Clinton that he would have a hearing on Weld being an ambassador to any other country where drug trafficking is not a major issue. Seems to me this would be a good compromise, yet none of the reporters have even asked the president or Weld and his backers about this.

Clinton doesn't care one bit about Weld getting this position. This plan was originally hatched to clear the way for Kennedy in Massachusetts. It has now become a way for the Dems to keep the media focus off the fund-raising SCANDAL. If Clinton really cared about Weld becoming an ambassador he would have nominated him for a position other than Mexico. Being a political junkie, I follow all this stuff. But I don't know anyone else who cares about this story. Are you trying to whip up a frenzy over this nonsense because Gore's numbers are slipping?

-- M. Hughes, Excelsior, Minn., Sep. 12


'Doesn't Even Speak Spanish'

Hey, Weld doesn't even speak Spanish. Ambassador to Mexico? Give the American people a break, CNN. Report, don't pontificate, okay?

Weld resigned while in the Reagan Administration, because he said he couldn't work with an "unethical" Ed Meese. This pleased his liberal friends.

Now he wants to be part of the most unethical and corrupt administration in our memory? What a hypocrite !

-- George M. Knochel, Lakewood, Colo., Sep. 12


'An Infantile And Absolutely Ridiculous Manner'

With regard to President Clinton's nomination of William Weld for the ambassadorship to Mexico, Sen. Jesse Helms is behaving in an infantile and absolutely ridiculous manner. To merely oppose Weld's nomination is one thing. But to deny a hearing to publicly debate Weld's qualifications is quite another. I simply can not see how anyone who believes in the American ideals of democracy and fairness could possibly support Helms' "dictatorial" position, as fellow Republican Senator Richard Lugar put it. One can only hope that the voters of North Carolina eventually wise up and elect a senator that isn't a Neanderthal in views and actions.

-- Adam Watkins, Fresno, Calif., Sep. 12


More Voter's Voice

Name That Dog! (12/12/97)
Janet Reno's Decision: More Reaction (12/04/97)
Reno's Independent Counsel Decision (12/03/97)
Turkeys and Other Political Fowl (11/26/97)
Jesse Helms vs. William Weld (9/12/97)
The Line-Item Veto: Your Co