Regarding George Will's "Elections, Free Speech . . ." [op-ed, Sept. 5]:

Why do conservative writers and pundits (and, yes, it really does seem peculiar to the conservatives) insist on painting people who disagree with them as wrong-headed devils? For example, George Will uses such phrases as "groups eager to expand government rationing of political speech" and "anti-First Amendment forces" when referring to those of us who believe that the election process is less than fully functional if not outright broken. It's not my goal to restrict speech in any way, but I'm not convinced that money equals speech in all cases. I just think that the present system produces lousy outcomes, and we need to look at ways to change it.

Mr. Will does not propose any alternative to the proposals on the table, so let me throw some out: (1) Start the formal presidential campaign no more than six months before the election. (I know this will not be good news for writers and others who make their living from such things.) (2) Expect the electronic media channels who use a spectrum that belongs to all of us to make time available to candidates for moderated discussions of the issues. Personal stuff is off the table here. (3) Have two national primaries. The first is a free for all with all citizens having one vote in each party on the ticket. The second is a choice between the two or three top vote getters from the first. (I'm really tired of people in Iowa and New Hampshire having choices on the ballot that I don't have.)

Given that everyone complains about the present system, it's fair to say that it's broken. Let's look for ways to fix it. And, please, let's stop making clever insinuations about the other side's motives, integrity and patriotism.


Silver Spring