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O’Neill Uncensored
In his memoir In Confidence, former Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin wrote of an encounter he had had with House speaker Tip O’Neill: “O’Neill said no effort should be spared to prevent that demagogue Reagan from being reelected. ‘If that happens,’ he continued in a somewhat agitated manner, ‘Reagan will give vent to his primitive instincts and give us a lot of trouble, probably put us on the verge of a major armed conflict. He is a dangerous man.’”

I’ve wondered for years whether O’Neill was capable of speaking about President Reagan in that manner. Reading Jay Nordlinger’s “Good Ol’ Tip” (December 31) provided the answer.

Manuel H. Rodriguez
Burbank, Calif.

Hating Quentin
Your Week paragraph regarding Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (December 31) begins as a review, but it quickly becomes an outlet for the writer’s obvious disdain for not only Tarantino himself but also the director’s fans (“He is a clown selling tickets to slobs”). I understand that opinions differ, but I wonder why it is necessary to include an item that simply insults people.

I remember learning at a very young age that constructive criticism is the ideal approach when discussing the achievements and shortcomings of others, and I hope I don’t soon forget that. If only you wouldn’t, either.

Riley Noonan
Via e-mail

Forgetting the Basics
In The Week (December 31), you offer praise to Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio for their comments that Republicans have “too often appeared to champion the businessman” (Ryan) and that colleges receiving federal funds should be required to publish more information, such as completion rates (Rubio).

Can it really be expected that potential middle-class voters will be swayed by such pabulum? Both sound like comments by a run-of-the-mill Democrat.

What became of championing individual initiative and encouraging individuals to strive for excellence? It seems many “leaders” on the right want to wrap the voters in an intellectual Snuggie.

That is not the mindset that built the nation we have been. Let’s hope Senator Rubio and Representative Ryan will develop a message that encourages the characteristics that will make our citizens, including a softening middle class, stronger and more self-reliant.

Sherm Johnson
Carmel, Ind.

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