‘Swift boating’ the Obamas


To the Editor:

I know it is a stereotype that conservatives don’t like facts. To not perpetuate it, I suggest Robert Reed should look a little more deeply into the chain letters that circulate on the Internet before posting Letters to the Editor. As is often the case, there is some truth in those chain letters. A bit more on the one that Mr. Reed apparently read and quoted in his Letter to the Editor [No on Obamas, October 4] in this paper can be found at factcheck.org/2009/05/michelle-obamas-salary.

And what’s wrong with making money ? Ms. Obama’s $316,962 salary was in line with other people at that hospital doing comparable work. (Oh, yes — she was making as much as the men there.) To put it into perspective, in 2002, Fred Raskin signed on to run the steamship authority for $173,000/yr., got a $35,000 sign-on bonus, and was entitled to $125,000 to move, plus benefits — $333,000-plus for the first year.

Or consider Mitt Romney. He made $21.7 million in 2010 — about 70 times what Ms. Obama was making in 2005. And he paid a lower tax rate. I don’t know where Mr. Reed gets the idea that Ms Obama’s job was “pushing poor, uninsured patients to other hospitals” — a line that was not likely part of her job description — but clearly, Mr. Romney made a pile of money bankrupting American companies and adding to the unemployment lines.

My point here is that I feel as if Mr. Reed is “swift boating” the Obamas by criticising them for having money. He is also playing a little loose with the facts. I think a good political discussion is essential to our democracy and strengthens it. Partisan bashing with sketchy facts degrades it. Check the facts before you vote.

Don Keller

Vineyard Haven