Gary Mialocq
Coarsegold, California

Chief complaint

I admired navy lieutenant John Kerry for his Vietnam service. He stood for his beliefs and spoke out. But in the role of president of the United States, defending our nation against its enemies as commander in chief, he concerns me. Senator Kerry has supported cancellation of many weapons systems that were effective in quick victories in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. His record of voting against key defense programs is wrong for America.

Brent Liebel
Garland, Texas

Clinton re-election HQ, 36 Cooper Square

Kerry's the "presumptive nominee" because he has secured the support of his party in the primaries, amassed a larger war chest than most expected (at this point), and weathered the storm of Bush's TV ad blitz well. He's a savvy, experienced politician who would command the respect of people and nations around the world who hate us now, and would put hope back in the minds of Americans.

However, the best campaigner ever, Bill Clinton, said it best: "It's the economy, stupid." That's the issue voters will decide on come November. Kerry needs to drive this point home. And he will.

S. Jaffe
Los Angeles, California

Gray scale

James Ridgeway's "John Kerry Must Go" was typical of the annoyingly liberal wing of the Democratic Party. As a Democrat, I accept the fact that a lot of my fellow party members like to whine. We have always seen the gray sides of an issue—that's what makes us Democrats. We have never once fallen into line behind a candidate; that lockstep stuff is for Republicans.

What Ridgeway doesn't understand is that Kerry is doing just fine in his fight against Bush. He's holding his own and often putting Bush on the defensive.

Both candidates have their good and bad weeks, but it's impossible to think of Republicans abandoning Bush under any circumstances. Let Kerry have a bad week, though, and the Ridgeways come out, ready to toss him overboard.

I am tired of Bush ruining this country. Kerry was not my first choice, but he is a tough campaigner and he is one of the best closers in American politics. Just look at what he did to Howard Dean.

Steve Slatten
San Diego, California

Edwards campaign HQ, 36 Cooper Square

Amen. Senator Kerry is just not ready for prime time and should go home to France. Kerry has more baggage than Senator Teddy, if that's possible. Time to bring back John Edwards, who actually has some constructive ideas, is likable, and could actually give President Bush a run for his money.

Christian Chico
Norwalk, Connecticut


Thanks for the piece on Kerry. So often in the Voice, I'm subjected to people with nuanced, informed opinions and levelheaded assessments that assist potential voters in making the decision that is right for them come November.

So imagine my delight when I read your piece, which was not weighed down by the albatross of insight. It was refreshing to not have to wade through a well-researched piece, and instead soak in one person's myopic, simplistic regurgitation of well-worn soundbites. And all wrapped up in a know-it-all bow that might seem to contradict the lack of new insights in the piece. Love it!

Particularly brilliant was the implication that Kerry is a walking controversy, whereas Howard Dean would have been out there charming the pants off of America's voters by explaining his distinguished experience making sure all nine people in Vermont got health care.

Deren Ney
San Francisco, California

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