Dean's list

Thank you so much for James Ridgeway's comments regarding John Kerry and his sinking candidacy ["John Kerry Must Go," Mondo Washington, April 28-May 4]. I thought I was the only one who felt that way.

I have voted in every election since I was 18. Now 46, I find I cannot vote Democratic as I usually do. I simply cannot. This man must step aside. I was not a Dean fan, but damn—now I wonder why I wasn't.

Bush has got to go, and I certainly will not vote for him. Where does that leave me? Will I be another apathetic nonvoter? I can't stand this. What is wrong with the Democratic leadership?

Bobbi Ingram
Charlotte, North Carolina

The Maine event

Re James Ridgeway's "John Kerry Must Go" (Mondo Washington, April 28-May 4):

Putting aside for the moment the fact that Howard Dean himself has said that he "never wanted to be president," what the hell are you people thinking? This nation is in for the fight of its life, and every oar has to be in the water and pulling with maximum strength over the long haul. I remember Kerry's testimony before Congress, and I remember the threats and harassment that went along with it. This guy can and will go the distance, and I will do everything within my power in my little corner of the world to get him elected.

Martha Sterling-Golden
Bath, Maine

Bush campaign HQ, 36 Cooper Square

How does the Voice like being used as a tool to get G.W. Bush re-elected (i.e., being used by Matt Drudge to bad-mouth Kerry in order to make it appear that the publication supports Bush)?

This is why the GOP wins more than the Dems. It doesn't have loose cannons shooting themselves in the foot.

Dan Sarazen
Weston, Massachusetts

Kerry campaign song courtesy Guns N' Roses

Re "John Kerry Must Go":

I had to double-check the date that this article was published. It sounds like it was penned last September when everyone in the media thought Howard Dean was the Democrats' only hope.

There is a reason Kerry is our nominee, thank goodness, instead of Dean. Democrats came to their senses during the primaries and realized only one man had the qualifications to beat Bush, and that man is John Kerry. He proved in the primaries he had the tenacity to come from behind and win.

Ridgeway is ready to jump ship because the three-time-deferment Dick Cheney has the gall to question John Kerry's patriotism over throwing a handful of his medals. Kerry could have put them up for auction on eBay for all I care. Unlike his Republican chicken-hawk counterparts, Kerry earned the right to do whatever he wanted with them.

Ridgeway's looking for a knockout punch in this fight six months before it ends. If there's one thing Ridgeway should have learned during the primaries, it's that John Kerry is a good closer. Have patience.

Paul Safsel
Pelham, New York

The perfect candidate

When I first came across James Ridgeway's "John Kerry Must Go" I thought I was reading something written before the Iowa caucuses. During the months prior to people actually casting ballots, Senator Kerry's candidacy was written off by many a wise pundit who apparently didn't have anything else to write. But what happened? Kerry went on to win all but two primaries and caucuses.

I'd like to remind Ridgeway that Bill Clinton was polling third heading into the 1992 Democratic convention. And, as to Senator Kerry's personal wealth, I suppose Ridgeway would have proposed that FDR and JFK disqualify themselves as well. If Kerry "doesn't have what it takes to win," then why has the Bush campaign raised a $200 million war chest and spent nearly $60 million of it in the last six weeks on character assassination and distortion?

Kerry is not going to drop out. We still have six months to go. For a Democrat, he enters the fray with unprecedented financial resources. He waged a national campaign during the primaries. That gives him an infrastructure for assembling a winning coalition. He's already leading in many of the battleground states. He has united Democrats across regional, racial, policy, and ideological lines. Polls show a tight race. Reality suggests a tough race. This campaign is not for the faint of heart, nor those who are only willing to support the perfect candidate. Besides, like beauty, the perfect candidate is in the eye of the beholder.  

Kerry is the perfect candidate to beat George Bush. Kerry's strong on national security and anti-terrorism; he's an ardent advocate of multilateralism in foreign policy; he's staunch on returning to fiscal responsibility, job creation, diversity, meaningful health care, education reform, choice, and moderate judicial appointments. Isn't preventing a second Bush term what this election is really all about? This can only be done by electing John Kerry.

Gregory W. Meeks
Member of Congress, Sixth District, Queens
National Co-Chair, John Kerry for President Washington, D.C.

Nader campaign HQ, 36 Cooper Square

I used to read the Voice regularly but will no longer after your hit article for Nader. Kerry still leads most polls. You have become nothing but Nader shills. Very disappointing, and the article to which I am referring reads like it's from a high school newspaper. Pathetic.

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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