Re James Ridgeway's "What Presidential Race?" [August 13-19]:
Ridgeway fails to account for the fact that a Governor Schwarzenegger, as a longtime Bush family friend, will likely campaign tirelessly for Bush in 2004. The California Democratic basenormally contributing 25 percent of the Democrats' fundraising totals in presidential electionshaving exhausted their funds on the recall election, could well face an uphill election battle for nominee Dean (or anyone else nominated). Losing California will likely kill any Democratic nominee's chance of defeating Bush. Maybe that's what Rove was thinking when he met with Schwarzenegger (they implausibly denied discussing politics).
California Democrats tempted to vote for Schwarzenegger in the recall election should keep this possibility firmly in mind.
IT'S A SHAME ABOUT GRAY
In "The Fringe on Top" [August 13-19], Rick Perlstein writes, "[T]he original ideathat it's kosher to kick out a newly elected governor before he's finished out his first year just because you don't like his politicsremains as radical as ever."
Not a single mention of California's economy, and how it hashow to say this diplomatically?"changed" during Gray Davis's tenure in office. Davis has grossly mismanaged California's treasury. He presided over the oddest few months in which the state went from energy crisis to surplus. And he recently ensured that next year, my vehicle registration fees will triple. The recall as a right-wing fringe idea? Perhaps. Re-elected by a wide margin? Sure, if you count the ebullient Bill Simon as competition. What Perlstein neglected to discuss is that, far from being a Republican, Dubya-orchestrated character assassination, this effort is really about removing a leader who has underperformed.
And it's supported by average Californians who wonder where the hell all the money has gone. Why do you need more?
Costa Mesa, California
THE QUEER ISSUE
Re Michael Musto's "Der Vild, Vild West!" [August 13-19]:
It pains me to have to defend the rich and soon-to-be powerful, but Arnold Schwarzenegger, gay-bashing "bigot"? Musto cites jokes from a 26-year-old movie, and the fact that he once used the phrase "girly-men," something that pretty much every SNL-watching American said at least once in the early '90s. By these criteria, virtually every single American is a homophobe.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor of California. Certainly there should be more than enough material to work with here.
Michael Musto replies: I also wrote, "Thankfully, gay makes his day. Arnold's been progressive on queer issues and has even promoted gay adoption."
Re Pat Blashill's "Alone Again (Unnaturally)" [July 30-August 5]:
Thank you very much for reviewing the Ellen Allien record. It's my favorite album of the year thus far. She rules, and people need to start listening up! Forever and ever. Amen. Period.
San Francisco, California
IN PRAISE OF FEINGOLD
Kudos to Michael Feingold for his incisive and insightful analysis, "Off-Directing (Part I)" [July 30-August 5]. If more critics courageously proclaimed such truth, the barrage of nonsense might dissipate. Thank you.
South Hamilton, Massachusetts
Wayne Barrett's "New York's Prince of Darkness" [August 20-26] was interesting and informative, but in describing the scope of effect the recent blackout had, failed to mention that the problem affected more than the United States. Most of Ontario, Canada, was also without power Thursday, and the provincial government has continued to issue warnings for this week as the province attempts to recover. This blackout affected both Ottawa, the nation's capital, as well as Toronto, the province's capital. As a result, many federal, provincial, and municipal government employees are still being asked to stay home.
The Voice is a good forum for those in New York City, but this situation is certainly not solely an issue for Americans, but Canadians as well. To convey a problem as only affecting one area when in fact it encompasses more is misleading and, for the neglected area in question, somewhat dismaying.
Re Nat Hentoff's "Fierce Watchdog of the Constitution" [August 6-12]:
Hentoff suggests journalists should be "educators on what the rule of law is and how it is being abused by government . . . " I swore a journalist's job was to report the news without adding his or her own opinion (or bias) to the story. If a journalist decides to write an opinion piece, then by all means, educate as you see fit. But don't expect to be taken seriously the next time you write a non-opinion piece with a liberal (or conservative) tilt of interpreting the story.
The thing that scares Nat and the rest of the left-leaning media is that people are hearing the other side now and "educating" the public as to how things really are. How can Nat like the judge so much for protecting the Constitution when liberals seek to circumvent that same Constitution through the courts? I guess we need to follow the Constitution when it suits the left. Let's try to follow it all the time. It's proven to work, unlike the ideas of the Democratic Party.
Nat Hentoff replies: A reporter should indeed report the news and not give his or her own opinions. A columnist, however, is paid to give opinions and is open to rebuttal, as in this letter. Both the left and right try to interpret the Constitution. So do judges. It would be helpful if everyone, including journalists, had a copy of the Constitution.
Michael Gecan's "The Tribes of Yale" [August 20-26] was truly a stroke of journalistic genius. Poetic and informative, it was the best article I've read in years. In a country where the punditocracy rules and narrow agendas are imposed on us by the Wall Street Journals and the Fox Newses, Mr. Gecan's article was a needed breath of fresh air. If only the mainstream (read "conservative") media would print more Gecan and less Coulter.
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