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Doug Ireland’s “I’m Linda, Fly Me” [January 17–23] is the latest manifestation of the Republican right grasping at inaccuracies and half-truths to find ways to attack Senator Tom Daschle. There are so many inaccuracies in this article, I’m not sure where to begin. I’ve known the senator and his wife for many years. His decision on whether or not to run for president involved many factors, none of which were concerns over his wife’s career.

I’ve heard it all before from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. But what disturbs me most about the article is that it seems the L.A. Weekly is becoming an acolyte of Rush Limbaugh. It only proves that the politics of innuendo and the lack of any reporting skills are not just reserved for the Republican right-wing attack machine. It’s just a little more disappointing when the guys who claim to speak for the little guy employ the same tactics as the Republican right.

—Joe Lockhart Former White House Press Secretary

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Do you really expect readers to take seriously an article that includes phrases like “dumped his first wife for a younger, prettier one,” “sleazy deal in the backrooms,” “President Bubba” and “odiferous affair”? The above examples, and others, made Doug Ireland’s article on Tom Daschle both impossible to read and impossible to take seriously. I expect this kind of “reporting” from Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, not from the Weekly.

—Saul Davis Studio City

GREEN GRUMBLES

Micah Sifry is right [“Young Man Blues,” January 17–23]. With youth come “boundless energy, optimism and fearlessness.”

And with age come lethargy, defeatism and cynicism, qualities that are becoming increasingly evident in Micah Sifry’s columns on the Greens. Yes, the Greens have made mistakes, and will continue to make them, and yes, the decision to run against Wellstone was surely one of these mistakes, albeit one that had no effect on the ultimate outcome of the race and has long since been forgotten by most voters.

But by continuing to harp on the Greens’ failures and, as he has done repeatedly, to champion the Working Families Party as the moderate, “responsible” third-party alternative, Sifry does much more harm than good. And Sifry’s opinions matter. It is likely that Sifry’s advocacy of the WFP in The Nation at the expense of the Greens resulted in the Aronowitz New York gubernatorial candidacy failing to receive the numbers of votes required for the Greens’ maintaining ballot status. Sifry’s recent writings strongly imply that he believes this was a desirable outcome. Basic intellectual honesty requires him, therefore, to put his cards on the table and admit that he would like nothing better than to see the Greens fail. By continuing to posture as a tough but supportive patriarch, administering harsh but necessary medicine to us “kids,” he and the rest of the coterie of flaccid liberals at The Nation and elsewhere are doing nothing other than functioning in their traditional role as obstacles to the advancement of progressive politics.

This is not to say that recognition of harsh political realities and learning to make wise tactical decisions is not absolutely necessary for the Greens. But if Greens are going to take criticism seriously, it must be made clear that the intention behind the criticism is to build the party rather than to destroy it. Micah Sifry is increasingly showing himself to be, when it comes to the Greens, not a comrade, but a cop. And a tiresome and cynical one at that.

—John Halle Green Party alderman New Haven, Connecticut

 

Micah Sifry made some good points about the challenges facing the Green Party, but I take issue with his assertion that hemp is a “left indulgence.” This comment makes it clear that he has heard one side of the argument. Perhaps he has the impression that hemp farming is only supported by those who want to legalize marijuana. This is far from the truth. More than 10,000 retail stores now carry hemp products; mainstream companies like Ford, Chrysler, Calvin Klein and the Body Shop are using hemp in their products; and the market is growing rapidly. In 2000 over $150 million in hemp products were sold in the U.S. Unfortunately, all of it was imported from Canada, China and Europe. If growing this useful and versatile crop makes sense throughout the rest of the world, why doesn’t it make sense here?

—Eric Steenstra President, Vote Hemp Merrifield, Virginia

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