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I just finished “The Pretender” [cover story, January 26–February 1]. My, what a vicious and strident lefty Harold Meyerson is. I will admit he’s gutsy, though. He mentioned tobacco money and draft-dodging without mentioning Al or Bill, and calls a former jet pilot with an MBA from Harvard a dullard. What wit and eloquence.

—Kevin Mackey
Chassell, Minnesota



Harold Meyerson’s article may well be the most important and accurate yet written on the pretender to the Oval Office. He brings up every concern I have — and all Americans should have — about Boy George, with a clarity and concision that escape most journalists in the major media. We hear so much crowing about Shrub’s charisma and charm (which I’ve yet to discern), and so little about his utter lack of intelligence or, indeed, of any qualifications to be the supposed leader of the free world. Thanks to Harold Meyerson for his insightful piece, and thanks to the L.A. Weekly for publishing it.

—Markus Kamp
Seattle, Washington



Your pathetic hatchet job on President Bush reveals what a bunch of whiners you socialists are when you lose. Your tired insinuations against his intelligence have no basis in fact, as is usual for leftist propaganda. Bush earned a master’s degree from an Ivy League university; Gore flunked out of divinity school, allegedly due to heavy pot smoking. Bush flew jet aircraft, while Gore flew a typewriter with an assigned bodyguard to protect him during the Vietnam years. Tell me again, what criteria are you using to determine intelligence?

—John Harvey
San Antonio, Texas



The article on Bush the Pretender was fantastic and right on the money. How sad that our nation is now in the grip of this man. What a shame that we now have a selected resident, as opposed to an elected president. God help America.

—Terri Collins
Orrington, Maine



If Bush is the lamebrained individual you imply he is, then how come he overcame all of the traps set by you left-wingers? Appears to me he has outmaneuvered you.

—Rick Swanson
San Antonio, Texas



“The Pretender,” by Harold Meyerson, is must-read material for any sentient being. Thank you for a great writer, and for a fabulously clear and witty article.

—Mark Richards
Boston, Massachusetts



“The Pretender” represents the finest in demagoguery. Harold Meyerson lost all credibility with me when he stated that the Supreme Court “made [Bush] president.” Oh, really? I thought Arkansas, or West Virginia, or Gore’s own state of Tennessee made Mr. Bush president. Had Mr. Gore carried any one of these, Florida would have been an interesting asterisk and no more. Any objective reading of the situation would admit that Gore was the victim of his own flawed campaign strategy.

—H.S. Hager
San Marcos, Texas



In Harold Meyerson’s cover story, most of the lies, half-truths and propaganda of the radical left can be found in one convenient reading. He portrays the proposed missile-defense system as an attempt to “defeat” an adversary in nuclear warfare, when its true purpose is to protect the citizens of this nation and to deter aggression. And, he says, we have “no remotely plausible adversaries.” Really? Russia has not stood down her nuclear forces, and, courtesy of the treasonous Clinton administration, communist China is able to target most of the western U.S. Only strength keeps tyrants and bullies in check; weakness just encourages them.

—Jim Kelly
Wall, New Jersey



In his article “The Pretender,” Harold Meyerson correctly asserts that Rupert Murdoch’s Fox television network is responsible for much of the cultural pollution on the nation’s airwaves, but he’s wrong in asserting that conservatives like Bill Bennett “will likely continue to give GOP mega-donor and right-wing ideologue Rupert Murdoch a free pass.”

As far back as 1995, Bennett publicly criticized Murdoch and his network for broadcasting “trash” and advertising it during the NFL playoffs. In fact, Bennett called Murdoch personally and said, “You’ve got real garbage on this network, and you should take it off.” And when Bennett joined with Senator Joe Lieberman to hand out Silver Sewer awards — given to the nation’s worst cultural polluters — Fox and Murdoch were among the recipients. In presenting Murdoch with the award, Bennett said: “Through hard work, substantial financial investments and critical editing decisions, Mr. Murdoch has led one of America’s largest, â most successful networks into the gutter. He takes the runoff and sludge from the red-light districts and redirects it into the mainstream of American consumption. He is now responsible for what is perhaps the worst — the most crude, cynical and insulting — material ever to be broadcast to the American public over network-television airways . . . There seems to be almost nothing that Fox will not broadcast. Its shows are filled with vulgarity, lewdness, promiscuity, violence and overall decadence. Little of what is broadcast encourages the traditional conservative values Murdoch supposedly cherishes.”

Do some conservative critics of popular culture give Murdoch a free pass because of his Republican leanings? Absolutely. But Bill Bennett isn’t among them.

—Kevin Cherry
Aide to William Bennett
Empower America
Washington, D.C.



I was surprised to read in Harold Meyerson’s article “The Pretender” that “You have to go back to Coolidge to find a president with a résumé so short [as that of George W. Bush], a presence so uninspiring, an intelligence so difficult to locate.” As Mr. Meyerson could have learned from any desktop reference, Calvin Coolidge was a distinguished graduate of Amherst College who rose from humble origins in rural Vermont to become a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, mayor of Northampton, lieutenant governor and later governor of Massachusetts, and finally vice president, a position from which he acceded to the presidency upon the death of Warren Harding. He was elected in his own right in 1924 by a landslide and would certainly have been re-elected in 1928 if he had chosen to run. He was immensely popular in his time, but his reputation suffered when New Deal politicians and commentators saw in his conservatism and laissez-faire policies the seeds of the Great Depression.

Mr. Meyerson may have confused Coolidge with his predecessor, Harding, who was indeed intellectually undistinguished and had a spare political résumé — and who is almost universally regarded as the least of presidents.

—Alejandro Jenkins
Cambridge, Massachusetts



I would like to clarify a point regarding Marc Haefele’s article “Seating Non-Incumbents” [City Limits, January 26–February 1] on my community’s effort to have the Los Angeles City Council appoint a replacement for Jackie Goldberg.

Jackie Goldberg is not “leaving” for Sacramento; she’s gone. She’s been gone since early December. Already, projects that were under way in my neighborhood and elsewhere in the 13th District have been delayed, denied and defeated due to our lack of representation. This will only get worse as the city-budget process proceeds this spring. The City Council needs to follow its legal obligation and to respect the people of the 13th Council District by appointing Goldberg’s successor as soon as possible.

—Joe Linton


In Neal Weaver’s review of the play Vacation [February 2–8], Jill Remez and Karen Michael are credited for performing in each other’s roles. In Paul Malcolm’s coverage of this year’s Sundance Festival [same issue], Working Films co-founder Robert West is misidentified as “Daniel.” We apologize for the errors.

LA Weekly