McCain Express to Nowhere?

Pinon, Ariz.

I have two problems with Rick Perlstein’s “All Aboard the McCain Express” [April 21]. First, there is no guarantee that the conservative era is over. It is entirely possible that John McCain will win in November. Second, George W. Bush has not been conservative in the least; he’s been the head of a right-wing reactionary movement. McCain was perhaps conservative for a while, but he has abandoned his positions for the reactionary ones championed by Bush.

MIM JACKSON


Galesville, Wis.

I may be a dumb trucker, but here’s my opinion: I hope John McCain will not be our next President. The trigger-happy McCain solution to our problems is to move us closer to being the world’s policeman. He would divert money from healthcare, education and the environment to an expanded military. McCain, the 100-year-war monger, is as much a threat to our freedom as Bush/Cheney.

OTTO RIEMER


St. Charles, Mo.

As a social and fiscal conservative, I will not vote for John McCain. He fails the good-guy test. Only Obama passes the good-guy test–before we get to political questions. I am the polar opposite of Obama, but if McCain says or does whatever works to his political advantage, I cannot support him. I have not voted for a Democrat since I was 18, but I am closer than I have ever been.

DAN CLAYTON


Riverside, Calif.

Y’all are missing the point about McCain, the Panamanchurian candidate. He is the GOP sacrificial lamb in 2008. Like Bob Dole in 1996, the GOP is throwing him under the bus. So what’s a true, non-neocon Republican to do? Support RINO McCain? No–he has so much baggage he’ll be torpedoed. Support Dr. Paul, the true conservative? Sure; that would give the Democrats a run for their money. But they won’t. Go third party? Why not? It would be a strong message to the GOP. No matter how it is sliced, the GOP is royally screwed.

MICHAEL SEEBECK



Some Very Cross Words

Brooklyn, N.Y.

As a longtime reader of The Nation, I was shocked, appalled, horrified when I got my May 5 issue and sat down to read it, then solve Frank Lewis’s puzzle, as I do with every issue. No puzzle!! Biweekly? Biweekly!!! Not enough. Bring it back weekly. I am bereft without it.

DEBORAH SINER


Berkeley, Calif.

OMG! What happened to the puzzle? It’s my reason for getting up in the morning.

LISA BULLWINKEL


Fort Worth

WHERE IS IT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BETTY BRINK


Phoenix

OMG!! Where is Frank? My issue just arrived, and there is no puzzle. My dirty little secret is that I subscribe because of the puzzle. If it goes, so do I.

JOYCE H. DOYLE


New York City

I have been a Nation subscriber for decades and an Associate for years. I will be neither in the future if the cryptic crossword continues to be replaced with idiotic fluff like the interview with Nicholson Baker. Fascinating though it was to learn that his books grow like strawberry plants, I prefer the puzzle.

SANDY PETREY


East Lansing, Mich.

I have just opened my Nation, and I am disturbed, upset and chagrined to find Frank W. Lewis’s puzzle replaced by a page of “Back Talk.” The only way I can get through all the depressing news in The Nation is first to work on the crossword. Please restore it. It’s essential to my mental well-being.

DANIEL SUITS


Laguna Woods, Calif.

Don’t give me any “Back Talk”! Give me the puzzle every week.

PEGGY McGOVERN


Vienna, Me.

For years, my mate and I have indulged in the weekly after-dinner ritual of searching out two pencils with working erasers and sitting side by side, in bed or before the wood stove, to work the Nation crossword puzzle. No matter how devastating the news is, we can count on Frank Lewis to take us where New York Times meets Gertrude Stein and to blow the cobwebs from our minds in the process. Don’t cut back on the stuff our sanity is made of!

LEE SHARKEY


Los Angeles

Don’t you know that Frank Lewis’s puzzles are the best available anywhere? Why can’t you put the new column inside with the rest of them? I want my weekly crossword!

JULIE MAY


Emory, Va.

Not having Frank Lewis greet me from the back page every week is going to be a real bummer. Every Monday I promise myself to solve the puzzle before reading the magazine. Having to alter such a longstanding ritual (I’m 70 and a longtime subscriber) is so distressing to my psyche that I shall doubtless not renew. I did give “Back Talk” a try but found Nicholson Baker to be as uninspiring as campaign ads.

ROBERT D. DENHAM


Atlanta

After two decades of reading The Nation because of the way it challenges wrongheaded, ill-conceived schemes, I was shocked to find the magazine perpetrating one. Surely “Back Talk” is the magazine equivalent of New Coke. Bring back the puzzle, in print, every week, please.

MIKE KNOBLER


Marquette, Mich.

Talk about your bitter, gun-toting, religious voters–their malaise can in no way measure up to what I felt upon turning to the last page. What, no crypto-puzzle? No reward for dutifully reading every article first, all in eager anticipation of Frank Lewis’s latest challenge at the end? I cannot solve the global warming problem, the mortgage crisis, the superdelegate conundrum, but, by God, I can solve the weekly puzzle. Please bring back the one thing over which I feel some control!

FRANCES O’NEILL


Helmetta, N.J.

I’ve been a loyal subscriber for about fifty years. Today I feel stabbed in the heart by your news that the puzzle is now biweekly. Come on, Nation! Biweekly isn’t weekly, and on the web isn’t in the magazine. Please rescind these obnoxious decisions!

ELAINE SHINBROT


We regret the shock we’ve given our loyal, and revered, puzzle-solvers, who have let us know by phone, fax, e-mail and letter that they are not happy with our decision to run the crossword puzzle every other week. We could have done a better job of announcing the puzzle’s change of pace, perhaps posting an early notice on the puzzle page itself. Change isn’t easy, but we hope puzzlers will learn to enjoy “Back Talk” and that Frank Lewis, Nation puzzle-setter since 1947, is enjoying the new pace, too.

Send us your ideas for slaking your puzzle thirst. Puzzlers, always resourceful, have already suggested that we put out a compendium of Frank’s puzzles (The Compleat Frank Lewis, anyone?), that we run “puzzle classics” on the website, that apolitical (or Republican) puzzlers be allowed biweekly subscriptions. What’s your idea?   –The Editors