WHAT'S WRONG WITH KUCINICH?
Thank you, Ronnie, for finally coming right out and saying it. I've been wondering where all the progressive writers have been hiding. Had we had your support, the campaign might have been much further along than it is right now. Fortunately, Kucinich is a man who understands how quickly the political scene might change, and he stays on target with the issues. Those of us who support him will stay the course also. I'm wondering whom Michael Moore will elect to support, now. I'm also wondering why CNN doesn't even bother to post the results for Kucinich in the Wisconsin primary. Could it be that their corporate owners want to decide the election for us? There was even discussion tonight about including only the top three scoring candidates in the upcoming CNN-sponsored debate. Imagine the objectivity of a news organization that decides who the legitimate candidates will be. Some free press! Don't get me wrong; like other Kucinich supporters, I'm just biding my time. The real debate hasn't been held yet. Thanks for your belated article. I'll pass it on in the hopes that other "progressive" writers will follow suit.
The article by Ronnie Dugger on Dennis Kucinich was long overdue but, nonetheless, right on the money. There is no doubt in my mind that Kucinich would turn this country around and head it in the direction that all progressives have longed for for so long.
I will vote for the Democratic Party's candidate in November, but if it isn't Dennis I will have to hold my nose while doing so.
IS EDWARDS A REAL PROGRESSIVE?
I very much enjoyed the essay by Joel Rogers, "Progressives Should Vote Edwards." It was quite informative. I agree that Edwards sounds like a good man whom we badly need. However, it's becoming ever clearer that Kerry will be the nominee. I think he has a fine chance of beating that despicable fake, G.W. Bush. Let's hope that Kerry and Edwards will team up as nominees for President and Vice President. In my humble opinion, that would be a ticket that only rigged voting machines could defeat.
LEONORE H. DVORKIN
I am extremely disappointed that Joel Rogers would urge progressives to support the candidacy of John Edwards immediately after two successive strong and surprising primary finishes by Dennis Kucinich in Washington and Maine (in both of which Kucinich beat Edwards). Edwards supports the death penalty, voted for both the Patriot Act and the Iraq war, and is a member of the DLC.
Kucinich is the only true progressive in this race, and with the mainstream press essentially anointing Senator Kerry as the nominee, the best chance for progressives to make their voices heard is to support the Kucinich campaign, and at the very least press for some influence over the Democratic Party platform.
STEVEN W. SCHULDT
San Diego, CA
While I agree on some points about John Edwards in Joel Rogers's piece "Progressives Should Vote Edwards," and would very much like to support John Edwards as the nominee, I cannot vote for a senator who knows nothing about what is becoming the most contentious piece of legislation in the gay-marriage debate: DOMA. Senator Edwards showed no understanding of how this legislation works during one of the final debates of the season.
In an election cycle where gay marriage is shaping up to be the most dangerous wedge issue in the Karl Rove arsenal, a senator vying for the presidency CANNOT afford to be ignorant of the key elements at play in the debate.
Joel Rogers's plea for us progressives to support John Edwards seems to be misguided. To suggest that Edwards embodies progressive values ignores John Kerry's record and his plan for our nation and the world. According to Americans for Democratic Action, John Kerry has a 92 percent lifetime voting record, compared with 85 percent for Edwards. In 2002 Edwards scored 70 percent. He can hardly be classified as a progressive when he has been quite moderate on cultural issues. While I applaud Senator Edwards's fight to narrow our income inequality, the same can be said for Senator Kerry.
As a progressive, my vote will be for John Kerry.
Progressives should vote with a brave heart, not out of "Bush Whack" fear.
I'm sorry, Joel Rogers. I believe progressives should vote their hearts, at least at this point in the process. These are not third-party candidates. These are democratic candidates, and we need the voices of those who support Kucinich, Dean and Sharpton, as well as Edwards, to shape the eventual Democratic nominee's message. There will be time enough at the Democratic convention to select the nominee. I'm not ready to let the media and pundits do the job for us. Personally, I going to have a hard time casting my first vote for anyone serving in the US Senate, other than Robert Byrd. Their fingerprints are barely dry on the votes they took to support this President. At my precinct caucus in Washington, the majority of voters were for Kucinich, followed by Kerry and Dean. It was sad to listen to us debate who was more electable. I'm getting media whiplash on who is supposed to be electable. Damn, I thought voters decided! This party needs a movement to inflame the hearts of those who are not involved--that's best done through an inclusive, democratic process. We will beat Bush, but we need to take advantage of the populist momentum by nurturing it--not silencing it.
To quote President Franklin Roosevelt: "In the century in which we live, the Democratic Party has received the support of the electorate only when the party, with absolute clarity, has been the champion of progressive and liberal polices and principles of government. The party has failed consistently when through political trading and chicanery it has fallen into the control of those interests, personal and financial, which think in terms of dollars instead of in terms of human values." This is from the letter that FDR drafted to read to the Democratic convention in 1940, when he thought they would deny him Henry Wallace as a running mate.
West Newton, MA
In his February 2 article, David Hirst seeks to combat what he describes as the "great ignorance" of Americans generally and of American Jews in particular concerning Jewish fundamentalism. In fact, the ignorance is largely his own, and is compounded by what appears to be a very considerable anti-religious animus. To take just one example, it is ludicrous to describe Lubavitch as "the most rabid of Hasidic sects." Moreover, few of the Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria are followers of the movement. Lubavitch is, if anything, among the most modern of the Hasidic groups, which explains why it is so bitterly opposed by more right-wing Hasidim like Satmar. Nor is there any evidence that the Lubavitch movement, or any of the various Orthodox parties in Israel, seeks to overthrow democracy. To the contrary, they participate actively in the democratic process and (as even casual observers of Israeli politics know) vigorously disagree among themselves over both domestic and foreign policies.
As for Hirst's "parade of horribles," they are largely an invention of himself and a now deceased (and heavily discredited) Israeli academic. Interested readers would do better to read the measured scholarly articles on Jewish fundamentalism issued under the auspices of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as part of its "Fundamentalism Project," edited by Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (University of Chicago Press).
JONATHAN D. SARNA