As a Republican, let me thank you for the book reviews focusing on the role of Willie Horton in the 1988 presidential election ("Willie, We Too Much Knew You," Oct. 14). If Democratic apologetics continue to believe that it was Republican tactics rather than liberal ideology that propelled Bush from 17 points down in July to an 8-point victory in November, then those same Democrats will most likely nominate another liberal in 1992.
It wasn't Dukakis' "Snoopy-in-a-tank" imitation that did him in, it was what he stood for--his function, not his fashion. Why else would it be that in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race, candidates from both parties campaigned against the ghosts and policies of Smilin' Mike? Why are the state bonds from the "Massachusetts Miracle" rated less favorably than those from the non-industrial states of the South?
Incidentally, I suppose you must choose a partisan (one way or the other) to review a book of this sort, but at least identify the reviewer as such. Yes, Chris Matthews is the Washington bureau chief for the San Francisco Examiner, but he also was former House Speaker Tip O'Neill's chief of staff from 1981 to 1986. No wonder he can write "middle-of-the-road Michael Dukakis" with a straight face.
JOHN PAUL ARNERICH