Re Mark Hertsgaard's Dec. 20 commentary on George W. Bush: Thank you for finally publishing a column that tells it like it is. The Supreme Court has selected a president for us who not only lacks the intellectual capacity to do the job, but also lacks the interest. He never wanted to be president, until his dad's cronies anointed him for the job. He doesn't like to read or study policy; he prefers playing video golf games. The job he really wanted was commissioner of baseball. Welcome to the era of the delegated presidency. The thought of Dick Cheney, James Baker and former President George Bush running the country is chilling, indeed.
* How long are we to endure innuendo regarding the intellect of President-elect Bush? These remarks, most of which are attempts at humor, give food for thought. There is a huge difference between "intellect" and "wisdom." The two are not the same.
We have endured an extremely unwise president hiding behind a mask of having a high intellect for the past eight years. How else can President Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky be explained? Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar. He could possess the highest intellect ever recorded. Does it matter? What good is having this high intellect when one reduces this wisdom to inordinate stupidity? No wise person would make such decisions.
Yet we are assailing Bush. We are questioning his mental skills while turning the other cheek to the one who made the profanely idiotic moves. I support Bush and will continue to consider him the wiser of the two. You can keep your intellect. I support the smart guy.
FRANK R. WHITE
* I read Guillaume Parmentier's Dec. 19 commentary. It seems that Parmentier thinks that France likes neither our new president nor our process of selecting him. I propose, in the interests of American-French amity, the following trade: We won't tell the French how to jump on grapes and they don't tell us how to run a constitutional republic. Seems like a fair exchange to me.
ROGER J. BUFFINGTON
* Americans stand like proud parents showing off to their global friends that we have weathered an insurrection without a shot. The very thing of which we are so proud is the very thing that we should examine with an unjaundiced eye and a giant magnifying glass. The stunning takeover of the presidency, with a puppet president and the Machiavellian men behind him, is worthy of a banana republic.
The rule of law has been flouted before us in so blatant a manner that we are stunned into acceptance under the guise of democracy. Make no mistake, this was a calculated coup d'etat and the victors are in the henhouse.
* Regardless of my feelings about which candidate I thought would make a better president, there is one long-used term that makes me bristle every time I hear it in connection with Bush: president-elect. The fact is that Bush was not elected, and the term is inaccurate. I will be referring to him as Presidential-appointee Bush, both now and after January, since President Bush implies that he was the choice of the citizenry. Though I have no illusions that this will become the standard moniker, it is the truth: Presidential-appointee Bush was not elected by the people, but rather appointed by the Supreme Court.
SCOTT PATRICK WAGNER
* The election is over and I agree that we should all stand behind Bush and give him a chance. They say he is going to have to consider that half of us didn't vote for him, if he is going to be an effective president. He can't be effective if both sides don't work with him. If we hurt him we hurt ourselves.
Perhaps one of the best things about this election is that most Americans learned a lot about the Supreme Court that they didn't know before. They are just nine Americans and, as much as we wish it wasn't so, they have political leanings just like the rest of us.
Every Democratic member of Congress should watch the next Supreme Court appointment with a very wary eye. If Bush, when he is president, wants to show the country that he really wants to heal this divide, then let him appoint a middle-of-the-road judge. We all should help pull this country together during this four-year period unless it means a more conservative court.
The balance of power our forefathers thought they created has vanished with a Republican Congress, Republican court and Republican administration. I'm a Republican but not a conservative, and I'd hate to see us become a one-party country.
* John Balzar's commentary, "Some Guys Get All the Breaks" ("37 Days," Dec. 17), is a personal cheap shot and an angry fulmination from an obviously bitter journalist who doesn't know how to lose graciously. Why even publish such inane and partisan rantings as these in your special report?
* Balzar has a lot of courage. He said what a lot of people are thinking. Bush was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Despite all his early fumbling, his lack of intellectual integrity and the lack of a majority vote, he has become president. Who could be more lucky? Let us hope our country is just as lucky in the next four years.