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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

GOP Should Challenge Bush's Leadership

November 29, 2003

Given President Bush's vulnerability, with falling confidence in his economic policies and his Iraq war crusade and a nearly 50/50 split in most polls as to whether to reelect him, I'm surprised some Republican like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Charles Hagel (R-Neb.) doesn't challenge Bush for the nomination.

If those in the Republican Party cannot muster the guts to challenge their own creation when they clearly see he is leading the nation into a disaster on all fronts, they are nothing more than sycophants kissing Bush's hand and have lost all moral credibility. Somewhere along the line Republican voters will realize they are citizens, too, being hurt by Iraq deaths and spending -- and being hurt by lost jobs, lack of health care and the lousy Bush economy. Let's hope reasonable Republican voters rebel and bring the nation back on compass.

Jane W. Prettyman

Santa Barbara

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Re "Daschle Wants Bush Ad Pulled," Nov. 24, and "Bush's Inaction Over General's Islam Remarks Riles Two Faiths," Nov. 23: Bush is tough on democratic dissent, but he's the one who's soft on terrorism. Look back to 9/11, when the mission of the Bush administration could not have been more clear: Hunt down and destroy the Al Qaeda terrorist network -- but make plain this is not a war on Islam, a perception that could only swell the ranks of Osama bin Laden's followers. So Bush goes off and launches a unilateral, preemptive invasion of an Arab state with zero links to Al Qaeda.

And as if to remove any doubt that our born-again president is on a crusade, he allows the comments of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who accused Muslims of worshipping idols, to go unpunished. Add in the fact Bush has weakened homeland security by calling up so many "first responders" (police and firefighters who are reservists) to go fight, not terrorists, but Baath Party loyalists, and one can't help but speculate: Did an Al Qaeda sleeper cell located near Crawford, Texas, feature a Dubya replicant?

Ernest Blakey

Canyon Country

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