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A Two-Camp Nation: Pick Clinton or Bush

June 27, 2004

Max Boot ("A Clever Fellow, to Be Sure, but Clueless About Character," Commentary, June 24) is right on target when he notes that culture and religion determine a person's view of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In fact, in my experience a person's attitude toward the social changes attributed to the '60s (freedom from sexual and societal mores, drugs, etc.) is an almost perfect predictor of that person's view of Bush or Clinton. Those who think the '60s liberated our culture find Bush to be a reactionary throwback to the bad old days. Those who think that '60s values brought decadence and decline will find Clinton to be an embodiment of those values.

What is depressing about this is that it proves that image is everything in politics today. As Boot points out, Clinton was in almost every way a conservative president (deficit reduction, welfare reform, etc.), while Bush is in many ways quite liberal (expanding Medicare and education programs, increasing overall federal spending, protecting some industries and farmers). It is too bad that even the small percentage of our populace that still cares about politics cannot see past the image.

Mark Hoose

Glendale

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In a coordinated effort, Boot and Michael Ramirez each do their damnedest to trash Clinton. Ramirez's editorial cartoon (also June 24) features Clinton's grotesquely caricatured face on the cover of his book, with Sen. John Kerry in the background, trying to get some attention.

I think what makes these "journalists" anxious is the fact that the public still seems to like the man. That and the possibility that if the two-term limit was discarded and Clinton chose to run again, he would swamp anyone the Republicans could run against him.

Thomas Thomas

Pacific Palisades

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I have never read such a clueless over-generalization than Boot's nonsensical assertion that "conservatives like character, liberals like cleverness." I think that even Boot would agree that it was conservatives who were responsible for Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair. These were men of character? And it was conservatives who maintained a steady stream of lies that led to our present tragic involvement in Iraq.

Perhaps Boot is confused by liberals who like and respect intelligence, an attribute absent from the clueless individuals in our present conservative government.

Lou Goren

Los Angeles

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Re Boot's assessment of Clinton's and Bush's character and the assertion that Democrats prefer cleverness over character: I'm a Democrat because I prefer intelligence in a leader and not blind obedience to the corporate crooks and right-wing ideologues who control the Republican Party, which, I might add, was my original party until Ronald Reagan began his concerted effort to bankrupt the country and divide America into warring camps.

Steve Loicano

Santa Maria

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Boot wonders how Dubya can inspire "such antipathy" from Democrats even while pandering to them with legislative treacle like the No Child Left Behind Act and other bogus measures. Two words: Iraq war.

Jim Mallon

San Luis Obispo

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Clinton's assertion in his autobiography that his behavior with Monica Lewinsky was "morally indefensible" sounds, at best, as though he is writing in the third person and about someone else. Why not state the obvious: "I behaved immorally and unethically, accept full personal responsibility for my behavior and ask the American people to forgive me." He continues to dance around personal responsibility. Although I voted for him twice, I wish he would go away so we can move forward and not dwell in his sordid past.

David Amitai

Los Angeles

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