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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

'New and Improved' Presidential Campaign

September 15, 2004

With reference to the Sept. 13 Ronald Brownstein column, "How Will Voters Handle the 'Truth' About Kerry and Bush?" this type of analysis suggests that our political parties and the media have lost their common sense.

Outside of the media ads and TV pundits and journalists discussing this alleged "issue," I have yet to meet one fellow American, Democrat or Republican, who is assessing how to vote based on who was or was not a good lieutenant 30-plus years ago. Americans realize they are voting for a civilian president to lead us in wartime. They clearly voted in the 1990s for a president who was never in the military against two candidates who were World War II heroes. They want a commander in chief, not a lieutenant or a captain or even a general, necessarily.

The "truth" about Sen. John Kerry and President Bush is a waste of time relative to the election. If anyone lost or gained points in August, it was probably based on what he said or didn't say about the issues, including the war on terror and domestic issues. Give the American electorate some credit, please.

James R. Fees

London

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Re " 'Change' Is Vital Election Theme for Bush, Kerry," Sept. 12: If Bush is presenting himself as a candidate for change, then isn't it about time you started pointing out that he is running against his own record? On the other hand, if Bush is not running against the record of his first term in the White House, then why is he campaigning for change?

Of course, I know why you're ignoring this obvious contradiction: It doesn't fit into the media's prefabricated story, in which Kerry is derided as a flip-flopper, while Bush is praised for his unwavering positions. Maybe it's time to write a new script, one that more accurately reflects the reality of the campaign.

Steve Biodrowski

Valley Village

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When an incumbent president makes a campaign promise of "change," isn't that the same as admitting failure during his first term in office?

Joyce Stenberg

Irvine

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There is nothing new about Bush's attempts to redefine his administration. The strategy has been taught in schools of business for decades, and big businesses have practiced it for more than a century. The strategy is simple: When the public begins to sense that a product falls far short of its advertising campaign, repackage it as the "new and improved" version.

The Bush administration's new and improved advertising campaign merely camouflages the fact that Bush plans to practice more crony corporate capitalism under a new banner. On matters relating to Social Security, healthcare and national defense, the money will still flow out of the lower and middle classes and into the pockets of the wealthy. The status quo won't change one bit.

Dennis M. Clausen

Escondido

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Kerry is absolutely correct when he says he will lead the nation in a "new direction": far left.

Don Wagner

Santa Monica

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The Democrats have criticized Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remarks as a scare tactic to vote Republican (Sept. 8). Perhaps when taken out of context with his entire speech, different conclusions can be drawn. I thought it implied "think before you vote."

People have criticized Bush's preemptive war on Iraq as being unfounded and as only increasing violence in the world. The president still believes this to be the correct response, while Kerry says he would have handled it differently.

There are many hot spots in the world today, most notably the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran. The next administration must face these problems and hopefully solve them peacefully. It is up to us voters to decide who is best suited to do this. Our choice should not be based on best hairstyle alone.

Lawrence Nowak

Torrance

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Has anyone besides me noticed the difference in the coverage of the Swift boat stories by the press and the National Guard stories?

Leonard Fritsche

La Crescenta

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Re "Nader Says Kerry Will Lose, Bring the Democrats Down," Sept. 10: If I didn't know better, I'd believe that Nader wants the Democrats to lose out of personal animosity for their shift toward the center. But I do know better, don't I?

Ken Rubenstein

Santa Barbara

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