Candidate With Destiny

I am a Republican, and I appreciate all your efforts to uncover the real story behind John McCain ("Haunted by Spirits," John Dougherty and Amy Silverman, February 17). I am sending your article to everyone I know. I appreciate that not everyone in journalism is so politically slanted that they cannot report the truth even if it is sitting in the chair next to them.

Please keep up your good investigative reporting. Woodward and Bernstein have nothing on Dougherty and Silverman!

Do you worry about your car blowing up?

Susan Lewis
Raleigh, North Carolina

Gosh, how unlikely. A man's father-in-law contributes to his political campaigns. The amount of money contributed doesn't seem to be excessive and McCain has largely avoided being involved with alcohol legislation. So why do we need federal involvement with another business that sells a legal product? All the early bootlegging seems to be related to state and federal laws that attempted to retain Prohibition-era controls on the liquor business. It just doesn't look like there is any "there" there, in regard to McCain.

Paul Garrison
Greybull, Wyoming

Just wanted to thank Dougherty and Silverman for an excellent piece on Senator McCain. Although it is unfortunate that the major media outlets seem to ignore these matters, it is good to see that someone is informing the public about McCain's full family history.

Christopher Telschow
via Internet

I infer from your article that the activities of John McCain's father-in-law in the 1940s are somehow considered relevant to a discussion of the senator's current political posture with respect to liquor. Such being the case, I assume that the activities during this same time period of his political adversaries on this subject would be considered even more relevant.

Consider Senator Strom Thurmond, whose proposed anti-alcohol legislation you cite with approval. In 1948, he ran for president on a platform of white supremacy. What about Thurmond's neo-Prohibitionist ally, Senator Robert Byrd? In the 1940s, he was a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.

If you're going to smear the liquor industry with allegations that are more than a half-century old, surely it's fair to report what the bigots on the other side were doing at the same time.

Tom Schlafly, president
The Saint Louis Brewery
St. Louis, Missouri

To paraphrase the inspector in Casablanca, I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find out somewhere in the extended family lineage of a powerful politician is a crook with his own interests at heart.

The plot: A wealthy old bootlegger with extensive political and criminal connections connives, wheels and deals to have a member of his family elected to the highest office in the land. The Joe Kennedy story? Ah, no, ah, McCain's father-in-law, James Hensley. Trust me, by "Old Joe Standards," these guys are a bunch of cowboys who can't shoot straight. As a matter of fact, Old Joe was not only a crook, he even double-crossed the crooks (Sam Giancana) in getting his son elected. I guess that makes him a "Crook to the Second Power," or squared, to use some high-tech vernacular.

The real story about John McCain that everyone from New Times to Rush Limbaugh is missing is that he is masterfully using Billy the Kidder Clinton's playbook. He positions himself in the center, smiles and jokes, seduces the press, and says whatever is necessary to get elected, drawing fire from both sides. But unlike Clinton, who gravitated to the left after the election, you know that old John will end up moving toward the right. Now that's when you journalists are really going to be pissed off, after getting gooned once again.

Watch out, President McCain. Hell hath no fury like liberals scorned.

Tom Stitt

Soldiers' Story

Edward Lebow's monograph on Jimmy Creasman's World War II correspondence is a fine piece of journalism, well organized and illustrated ("Words of War," February 3 and 10). Creasman remained in the Army Reserve until 1957. In 1955, I succeeded him as commander of Company A, 59th Infantry Regiment, headquartered at Papago Park. The regiment -- largest of the U.S. Army Reserve in Arizona -- was commanded at that time by Lieutenant Colonel Burton S. Barr, who was subsequently promoted to colonel. Upon military retirement, Barr turned his attention to politics.

Jimmy rode with me to and from summer training at Camp Roberts, California, in 1956 and recounted some of the experiences he had had in Europe. Lebow wove the letters Creasman wrote about that episode into a great story.

Lloyd Clark

Ed Lebow did a fine job writing the two stories about Arizona soldiers Jimmy Creasman and David Murdock, who served in the U.S. Army in Europe in World War II. Thank you for publishing them. Their stories were very touching and very interesting. War is a great evil. It wastes so many people and so much effort while at the same time, some people are perversely able to profit from it. I am 42 and I think people my age often forget all the sacrifices that earlier generations made for us. Thank you for reminding us. This election year, let's work to elect politicians who will be wise enough to prevent war by working hard to build a just peace in this troubled world of ours.

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