By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The Kyl File
Slim pickings: I'm a longtime Republican voter, and I thought your profile of Jon Kyl was first-rate ("Stealth Zealot," Robert Nelson, April 13). You could have taken a lot of cheap shots at the "other" senator from Arizona, but you didn't. You only gave him the negative shots that he deserves.
Fact is, Kyl has been making Republicans look bad for years. His record on civil rights issues is abhorrent, as you pointed out. Yes, he has done a lot for Arizona's ability to get and keep water, which is vital in this desert state, but his kowtowing to President Bush and his many extremist positions makes him a dangerous man to keep around.
I don't think Democrat Jim Pederson is the guy to beat him. I don't think Pederson would be any more effective than Kyl has been. His only qualification is that he isn't Jon Kyl. My point is proven out in that the pollsters even say that despite Bush's plummeting approval rating and Kyl's Neanderthal voting record, he will still edge out Pederson.
It's truly slim pickings in this race: a mushmouth Democrat who's personally dull versus a genteel extreme right-wing Republican who's personally dull. Thank God for John McCain around here.
Carl Savage, Prescott
"Doing" Arizona: Your piece on Jon Kyl was so blatantly agenda-driven and front-loaded with negativity that I'm rather dumfounded that it was green-lighted for print. But then again, it was in a newspaper that features a plate of roasted bugs on the front cover [the letter-writer refers to the photo accompanying "Chew On This!", Inferno, Stephen Lemons, April 13]. So do I expect too much?
Clearly, Kyl is a "doer," which is pretty bad if you are politically opposed to what he is "doing." Clearly you are opposed. Fair enough, but be fair about it.
You put spin on selected actions that serve your purpose without stating any of the principles behind them. For instance, you know that the highway bill you wish he had voted for contained record quantities of pork. Do people really want politicians hell-bent on bringing home the bacon at any cost, just like the vast majority of political lifers in office? I really don't think so. But stating this would not serve your agenda.
You show no respect for common intelligence by comparing Kyl's name recognition to John McCain's. McCain has run for president, been on Letterman, et al., written a mass-market autobiography that resulted in a movie.
You consider Kyl, based on his record in office, to be an absolute known quantity (a bad one!). I concede that this is a fair basis of evaluation, subject to your personal bias. That bias drives your writing, but that's not the point I want to make here. The thing is, you state with equal conviction that Jim Pederson will be a decidedly different type of politician who will do things in the old-school way. I see no history of elected office or voting record in Pederson's bio. Rather, I see the adult life of a commercial developer and party operative.
Dan Ichikawa, via the Internet
A dangerous character: "Stealth Zealot," indeed! Thanks for unveiling a truly dangerous character in the national political scene. It's always the behind-the-scenes guys who do the most damage. They quietly and politely get involved and then work their demonology.
Kathy Cummings, via the Internet
Thorough and thoughtful profile: I first got wind of your story on the Kyl-Pederson race in an e-mail from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Given the source, and given the excerpts they picked out for their one-pager, it made me wince a bit, thinking it was going to be a hit piece on Jon Kyl.
I'm glad I read the whole thing. Aside from the fact that it was unassailably fair and accurate, it was a fantastically thorough and thoughtful profile of not just Kyl and Pederson, but of Arizona politics in general. Great work!
Jared Serbu, Phoenix
Erroneous assumption: There was an error in your "pop quiz" description on the cover of New Times. You said Arizona's "other" senator "makes Dubya look like a liberal." George W. Bush really is a liberal.
Mike Willsey, Phoenix
Extreme measures: You barely touched on Jon Kyl's patriotic measures against illegal immigration in your piece "Stealth Zealot." He is truly one of the few members in Congress who gets it. He understands that only the most extreme measures will work when it comes to keeping those damn Mexicans out of our country!
What New Times doesn't seem to get is that Jon Kyl is exactly the kind of senator the voters in Arizona want. He has some history here, having come to our state to go to college. John McCain is nothing but a carpetbagger and a pussy when it comes to how best to deal with illegal immigrants.
Run for the Border
Polar opposites: It seems to me like the issue of illegal immigration has become another left-versus-right standoff that often spawns from bipartisanship. That's a real shame, because this is a problem that cannot be solved from either extreme of the spectrum.