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Feedback from the issue of Thursday, August 21, 2008

DEAR JOHN

Cindy got off easy: This is an amazing article. The most striking part of it is the soft-glove slap on the wrist Cindy McCain got for illegally taking prescription drugs. If that were you or me or the lady down the street, we would have faced jail time ("Postmodern McCain," Amy Silverman, August 7).

I'm always disgusted when I see the scales of justice tip unevenly for the rich and connected versus the poor and alienated. I get even more disgusted when it starts being the accepted practice in the media.
S.K. Younkin, Portland, Maine

You wasted money on a preseason game?: I labored through the approximately 166 inches of "Postmodern McCain" and my overall reaction was, Why did you waste my time as I rode the bus to University of Phoenix Stadium to see the Cards' preseason game?

Really, my overall reaction was, "Damn, I could have been cutting my fingernails and practicing Spanish!"

Please! What readers appreciate (especially those who think for themselves) is journalistic insight on how and why McCain might be prepared (or not) for the presidency.

Indeed, your piece adequately demonstrates the difference between a journalist and writer. Amy Silverman should do New Times' readership a favor and resign from writing or editing, 'cause she can't do both.
Christopher A. Barreto, Phoenix

The sleazy bastard: Just wanted to say thank you for your fantastic article on McCain.

I've been in Arizona since '67 and have some vague memories of the sleazy bastard in earlier years. My husband is a Vietnam vet and has vivid memories of a group of vets throwing McCain out of the Vet Center in Phoenix when McCain showed up in the early '80s.

I wish there were some way to get your story out to the national newspapers.
Deirdre Morris, Surprise

It's called point-of-view journalism, Todd: Nice editorial. Why is it an editorial? Where are the footnotes that reference the "facts"? This doesn't even get into the large amount of bias and emotion in the article.

What ever happened to real journalism and real writing — where people remove their personal bias, write factually, and let readers judge?
Todd Rogers, Houston Texas

Fatherly love: I loved, loved, loved your piece on McCain. I picked it up at the gym and couldn't put it down until I'd read the whole thing. I also forwarded it to a priest friend who always sends me negative press on Barack Obama. I was a Republican for 30 years until this year when I switched to vote for Obama.
Father John Shetler, Phoenix

The story wasn't about his positives: What a venomous, hate-filled piece! Clearly, the writings of a disgruntled person whose tush wasn't kissed properly by McCain.

Yikes! McCain got political with a Democrat? Ouch! Certainly, no Democrats play politics, right? When is the writer going to pen a knockdown piece on Obama? Certainly, he's got vulnerabilities as well. Couldn't mention any of McCain's positives, which illustrates that it was simply a "bash McCain" piece.

Get a life! Go kiss up to the inexperienced B.S. artist known as Obama!
Dave Morgan, Orlando, Florida

Glad we could help: Just finished your piece on John McCain. Great work. You are what is lacking in the media coverage of McCain. Reading your article made my day.
Richard Lasater, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

A former insider calls McCain another W.: I came to ASU to join the political science faculty in the fall of 1960. At that time, I had five colleagues, and my assignment was to teach state and local government and public administration. I finally retired in 1989.

I first developed an avid interest in politics in 1928, at the time of Hoover's election, and I have continued that interest ever since, having written a dissertation on political protest in the 1930s, and having run (unsuccessfully) for office twice while still living in Tempe.

Over the years, I co-authored three books on Arizona government and many articles. I was, for 22 years, paid to tell ABC who was going to win major elections in Arizona.

In 1982, when John McCain first ran for Congress, a Republican colleague asked me if I would explain state and local government to John. I agreed to tutor him for four reasons: a colleague had asked, the district in which he was to run was solidly Republican, I knew John's GOP opponents and held them in low esteem, and I did extend to John some sympathy for the years he had spent as a POW.

I met with John on two occasions for a total of four to six hours. Naturally, he was cordial and, on both meetings, we had a pleasant interaction. I did conclude at the time that he was bitter about the fact that U.S. "politicians" had lost a war that could have been "won" — making his sacrifice unworthy of the time he had spent in the Hanoi Hilton.

Since that time, I have followed his career with close interest and have concluded that he is, in many ways, a replica of George W. Bush. Neither he nor Bush was very good in college. Both were playboys as young men, and both have outwardly, at least, used religion to establish political bona fides.

By the way, my colleague, the conservative Republican, will vote for John, but he hates him for not being conservative enough.
Bruce B. Mason, Scottsdale

A nod to institutional knowledge: Great article. And a great example of the power and importance of institutional knowledge in journalism.
Joseph Mitchell, via the Internet

The new Eddie Haskell?: This explains his hostility toward the media. He's never liked the media from day one. In fact, it shows he's very thin-skinned.

The comparison to Eddie Haskell by Bob Neuman is right on the money. You can see it in the way he campaigns. He tries to curry favor by talking to voters on issues that he has no clue about at a level he thinks they will respect, regardless if there is any merit.
Moad Dib, via the Internet

Listen up, ladies: Any woman who votes for John McCain is a fool. McCain must have known of Cindy's drug problems. When someone around you is taking 20 to 30 Percocets a day, you notice.

And he did nothing to help his own wife.

Until (oh, dear) suddenly, the monkey on Cindy's back looked as if it might be a personal embarrassment for him. Then it's time for string-pulling, rehab, and spin-doctoring. Only then.

And that's not even mentioning his recent offer of Cindy's participation in a notorious Sturgis motorcycle rally contest that frequently descends to toplessness, nudity, banana-fellating, and orgasm-faking.

What a sweet guy.

Here's a question for any woman who's considering voting for McCain in November: Would you want your daughter to marry a man like that?

No? Then why would you want your daughter to have a president like that?
Name withheld

Maverick, schmaverick: What a terrific piece of writing and journalism. You're bucking the well-crafted maverick myth, and that cannot make you a popular person with the GOP. This is a must-read for anyone who thinks all presidential candidates are alike.

For those who choose to support McCain, they owe it to themselves to separate out the myth and understand who they're actually supporting. That is, don't buy into the straight-talking fairy tale. This article is a great start to that process.
Name withheld

His finger on the button? Scary: I commend your courage for portraying McCain in ways that others are unfortunately loath to go. Your exposé should be read by every voter who intends to vote for McCain. It is well-sourced and honest. The anecdotes are gems.

The more I learn about McCain the less I like him. There is no doubt about it: He does get glowing press, for the most part. The fact that the press protects him is deeply troubling. We are electing the president, not our BFF.

The media were in the tank for Bush and now McCain. After just shy of eight years with Bush, considering the damage done, the state of our nation, the economy, and the loss of credibility around the world, it's shocking (but not surprising) that the press would keep voters in the dark again.

McCain has a problem with the truth. Not only is McCain inconsistent, he lacks an understanding of how people live and struggle in their day-to-day lives. On every issue important to voters, from Social Security, Medicare, the environment, and foreign policy to energy, education, civil rights, and the economy, he is out of touch.

Yet McCain has no compunction about making statements that sound as though he is in the people's camp. His voting record proves that he isn't.

Nor has he demonstrated the qualities and skills required of a leader. Notably, to think there is a chance his finger would be on the trigger, with his infamous temper, sends shivers up and down my spine. I have neither confidence nor trust in McCain's judgment.

I'm relieved that McCain trails Obama. He'd probably be losing by a lot more if the media would peel off the layers of the onion. Nonetheless, McCain is a force to be reckoned with. We must not take that for granted.
Name withheld


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