Defining the Clinton Doctrine
I am a proud, loyal Democrat who is opposed to the candidacy of Senator Hillary Clinton for President [Nov. 19]. I have no problem with her positions on the issues or her little sashay to the right in anticipation of the general election. And my opposition certainly does not rise to the level of hatred. But the voters (with a little help from the Supreme Court) have already passed the presidency from a Bush to a Clinton to another Bush. Now it could be passed back to another Clinton, and I'd bet that Jeb Bush is patiently awaiting his turn. I have nothing against Clinton except her name. Alternating the presidency between two political dynasties seems fundamentally undemocratic. There is a full slate of highly capable candidates with names other than Clinton who are vying for the Democratic nomination. I hope one of them wins.
Williamsburg, Va., U.S.
Joe Klein tended to exaggerate Clinton's strengths and downplay her weaknesses. He even went so far as to declare that her new health-care plan is courageous and detailed. I'll go along with detailed. Indeed, it might be the best of those proposed. But courageous? Why hasn't she submitted such legislation since she became a Senator six years ago? The answer, as anyone but her most blindly loyal supporters ought to see, is that there would have been no political advantage in doing so. Now is the ideal time to present it to voters as a key part of her platform. And Iowa, where the first votes will be cast, was the ideal place to unveil it. If that isn't slippery, cold and calculating, I don't know what is.
Gainesville, Fla., U.S.
Clinton's credentials are far superior to those of anyone else in the pack. I consider her the U.S.'s best female public figure since Eleanor Roosevelt. If she does not win her party's nomination, it will be a clear sign to the world that women's equality is another cause America preaches but does not practice.
David L. Enderle,
Freeburg, Ill., U.S.
Klein's tiny mention of Iraq in his take on Clinton may reflect the low priority she gives the war. She tragically misreads how the majority of Americans view the conflict. And while Clinton is tiptoeing around the issue, Barack Obama and John Edwards have a campaign opening as wide as the Grand Canyon if they're wise enough to use it.
M. Lewis Stein,
Irvine, Calif., U.S.
She can soften her makeup and clothing. She can change her hairstyle. But when her voice spews forth the same old leftist diatribe, you are left with the same Hillary Clinton. She wants to take from those of us who have worked our whole lives to better ourselves and give to those who don't want to be bothered with working. I can't think of a single circumstance that would allow me to vote for Clinton.
Hurst, Texas, U.S.
I'm still waiting for the answer to what she believes. I'd be inspired and excited to vote for the former First Lady if she would just answer a question instead of letting sheep like Klein explain her ambiguous responses. Everybody gets that she can be as politically savvy as any former President Democrat or Republican but by continuing to avoid taking and presenting a position, she'll eventually deal herself out of the big card game.
Sandwich, Mass., U.S.
Crazy Little Thing Called Hate
Rich Lowry's viewpoint, "The World of Hillary Hatred," was off the mark [Nov. 19]. What conservatives hate about Clinton is that she is a woman. It's nothing more than old-fashioned sexism. Equal rights have always been anathema to them, but since that stance is politically unacceptable today, conservatives can't admit the true reason for their opposition to her. The male-dominated right wing has created a bogeyman, or in this case a bogeywoman. And women on the right are just as afraid of a woman President as their male counterparts. They have always hated feminism and the Equal Rights Amendment.
Deltona, Fla., U.S.
The conservatives' great hatred of Clinton reveals their sociopathic character. Back in the 1930s and '40s, Franklin Roosevelt was a target of similar hatred by the so-called aristocratic class. But he survived it, as we all know.
New York City
Lowry wrote, "conservatives bristle at the sense of being told what to do, and they detect a tone of moral superiority in her advocacy of children's programs and health care." That's ironic since conservatives present themselves as the ones who hold the moral high ground, preaching family values and taking every opportunity to tell the masses how to live their lives. Perhaps Lowry should have said that when conservatives see Clinton, they see themselves and don't like it very much.
Libertyville, Ill., U.S.
President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of a state of emergency may have made Pakistan's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, turn over in his grave [Nov. 19]. Many people are demonstrating against Musharraf. It is time that all Pakistanis stand for a democratic Pakistan and work hand in hand to fight the evils that are keeping them apart.
Cajetan Peter D'Souza,
All dictators must come face to face with their fate: they last a few years, and then their power unravels. Musharraf is no exception. He would be foolish not to see that it's the beginning of the end. It would be better for him to go into exile now. Shame on dictators around the world, and shame on those who prop up these mean-spirited men with a supply of wealth and weapons.
The U.S.'s grudging acceptance of Pakistan's military rule is an embrace of the doctrine that expediency trumps conviction. Telling foreign governments what to do and what not to do is dangerous meddling in other states' affairs, fraught with many dangers and not enough rewards. Haven't we got enough on our plate with Iraq?
John M. Massey,
Katy, Texas, U.S.
'Tis Which Season?
Thanks to Nancy Gibbs for her thoughts on the rather confusing and sad overlapping of our holidays [Nov. 19]. To my dismay, I found myself shopping for a Halloween costume in mid-September for fear there would be none the week before the holiday. Lo and behold, the last week in October, I saw a shift from pumpkins and scarecrows to elves and ornaments not a costume in sight, and Thanksgiving had just been left in the dust. It's disheartening that holidays have become a retailer's trap for the consumer and that we've lost their real meaning altogether. I am trying desperately to separate the real from the retail for my 2-year-old son. I had to chuckle while reading the article because just a couple of days before, he and I walked into a store that was decorated for Christmas and he pointed excitedly and said, "Mama, look at the Halloween tree!"
Providence, R.I., U.S.
I applaud Gibbs for critiquing the ways in which we have lost the true meaning of holidays. Retailers are to blame for abusing the idea of commercialism. Hectic as our society may have become, we should be fully aware of what each of the holidays means. Let us make a new resolution prior to our New Year's resolutions, as Gibbs suggested: Let's not make premature preparations for the holidays.
Re "The Don Quixote of Darfur" [Nov. 12]: Luis Moreno-Ocampo helped prosecute the worst criminals in the history of my native Argentina, an unimaginable task that would have cost him his life only a few months before that. But your article's title seemed to imply that Moreno-Ocampo, now prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is engaged in acts of futility. Don Quixote fought imaginary enemies represented by windmills, while Moreno-Ocampo is fighting the world's worst real enemies: those who commit crimes against humanity. We should cherish the unparalleled moral clarity of Moreno-Ocampo, who provides stark contrast to other officials, like the recently appointed U.S. Attorney General, who refused to say whether waterboarding is torture.
Ricardo J. Galarza,
Guilderland, N.Y., U.S.
As an Argentine, I am very proud of Moreno-Ocampo. I want to congratulate him for getting so far in his career and working so hard to bring justice to Darfur. I recognized him right away when I saw his picture in this article, and I wish him very good luck.
War: What It's Been Good For
In the discussion with Meryl Streep, Robert Redford and TIME's Richard Corliss, Tom Cruise said, "Wars never solved anything" [Nov. 12]. Such a shockingly wrongheaded statement makes one wonder why anyone would want to hear his opinion on anything. There is one war that should be enough in itself to refute his statement: the American Revolutionary War. It took years of fighting and the deprivation of American troops to defeat King George III and his minions. Negotiations could not have persuaded the English government to give up its colonies. In addition, the efforts needed to win the war helped form the American character a character that Cruise often portrays in his successful movies.
Columbus, Ind., U.S.
Cruise is entitled to his personal opinions, but if he is going to express them publicly, he might care to do so with a bit more clarity. Was he implying that chattel slavery in his own country in the 1860s and the fascism that engulfed Europe in the 1930s were things not worth being "solved" with a war?