Readers ponder the "dark side" of Ralph Nader, and the legacy of Bill Clinton. Plus: Are right-wing lunatics irrelevant -- or running the GOP?

Published July 2, 2004 8:13PM (EDT)

[Read "The Dark Side of Ralph Nader," by Lisa Chamberlain.]

Let's assume that most of your readers agree that Nader shouldn't siphon votes from Kerry by running. Let's also assume that most of your readers agree that four more years of Bush would be a terrible thing. But "The Dark Side of Nader"? The man is not Darth Vader! This article was just slimy, mudslinging propaganda, and it did more to damage my opinion of the journalistic standards of Salon than it did to change my opinion of Nader.

I subscribe to Salon because I want to read thoughtful, well-written, well-researched stories. Lately, I feel increasingly as though Salon is becoming part of a new left-wing echo chamber, its hollow propaganda rivaling anything the right has to offer.

-- Lindsay Smith

It is sad, if not so infuriating, to see a man whose determination helped create a cleaner, safer environment sacrifice his accomplishments on the altar of his own Shakespearean ego.

It is a further horror to realize that Republicans are eagerly taking advantage of his character flaws and his followers' naiveté in their pursuit of reelecting Bush. How Ralph can rationalize what he's doing "for the good of the nation" boggles the mind.

-- Dinah Howey-Mouat

[Read " The Salon Interview: Bill Clinton," by Joe Conason.]

It was a pleasure to read an interview with Bill Clinton that didn't deal with sex. I have watched with dismay as the press -- from Dan Rather to the normally more "journalistic" BBC -- has treated Bill Clinton's memoir as if its entire 900 pages were devoted to sexual scandal.

Current events make it heartbreakingly clear that the presidency has enormous consequence, that true presidential deception is a weighty and life-threatening matter, and that foreign policy affects every American in an immediate and personal way. To watch our former president -- who for all his very real faults (sexual and otherwise) bequeathed us a functioning economy, a government surplus and a wealth of friendships among allies around the world -- quizzed for an hour about how he sat on the bed to confess to his wife, is galling.

-- Jennifer Overbeck

The advance slamming of Clinton's book makes it clear that the hatred of Clinton wasn't just a phenomenon of the radical right.

The majority of reviews I've seen are cued to the Michiko Kakutani review in the New York Times, which drips with bile. That Kakutani is one of the culprits isn't surprising; she has consistently assigned book reviews about Clinton to the same people who brought us 24/7 sex advice from Ann Coulter and Chris Matthews. Nowhere to be found was the adoring, left-wing media that Clinton apparently enjoyed.

In such reviews nothing is covered except the dirty parts. Obviously, all of the reviewers have paged forward to the steamy bits. Such is the state of the "free press" today: cheerleaders for a war of choice, and little old ladies with umbrellas.

-- Jim Hassinger

[Read this week's edition of "Right Hook," by Mark Follman.]

When I read Ann Coulter's comments regarding Michael Moore and Bill Clinton I laughed out loud. It must be scary to go through life trying to prove you're never wrong about anything.

I love Michael Moore for giving the right wing a dose of its own medicine (only this time with facts wrapped up in emotional manipulation rather than lies wrapped up in emotional manipulation). Like all bullies, the right can't take it when someone dishes it back to them.

--Kathy Weber

I'd like to preface this letter by saying that I've been a devoted reader of Salon for about six years. Every day, I look first to Salon for reliable news coverage and intelligent and well-researched articles and editorials. But I've noticed that over the past couple of years, the opinions of moderate/paleo-conservatives have been left out in favor of ridiculing neocons' views and people like Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly. I consider myself a staunch liberal, but it seems too easy to make fun of Coulter, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, etc. Does anyone really take them seriously? Maybe their theatrics appeal to the masses, but Salon is preaching to the choir when you publish their right-wing rants to show how crazy they can sound.

I don't agree with many of conservatives' views, but it would be enlightening to read thoughtful articles about what they have to say. (What happened to David Horowitz?) I would still feel very much a liberal, but I'd feel better knowing my views were a result of a real understanding of all sides.

-- Kathy Langone

Well, here we go again -- to no one's surprise, the usual gang of right-wing idiots has raised the usual ruckus about Bill Clinton, and without even reading his book, at that.

My favorite quote in this latest feverish roundup of one-liners has to be Ann Coulter's "I don't know why liberals won't move on."

After eight Clinton years of peace and prosperity, Ms. Coulter declares that we have nothing to learn from the man's administration?

The right wing's man in the White House has made a hash of things, yet Coulter refuses to look back to a more successful presidency. Why am I not surprised?

-- David Zasloff

Salon's "Right Hook," which purports to be a summary of the "conservative" wing of the Republican Party, provides yet another example of the abject state of the GOP.

While William F. Buckley retires after taking a parting shot at the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, the mob of Coulter, Scarborough, Savage and Brooks continue their rabid sophistry. Any informed conservative easily concludes that they are the clearest manifestation of a GOP suffering terminal identity crisis. A once proudly intellectual political party has been reduced to addled babbling, such as David Brooks' recent love letter to his treasured American "exurbs."

These people are anything but "conservative" -- they are radical circus performers of the truest stripe, hell-bent on transforming this Republic into a breeding ground for Caudillos as long as it gets them airplay. Another few years of their dissembling and vicious dyspepsia and this Republic shall be finished. Ann Coulter and Michael Savage should get married, have a child and invite Scarborough and Brooks over to babysit and then perhaps the wolverine they would surely sire could eat them all before kicking the bucket from toxic shock syndrome.

If someone finds my old party, let me know, I really miss it.

-- Dirk Sabin

[Read "Resisting Arrest," by Gary Kamiya.]

I'm Canadian, so Fred Korematsu's legal battle against the Japanese internment was new to me. Thanks for connecting the dots between the travesties of yesterday and the travesties of today.

In Canada, yesterday, we narrowly avoided electing a party that appears willing to overturn human rights advances in our own country, such as the right of all of us to marry the person of our choosing, regardless of their gender. It reminds us that we can't take the recognition of basic human rights for granted, in any country, ever.

-- Meredith Low

By Salon Staff

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