Readers respond to Eric Boehlert's "They Knew How to Win. Does John Kerry?"

Published September 2, 2004 10:15PM (EDT)

[Read " They Knew How to Win. Does John Kerry?" by Eric Boehlert.]

It was good to finally read an article on the dynamics of how the Swift boat ads have disrupted this election.

The mainstream press has become completely irresponsible -- Najaf was on fire for a whole month and they followed trash instead. Not to mention not mentioning that the economy is bordering on its second recession in four years.

But blaming everything on the media doesn't go far enough. The real issue is the competency of the electorate. To believe for one minute any part of those Swift boat ads is to define yourself as anti-intellectual. Not only were they obviously put together as an act of desperation by a president whose failures were mounting by the day, they were poorly done at best. Anyone who needed to read in the papers that those ads were lies should not be allowed to vote!

Consequently, seeing this situation as politics misses the point. This entire issue is dominated by whether or not this country is capable of civilized government. If and when Bush wins reelection, the answer to any question along those lines will have to be no.

-- Lloyd Little

This was John Kerry's race to lose, and he lost it. I cannot believe that the Kerry campaign and Democratic Party have completely folded in the face of the (highly anticipated) Bush smear attack.

The touchy-feely Kumbiya of a Democratic Convention was a huge mistake. The fight should have powerfully been thrown right in Bush's face, and they didn't do it. Now John Kerry is nothing more than Karl Rove's punching bag and a national joke.

As someone who truly feels this reckless administration is a grave danger to the country and the world I can't put into words my bitterness over the lackluster, weak campaign John Kerry has mounted in this most critical election.

-- Michael Smith

Both Eric Boehlert and the Kerry campaign consume themselves whining about press coverage and Swift boat veterans when they should be getting their message out.

Every minute spent defending Kerry's record 35 years ago is a minute that can't be used to promote Kerry's agenda or talk about Bush's record (i.e., issues that will actually shape a voter's decision).

Voters are ready to be persuaded, but that won't happen if the Kerry campaign focuses on counterpunching Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth rather than swinging at Bush and the future.

-- Randy Ricker

Since Kerry edged ahead in the Democratic primaries and came to the notice of the Republicans, I've been waiting for him to hit the high notes and fight fire with fire and give us a candidate who understands the game. Much has been made of the massive war chest Kerry has, so it's not as if he lacks the resources.

At first, I thought that he was waiting for the primaries to end before taking on Bush, Rove and Co. Then, I wanted to believe that he did not wish for anything to get in the way of his speech at the convention. Later, I was reduced to hoping that he was keeping his powder dry for a huge early-fall push, post-Republican Convention. Now, I'm coming around to the opinion that Bush, Rove and Co. have not really gone much beyond third gear and don't need to -- Kerry defends himself weakly and late and appears reticent to attack the other side. (By the way, where's John Edwards? I thought much of this was his job.)

More and more, Kerry resembles not JFK so much as another Massachusetts politician, Michael Dukakis, who allowed the other side to define him and never fought back, believing points would one day be awarded for control of the moral high ground. Sad to say (and it's not because the media are in Republican overdrive with the convention) I believe Bush will win easily in November and Kerry will be consigned to political scrap heap of "should-have-beens."

I will end by noting that since Kerry emerged from the primaries, I have been meaning to contribute to his campaign. Still, I have not contributed and now I know why -- instinctively, I find it hard to back a horse who leaves the starting gate gingerly, runs without purpose or plan and can't find its way to the winner's circle.

-- Conor Brennan

By Salon Staff

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