I must commend James Bush for his excellent job on the cover story about electronic democracy ("Click Here for Revenge," 1/21). It's interesting to see that, while impeachment-crazed Republicans are trying to steal decisionmaking power away from the American public, the Internet is busy giving us back an even larger and louder voice in the political process. It just goes to show that democratically minded folk will always find a way to be heard—even if by unconventional means.
If Republicans ignore the anti-impeachment majority bestirred by Internet-savvy political advocates, I believe they do so at their own peril. The GOP has already become little more than the anti-Clinton party. Its members have put forth almost no new initiatives, choosing to dust off that creaky old call for "tax relief" (which is always most beneficial to the wealthy), while at the same time the president lays out detailed and innovative plans for building on the country's strong economy, saving Social Security, improving educational opportunities, and ensuring both greater safety on our streets and enhanced security against terrorists.
Given all of this, is it really any wonder why voter support for Republicans is at a historic low? Or why so many people have pledged, through Move On, to give money to anti-impeachment candidates in 2000? I've already pledged to that cause myself, and I shall surely contribute even more just to end the reign of Republicans who are foolhardy enough to believe that Americans want partisanship rather than progress.
GOP's doing its duty
How dare you criticize the Republican Party for creating or perpetuating this impeachment "mess" and inviting readers to "get even" in the next election ("Click Here for Revenge," 1/21).
Was it a Republican who used his executive privilege and power to defile a White House intern? Was it a Republican who looked straight at the camera and said to the American people, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky"? Was it a Republican who lied to the Grand Jury? The Republican members of Congress are attempting to fulfill their responsibility by fostering due process in the judicial proceeding of impeachment. If the Republicans in the Senate had voted with the Democrats for a quick dismissal, you would have lambasted them for shirking their constitutionally assigned responsibility for the sake of political expediency. Your editorial bias (look at your own endorsements in last November's election) for Democrats and against Republicans has rendered your newspaper impotent in persuasion due to predictability. You ignore the facts in order to grind your own political axe—something you've been accusing Republicans of for far too long.
Out of mind, out of site
In his story "Click Here for Revenge," (1/21) James Bush conveniently left out two of the most popular sites on the Web, probably because the Web sites don't match his political viewpoint. DrudgeReport.com gets more than a million hits a month, and FreeRepublic.com gets almost that many, but since they are sites "dominated by white conservative men" (where does Bush get his "facts"?), the author obviously chose to ignore them.
Rebirth, not revenge
James Bush's fine article "Click Here for Revenge!" (1/21) in good Seattle fashion covers the cyber-aspects of the DC mess, but misses the most important aspect of that mess. It's not DC politics as usual against an outraged citizenry. Two other things are happening.
First, if it were business as usual, Democrat and Republican roles would be reversed. The Dems would want to be rid of their albatross; the Reps would want him around for 2000. So what's driving them? Lots of stuff, but not self-serving calculation.
Second, everybody's words have gone dead. Except among true believers on both sides, who spend most of their time talking to themselves and past each other, we lack a resonant political and moral vocabulary. Public indifference reflects exhaustion as well as cynicism.
So maybe it's not time for revenge. Maybe it's time for new politics and some new words.
Clinton's real crime
I want to congratulate you on Geov Parrish's Impolitics article "The Dead of Iraq" (1/14). I think that you and your paper are on the cutting edge of courageous journalism. History will reveal that President Clinton's real crimes were against the people of Iraq. I also want to thank you for publicizing the plight of the people trying to send medical supplies and toys to the Iraqi people. Keep up the good work.
Dollars for Saddam
Geov Parrish makes the same mistake most people do who blame the US for Iraq's problems—he ignores reality (Impolitics, "The Dead of Iraq," 1/14). During the sanctions, Iraq has been allowed to sell limited amounts of oil for humanitarian reasons. Money has still been allowed to enter Iraq. But the money has been used to rebuild Saddam's palaces, the military, and his and his brother's private wealth, not to help the Iraqi people.
It has been documented how Saddam rebuilt his palaces, and even built new ones, rather than rebuild health care and other infrastructure. It has also been documented how much his brother and he have lined their pockets through graft and bribes.
If I'd seen Iraq's government making real humanitarian use of the money it gets, I'd agree with Geov. Unfortunately, it's obvious that the present Iraqi leadership sees its own people as pawns only slightly more important than the Kurds it gassed.
Roger Downey's article on the UW's accelerating brain drain ("Show Me the Money," 1/14) made a convincing case that the university's quality is entering a tailspin that will take decades to reverse, if it can be reversed at all. But the article fails to identify underlying causes. Why are the UW and other Washington public universities starved for cash at the end of an historic economic expansion? The state should be rolling in surpluses that could be invested in higher ed and other essential public enterprises. While state funding has been inadequate for decades given the overdependence on the sales tax, the central blame can be laid in the lap of our hog-riding, tax-cutting failed senatorial candidate Linda Smith, whose Initiative 601 prevents the state from making the investments otherwise possible in an incredibly wealthy economy.
Until the local establishment, ranging from enlightened business elites to the liberal intelligentsia, finds the guts to challenge 601 (which after all barely passed even after an ineffectual opposition campaign), universities, as well as all other public services, will continue to sink into the muck of mediocrity.
Roger Downey's excellent description of the University of Washington's problems leads me to cite some additional information ("Show Me the Money," 1/14). Superstar Professor Richard White's departure from the history department appears to have resulted in a 40 percent decline in graduate applications, and a decline double that in White's field. This will translate into weaker students, which directly affects undergraduate teaching. It also means that other faculty will be more tempted to leave UW for schools with better graduate students. It is amazing but true that the departure of just one superstar can have this effect.
'80s it ain't
I thought Kathryn Robinson's review of the Iron Gate Cafe (1/14) was mean-spirited and missed the mark on the appeal of this bistro, which I frequent. Ms. Robinson does well to notice the quietly sophisticated decor, but does not realize that the food is the same. She remarks that the menu is '80s, hopelessly outr頡nd "not very Northwest." I remember popular '80s food as either highly adorned and minutely portioned nouvelle cuisine or Northern Italian cuisine based on olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. Neither of which describes Marsha Artig's hearty and tasty comfort cuisine combining edgier elements to some of Grandma's favorite recipes. This restaurant is a jewel box of style and comfort, with a striking and articulate waitstaff and is very reasonably priced to boot. As far as not being "Northwest," I hope there's room for variety on all of our palates.
We welcome succinct letters commenting on articles in Seattle Weekly. Letters may be edited for length. Include name and daytime phone number for verification. Write to Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.