Vote for Klein
I found Ezra Klein's article ["Strategic Two-Fers," December 2006] to be an excellent, logical, and well-written article. However, under the paragraph heading "Voting Reform," one now proven reform was completely overlooked. I refer to the Oregon "all-vote-by-mail system." This is a cheaper system, it results in greater voter participation, it is devoid of fraud and abuse, it gives the voter more time to consult resources on each issue before making his/her ballot, and recounts are easily undertaken in contested cases. Electronic voting machines with no paper trail should be made illegal nationwide immediately. Improvements in our voting and voter registration procedures must be made before the next election in 2008!
Gerald V. Mann
Wes Hangs Tough
I read with great interest and appreciation Matthew Yglesias' article, "Smears for Fears," because I am both a supporter of Wes Clark for president, and a Jew who, like Yglesias, does not want the United States to bomb Iran. I agree with most of what he wrote.
[But] to say that Clark selected his words so as not to be branded an anti-Semite assumes that [Clark] really was talking about Jewish influence in American politics. I do not assume that "New York money people" must equate to Jews. In my neck of the woods, "New York money people" means rich New Yorkers. Many of them are Jewish, of course, but most are not. So I don't believe Clark's expression was odd or that his intent was to disguise his meaning.
I also strongly disagree that Clark "backed down" from anything he had said before. If you read Clark's exact words in his letter to [Anti-Defamation League National Director, Abraham] Foxman, he merely clarified that his words should not be construed to mean he supports conspiracy theories that Jews control U.S. foreign policy. Clark went on to assert that we cannot, and he will not, let those theories block the honest debate on how the United States should deal with Iran, which he claims is with dialogue first and a military option ONLY as an absolute last resort.
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (retired)
While "By the Slice," by Mathew Yglesias had many good points about how to compromise on national health care, his assumption is wrong. We do not need to compromise NOW. The time for compromise is a long way down the line.
Right now, the task is to push Congress to hold hearings on H.R. 676, the only single-payer national health-care bill in the House, the bill that has almost 50 co-sponsors already since it was reintroduced [January 24], [and] the only bill that will save the tax payers money, not add to the deficit. In fact, it is the only bill that can pass muster under the new pay/go rules.
Correction: Harold Meyerson's "The Populist Persuasion" [December 2006] referred to a study by the Citizens Trade Watch. The study was conducted by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
From the Executive Editor
We're missing a section in this issue, and it's by design. Our Dispatches section -- the shorter news stories that preceded our feature stories for the better part of the past decade -- is no more. More precisely, we're moving our more topical stories to our ever expanding Web site, www.prospect.org, which already was home to some of the most provocative, thoughtful, and irreverent debates, columns, and articles around, and is now going to be home to some of the most trenchant reporting on events of the day as well.
The move also enables us to expand the space we devote to our feature stories. In this issue, veteran East Asia hand James Mann documents why China's conversion to capitalism by no means guarantees its conversion to democracy. Noy Thrupkaew contributes a very different piece -- a snapshot of Saigon's ultra-hip artists colliding with Vietnam's ultra-square commissars -- that, like Mann's, concludes that liberalizing the economy doesn't necessarily liberalize much else. Ezra Klein profiles the existential depth and political possibilities of John Edwards' populism; historian Julian Zelizer recounts what exactly Congress once did to end the Vietnam War; and Prospect co-editor Bob Kuttner calculates just how big a safety net we'd need to ensure American workers against the ravages of globalization. (Hint: Real big.) Happy reading!
-- Harold Meyerson