From the Mailbag: Critiques From the Spectrum

Terry M. Neal Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 21, 2002; 5:53 PM

August is typically the slow month in Washington. So instead of writing about politics, we turn our attention to en-tertainment.

And what could be more entertaining than letters from readers!

In the nearly two months I've been writing this column, I have discovered a few things, with the help of the readers.

* I have a great job.

* Content and smart discourse are alive and well on the Internet.

* Some people are very emotional and curse a lot.

No two columns have generated as much chatter as the pieces on President Bush's August vacation and Janet Reno's gubernatorial campaign in Florida.

While the majority of the e-mail that poured in was complimentary, a good number of readers sent critical notes that underscore what a divided, partisan, ideologically divided nation we are. To those who didn't like the Bush column, I was a liberal baddie operating as the mouthpiece of the Democratic National Committee. To those who didn't like the Reno piece, I was a right-wing toadie of the Bush administration who gets his direction from the Republican National Committee.

Apparently to some people, any perceived criticism of a politician they like is proof that the criticizer belongs to ei-ther the vast left-wing conspiracy or the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Just how did Talking Points manage to perturb the liberals and the conservatives within a few short days?

For purposes of juxtaposition and sheer joy, we alternate letters between those who didn't like the Bush column and those who didn't like the Reno column. Some of the letters have been shortened, but are otherwise unedited (with the exception of deleted curses).

On the Reno column, a reader who identifies himself only as a "Diehard Democrat," writes:

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