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Weighing In On The Next Four Years

Your characterization of George W. Bush's victory as a "clear mandate" and a "convincing victory" smacks of revisionist history ("The next four years," Special Report, Nov. 15). With a 3% margin of victory and 130,000 popular votes in one state making the difference, his win is anything but clear or convincing. Our country is still very divided, and Bush must acknowledge that almost half the country voted to send him back to Texas. If he wants to focus on his legacy for the history books, he needs to set an agenda that reflects the common goals of a majority of Americans.

I rely on BusinessWeek for unbiased business reporting, not to push a biased agenda not reflected in the facts.

Michael Ferrante

Cranbury, N.J.

Your story provides an interesting insight into President George W. Bush's major challenges related to solving numerous must-get-it-fixed policy-issue bloopers, mostly self-inflicted. It seems to me that Europeans think global warming, along with Iraq and Palestine, is of prime importance for the President's list of foreign policy "to-dos." This issue was omitted from your story. The Administration's denial about the causes and likely effects of global warming alienates millions of people around the world, in particular the part played by the release of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. Many of us have already begun to wish the next four years away as quickly as possible and hope for a more enlightened individual, not in hock to Big Oil, to occupy the Oval Office in 2009.

Andy Stafford

Manton, England

Frankly, all the advice and cheerleading you offered Senator Kerry during the campaign did not do a bit of good ("A second-term agenda for President Bush -- and America," Editorials, Nov. 15). Maybe you guys should quit dispensing uninformed political advice and stick with your core competency: reporting business news. In case you missed it, the electorate just said "no" to media elitism and voted for action -- not navel-gazing critics.

Randall D. Lofland

Midlothian, Va.

Heaven help those of us in the middle!

Gregory Rice

Williamston, Mich.

America's record-high federal deficits are funded for the most part by foreign governments and investors. The day of reckoning is not far off, when these same foreigners demand much higher interest rates as their currency losses continue to mount in the face of a collapsing dollar, which continues to hit new lows against the euro. Just as in 1989, foreigners will control the destiny of America and will insist that taxes be raised and federal expenditures be slashed to bring America's fiscal house in order. When that happens, you can say goodbye to federal pork-barrel spending and the phony prosperity in the red states. The collapse will be along the lines of what befell California in 1991-95, when the Cold War ended and defense budgets were slashed. After the creditors were unwilling to lend more money, the state of California was reduced to issuing IOUs.

Geoffrey Lenart

Ventura, Calif.

Old-school liberalism has by and large ignored the political center and adopted a more and more radical line, a line pushing everything to an extreme of shrill rhetoric that in a way limits debate and freedom of speech ("The world has changed: Why can't the Dems?" Special Report, Nov. 15). Blue-collar workers do not identify with this radical shift in core values represented in Senator John Kerry. Good job on the commentary.

I find it interesting that the European Union is more in line with the old-school liberalism than the American voter ("And Europe thinks the U.S. is a mess?" International Business, Nov. 15). One might think Senator Kerry was running for President of the European Union.

Steven Woods

Pascoag, R.I.

"The world has changed: Why can't the Dems?" is slightly off-point. Kerry was my idea of a dream candidate: Presidential, principled, thoughtful. What went wrong was that the Dems took their eye off the ball decades ago: They haven't taken the right wing seriously. Meanwhile the right wing has built up a tremendous organization of the faithful, politically and literally. This is why there aren't enough Democrats to carry an election.

Carol Georgopoulos


I am concerned that the recent election -- including the barrage of 30-second TV ads and one-liners -- reduced truly important issues to overly simplistic slogans ("A time for realism and reaching out," Special Report, Nov. 15). I retain the sincere belief and hope that America's true values and ideals can resurface and that we can deal in a constructive, effective way with real issues. Doing so will take serious leadership, rather than the tenor of arrogance and talk of "mandate" and "political capital" that characterized the first few days after the election.

Dennis J. Crane

Covington, Ky.

William C. Symonds' "Should public universities behave like private colleges?" (Social Issues, Nov. 15) misses the point when he says public universities are "ducking a key social role" regarding access to higher education. It is no secret that there has been a widening economic gap between rich and poor students who attend college. Through AccessUVA, the University of Virginia is committing $16.44 million of institutional funds each year for need-based grants for undergraduates. For our most needy students, there are loan-free packages. For the less needy, there is a cap on need-based loans at one-quarter the cost of four years of education. And for all students, there are packages that meet 100% of their need. Also, AccessUVA caps eligible out-of-state students' need-based loans at an in-state level and provides grants for the remainder.

Carol Wood

University Relations

University of Virginia


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