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LET Political monopoly eroded

The national political conventions are an anachronism. A holdover from the days of cigar-filled backroom deals and poor communication over grainy black-and-white TV sets. In the era of the 24-hour news channel, the Web log, the cell phone and e-mail, they serve only to inflame the faithful and to attempt to monopolize the national spotlight for a few precious sound bites.

The convention in Boston dismayed me in other ways as well. The Democrats speak of "taking back our democracy." It is not theirs, it belongs to the people of this country. I see little concern with the security of our nation and an incredulous amazement that they have lost power. With the exceptions of the judicial branch and the Clinton Interregnum, the Democratic Party has watched as its modern monopoly of American politics has slowly eroded, and they still don't understand that this coincides with their steady slide to the liberal left.

I grew up a Southern Democrat and echo both Ronald Reagan and Zell Miller, "They left me, I didn't leave them." I pray that this nation continues its focus on our security against terrorism and its realization that personal responsibility, minimalist government and the rights of the individual are what made this country a beacon of liberty for the world and will keep us strong in the future.

Ricky; P. Clay

Rochester

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; Principles front and center

Conventions are not just about delegates wearing funny hats and cheering their candidates in front of a world-wide audience. Conventions are an opportunity for undecided voters to see would-be presidents speak to their base about the issues that matter to them. As an independent thinker, I am interested in both conventions as I look for common ground between the parties to help guide my vote.

For example, John Kerry says the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle. I think both parties would agree on that, and I believe it, as well. However, when it comes to the issue of barbaric partial birth abortion, John Kerry is not willing to apply his personal principles (He claims to believe life begins at conception).

So, John Kerry has disqualified himself as a candidate by his own litmus test set forth at the Democratic National Convention. He has helped me make-up my mind on how to vote this coming November.

Chris; Miksanek

Rochester

; Truth meter needed

I remember watching conventions when I was a kid and waiting to see who would win. However today, with the outcome has long been decided, the conventions are still good because they allow voters to see unfiltered messages that are longer than sound bites. This should help us to understand what the candidates are thinking.

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Having watched Kerry's speech, I would like to have a few things added to the coverage: A truth meter running across the bottom of the screen, letting us know that the candidate voiced the opposite view last month. Information on the candidate's voting record on each issue as they talk about them, including amendments they offered against what they are saying they now support. A reference to who said that neat phrase first.

Duane; Quam Jr.

Byron

; Political conventions irrelevant

The recent Democratic convention shows why political conventions are becoming irrelevant. The painful attempts to portray party unity, the unabashed lying about the economy, the total avoidance of John Kerry's senate record and the failed attempt to distance him from his past show that these are no longer useful forums of discussion and debate.

Rather, it was a failed attempt at propaganda because he got no bounce.

Joe; Rysavy

Rochester;

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