Scottsdale, Ariz. I read "The UAW isn't buying Detroit's blues," twice, looking for some idea as to who was the bigger culprit in the impasse facing U.S. carmakers and the United Auto Workers (News: Analysis & Commentary, June 6). I couldn't make up my mind. My first reaction was that it had to be the unions. They had to know that the benefits they negotiated were unsustainable. But the companies also negotiated those benefits. How can they ask for concessions when they are still paying their executives ridiculous sums for no performance? I then went back to looking at the unions, which are willing to risk the livelihoods of their working members to protect the retirees. But any union leader who mentions touching retiree benefits is soon a former union leader. So I turned right back to the companies that are considering waiting it out while these retirees die off. That isn't going to work, either.
Finally I realized that I was trying to analyze two groups that knowingly teamed up to lose an entire generation of American car buyers by producing vehicles with no design, no performance, and no quality and have been doing so for decades. I was then able to move on to the next article, comfortable in my conclusion that these two groups deserve each other.
William F. O'Donnell
Carmel, Ind. The problems with the Democratic Party are not the ability to raise money or our values ("Howard Dean's raised voice isn't raising cash," Washington Outlook, June 6). The inability to run a professional campaign is the real issue. Until we see this issue being addressed, many of us are sitting on our donations. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe was great with the relatively small number of wealthy people in his Rolodex. But he and his staff treated the rest of us, who volunteered day in and day out and contributed comparatively small amounts, with outright scorn. This might have been tolerable had they competently run a national campaign. Every four years the DNC seems surprised by the notion that it has to run and win a Presidential election. It starts from scratch each time and gets embarrassed by the Republican National Committee. Dean is addressing this very problem.
John Kerry should have won. The DNC and Kerry's political advisers served him poorly. Kerry ultimately served his supporters poorly by forgetting who he was and who got him there. Following the Al Gore/Joe Lieberman disaster, we are not about to sign up again without the big changes Dean is trying to make. We believe in Dean, but we aren't so sure he will win this internal battle. Can he really overcome the inside-the-Beltway venality in the DNC? I have taken my checkbook out again as a vote of confidence. I did not support Dean for President, but he is the right man to save the DNC now.
ChicagoEditor's Note: The writer is former director of campaign services for Kerry/Edwards-Midwest.