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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Voters' views: Gary Webb
In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the Democratic Convention, and John Kerry's speech.

Linda Alston
Linda Alston:
Madison, Wisconsin

Shankar Iyer
Shankar Iyer:
Fairfax, Virginia

Laura Stietz
Laura Stietz:
Sidney, New York
Chase Erwin
Chase Erwin:
Austin, Texas

Neil Sherman
Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn.

Gary Webb
Gary Webb:
Sacramento, C'fornia

Gary Webb

Gary Webb
Name: Gary Webb
Age: 48
Lives: Sacramento, California
Works: Writer
Current voting intention: Non-voter
In 10 words or less:
"Author and responsible anarchist"

I was less impressed with Kerry's comments on foreign policy and national security than with his statements about domestic affairs.

I don't think I was the only one, judging from the reaction of the convention crowd.

His focus on his military background was overblown and didn't impress me.

The fact that someone served in the armed forces, even with distinction, doesn't mean they'll make a good president, or even a mediocre one.

Besides, every candidate I can remember has promised to keep America strong and safe.

It's like saying the sky is blue.

Our panel: Where they live

But not every candidate says they'll end tax breaks for corporations shipping jobs overseas, or lower health insurance premiums, or finally make the rich pay their share of the tax burden.

Kerry promised that he would and I was very surprised to hear it, since that kind of talk invariably invites charges of "class warfare" from Republicans and the corporate class.

That took courage and is certainly something I don't expect to hear the Republicans espousing.

If he stays with those themes and doesn't backtrack or mess around, I'll vote for him and I suspect that many who voted for Ralph Nader in the last election will do the same.

Your comments:

Kerry has not accomplished anything significant in 10 years as a senator. If he were lucky enough to become president, do you really think the Democratic Party would let him run the show? Not by a long shot. The Clintons and Kennedys would be in the driving seat. And that alone is a scary situation. It's easy for Kerry to be an armchair quarterback with all the solutions to all the problems when he's not the one in the hot seat making critical decisions that he has to stand by come hell or high water. I personally believe as president he would be flip-flopping around like a fish out of water.
Roger Herbert, Virginia Beach, USA

Not only was Kerry's military service on parade, but the Democratic convention was frighteningly hawkish. As some have noted, this is the Dems' way of out Republican-ing the Republicans. Joy! Our two-halves of one party system is again underwhelming America's voters with choices. The Democrats chanted at their convention: "America Can Do Better." I sincerely hope so.
William Buller, Dexter, Michigan, USA

The bottom line is that we are being forced to choose between a rich Democrat and a rich Republican
Curt Walker, San Diego, California, USA
I would have to agree that those who espouse to be great military men rarely make great statesmen. I personally was impressed with the statement from President Clinton that wisdom and strength are not opposing values. The bottom line is that we are unfortunately being placed into a situation where we're being forced to choose between a rich Democrat and a rich Republican - neither one having understood the real problems working families must endure. None of them have truly ever had to worry for their family's welfare. It's most unfortunate that we are always being given those polar opposites, but they are truly not opposed in their class status.
Curt Walker, San Diego, California, USA

How can you say the focus on his military background was overblown? The president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and therefore military credentials are of fundamental importance. The painful experiences in Vietnam that Kerry endured demonstrate to us that he will not take us to war just because he thinks there are weapons of mass destruction, because he knows the full impact of war, unlike our current president Mr Bush. Military credentials can therefore never be overblown, experience in warfare is a key advantage that Kerry has, and should be exploited in any and all ways possible. After all, the two main issues are national security and the war on terror, which place military credentials first in importance.
Prashanth Parameswaran, Malaysia

Gary, if Kerry saying that he would decrease the tax burden sways you, then I suggest you look at his voting record regarding decreasing taxes. He has almost a 100% voting record for raising taxes and has continuously voted against lowering them. Please go to one of the government web sites and you can see this information first hand. Don't take my word for it. I truly hope you will vote for President Bush.
Wanda, Indianapolis, USA

Kerry's emphasis on his military background was, I believe, designed to counteract the impression given by the conservative media in the US that only Bush is strong enough to handle the defence of our country and our interests. Kerry's intention was to let the country know that he has the experience and background to lead in the time of war if he "has to" not if he "wants to". The Bush campaign has tried to position him as an extreme "liberal" (as though that were a dirty word) and his success at the convention was to position himself as a centrist, appealing to swing voters. We need somebody who will build bridges, not only to the rest of the world, but also within a US that has become polarised by the divisiveness of the current administration. I, for one, will be voting for John Kerry because he is the right man for the job.
Janet V Napier, Santa Barbara, California


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