Hillary Looking Shaky

To the Editor:

As a resident of Iowa, I can say that Steve Kornacki got it just about right [“What Happens If Hillary Whiffs in ’08?”, Aug. 28–Sep. 4]. Let me add a couple of points:

First, Governor Tom Vilsack may run in the Democratic caucus here. In years past—for example, when Senator Tom Harkin was running—out-of-state Democrats stayed away because the assumption was that the vote would go to the favorite-son candidate. And Mr. Vilsack is very popular here. However, it could be that this year all bets are off, because the Democrats are desperate for a win. Mr. Vilsack may get lost in the shuffle.

Secondly, the best way to win in Iowa is to personally visit all the small-to-medium-size towns, because that’s where the votes are. We’re not a big-city-dominated state. That’s how John Kerry won in ’04: He came to our town of about 9,000 people (Fairfield) and spoke to maybe 70 people in the public library. And that was one of his biggest crowds that day.

However, it takes a huge investment of time to do that. If the first four primaries are close together, it will be really hard for Hillary to spend as much time here as Mr. Kerry did. So she’s got quite a dilemma on her hands: take a chance on losing the very first primary or the next three?

Good article. I agree that Hillary is looking shakier every day. Who knows? Maybe Bill is right when he says that she hasn’t decided whether to run yet.

Andy Averill

Fairfield, Iowa

Not Open at Open

To the Editor:

I enjoyed John Koblin’s article on the female tennis players [“The Boring Women of the Open,” Aug. 28–Sept. 4]. But to suggest that Martina Hingis’ homophobia toward Amélie Mauresmo or her race-baiting comments toward Venus and Serena Williams make her “mischievous and charismatic” is nonsense. No, comments like those make her known for being what she is: racially insensitive and homophobic.

Kathleen Jill


Roger That!

To the Editor:

Just a note to say what an interesting article James Kaplan wrote about Roger Federer [“A Tennis Genius,” Aug. 28–Sept. 4]. Mr. Kaplan clearly pointed out that Mr. Federer is an unusual star and a gentleman at all times. I’m sure your readers will enjoy knowing more about this man who has been No. 1 for so many months. Nice going.

Bob Larson

Edina, Minn.

Best Accessory: A Mouse!

To the Editor:

Re Laren Stover’s “Mouse Beautiful: A Furry, Furtive Little Love Story,” [New Yorker’s Diary, Aug. 28–Sept. 4]: Love the mouse story! More! More! When I lived in Paris, there was this model, Marie Sophie (quite famous, very Margiela), who carried a pet white mouse in her pocket to the shows. I used to see it backstage when I covered them for W. Later, Malcolm McLaren had a line on his Paris album about girls “riding the metro stroking white mice in their pockets.” So, it was rat-ified (Get it? Ha, ha!) as an official French fashion statement then. The story is wonderful and quintessentially Stover.

Brian D. Leitch

Los Angeles

Sensitive on Syria

To the Editor:

Thank you for Katherine Zoepf’s thoughtful piece on Syria [“Dispatch From Damascus: ‘We’re Ready,’” July 24]. It certainly is a fascinating society.

I was wondering whether, in light of the points Ms. Zoepf raises in her article, she thought there’s a fair chance of government repression of the type we saw in the early 80’s, which followed a sharp rise in the prominence of the Islamic Brotherhood in some areas? I worry that if the government senses a similar trend beginning, the backlash might be similarly severe.

Chris Haufe

Durham, N.C. Letters