Fatal attack

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 November, 1994, 12:00am

SIMON Beck and your headline writer erred by applying the term, 'lame-duck president' to Bill Clinton (South China Morning Post, November 12). President Clinton is nothing of the sort. Granted, he is beset by problems that would have made Hercules buckle and he appears to be travelling under a curse, but the 'lame duck' is another kind of animal.

'Lame duck' refers to an office holder who has been defeated in an election and then must serve out the remainder of his term, usually a matter of months, without any real power to be effective. George Bush was one, and so was Jimmy Carter, but Mr Clinton still has two years to go before he is up for re-election.

There is still plenty of time for the comeback of an unpopular president - the textbook example was Harry Truman, who went to the people and gave the overconfident Thomas Dewey and the rest of the Republicans 'hell'.

ERNEST WITTENBERG Virginia, United States