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2000 Election

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This past month of obsessing over chads and dimples has been a trial for the candidates, an endurance test for political commentators ("What's left to say? " they moan to each other in the hallways) and a vexation for many citizens. For us old mainframe-heads, though, it has been a feast of nostalgia. Punched cards!... Read More
I am glum. I am in the throes of angst, of Weltschmerz, of ennui, of accidie. Ay, in the very temple of Delight, veiled Malancholy hath her sovran shrine! My soul shall taste the sadness of her might, and be among her cloudy trophies hung … In short, gentle reader, I am suffering from post-electoral... Read More
One of the questions left hanging in the air during the great Florida vote-count fiasco was: When the Gore people asked for manual recounts in three of their counties, why didn't the Bush people do the same in three of theirs? Though I claim no inside knowledge, I am pretty sure I know the answer.... Read More
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs, there was a movie I wanted to see. This was in London, in my student days. The movie was new, and it was a super-duper hit immediately upon release. It was not going to be an easy movie to get into. It happened that... Read More
There are two components that together decide how a person votes: interest, and imagination. The smaller the scope of the office being voted for, the larger the component of interest, and vice versa. When voting for Superintendent of Highways, I want to know if my roads will be looked after, and very little else. As... Read More
Ancient Greek mythology explained the origins of the great Trojan War by claiming that the goddess of jealousy incited a quarrel among other goddesses over the question of which one was the most beautiful. Probably not even the Greeks themselves ever really believed this, but perhaps it makes more sense than most democratic political theory... Read More
It's been a week since Thanksgiving. Why is the turkey still strutting around? Yeah, yeah, I know: I'm gloating. It's unseemly. It's ill-mannered. It's, it's — what's the expression I am searching for? The mot juste? Oh, yes, of course: it's MEAN-SPIRITED. Well, the hell with all that, I say. We're conservatives: we're supposed to... Read More
It is now clear that America has had a very narrow escape. The victory of George W. Bush in this recent election can today, I think, be taken as final. The Democratic Party have yet to select from among themselves the orderlies who will be delegated to drag Al Gore struggling and howling from the... Read More
Nine days ago, when things were not looking good for George W. Bush — I mean, the third or fourth time things were not looking good for him — I was sitting round with a bunch of colleagues discussing what we thought the Bush campaign should do. I said I thought they should concede. I... Read More
It is time to ask whether a Republican president would actually benefit the Right. By the Right I mean those who view with anxiety or displeasure the growth of a highly centralized American welfare state, which, among its other tasks, has been used to reform social attitudes. Whether one dislikes this development for constitutional or... Read More
————————— The county-by-county map of the November 7th presidential vote has caused a stir. With the counties that went for Governor Bush shown in red, those that voted for Al Gore in blue, the map demonstrates what my colleague Jonah Goldberg called "a topographical landslide" for the Republican candidate. Once that map was flying around... Read More
Pondering The National Farce
Hoo-boy. For a long time now the columnists have been groaning about how voters got a motingator case of the apathy. At first I wasn't sure what had the papers in such an uproar. It would have cost me a quarter to find out, and I was only about fifteen cents interested. I was worried,... Read More
No sooner had America fluttered into the political twilight zone to which last Tuesday's election delivered it, that the sages who miscalled the Florida vote began to jabber about how we've just got to abolish the Electoral College. By the end of the week, the demand for transforming the country into one big happy land... Read More
I first went to mainland China in the early 1980s, when the country was just emerging from the horrors of the Maoist era, whose dominant theme had been "class struggle." At Lunar New Year, a Chinese friend took me to a restaurant in Peking. He had brought with him a bottle of Chinese liquor so... Read More
In the New York Post (November 9) John Podhoretz offers thoughtful observations about the dwindling American conservative presence as reflected in this year's elections. There is no reasonable way, notes Podhoretz, to read the election returns in the presidential race or in many of the congressional races except as a net plus for the liberal... Read More
In the time of Queen Elizabeth the First, 400 years ago, England was so heavily wooded that people used to say a squirrel could travel from one end of the kingdom to another without ever touching the ground. This wee morsel of folklore came to mind as I pondered the county-by-county map of last Tuesday... Read More
Well, I confess I have not got Doctor Johnson's fortitude of mind. I could not get to sleep Tuesday night. I needed to be up at six on Wednesday, for reasons having nothing to do with "publick affairs," and felt so depressed at "Hillary!" taking the New York Senate seat, and at Bush (as was... Read More
This world, Horace Walpole famously remarked to the Countess of Ossory, is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel. Something similar can be said of the Clinton Presidency. At one level, it has been nothing but a catalog of embarrassments — a comedy, perhaps, if things like the dignity and... Read More
A Gore victory in November would, of course, have many consequences for the nation and the world. It would also, however, have a larger historical meaning — in the sense that people looking back on it a hundred years hence might say: "Ah, that represented …" What? What larger trend would be embodied in a... Read More
Having considered Lew Rockwell's probing comments on the waning Buchanan campaign, it seems that one further point might be noted. In addition to all the other factors weighing against Buchanan's candidacy, he is now undergoing cooptation by another protectionist and pro-labor candidate, Ralph Nader. This observation seems self-evident even if William Safire also made it... Read More
Senator Joe Lieberman has now suggested that it is ungodly not to be an environmentalist. Delivering an environmental address at a park in Wisconsin last Wednesday, he said: "If you believe in God, I think it's hard not to be an environmentalist because, you see, the environment is the work of God." He went on... Read More
A tip of the hat to George W. Bush, who -- for all the press's preaching about the "sharp disagreements" that supposedly have emerged between him and Vice President Gore -- has managed to obfuscate whatever such differences exist and to advance, as his principal claim to being elected president, that he really doesn't disagree... Read More
Watching the first Bush-Gore debate, there was a point — there always is in these things — where I found myself sitting forward in my chair muttering to the face on the tube: "Say this! Why don't you say this?" The point came in George W. Bush's response to the question about RU-486, the so-called... Read More
Idly, in an e-mail to a friend following Tuesday night's Bush-Gore debate, I started a list of topics the candidates were not asked about and did not discuss. I was surprised at how long the list very quickly became. Here it is, with several topics gathered together under larger headings for clarity, and phrased as... Read More
After two full years of beating drums, blowing trumpets and waving torches in support of the inevitable presidential triumph of George W. Bush, it has suddenly begun to dawn on many in the American conservative community that Al Gore might very well be on the eve of kicking Bush's butt. What we can learn from... Read More
Are you beginning to get that sinking feeling? The feeling, I mean, that we — the good guys, the Republican party — are going to need a lot of luck to win this election? George W. is obviously a decent sort, and has been a capable governor of his state. Rick Lazio (I am a... Read More
Commenting on Fox News Network on Aug. 8 about the selection of Sen. Joseph Lieberman as Democratic vice-presidential candidate, self-described liberal activist Ellen Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Studies described the Connecticut lawmaker as "my very favorite rightist." The interviewer, Sean Hannity, smiled at this praise with obvious pleasure, for though an embattled Republican... Read More
I watched Hillary Clinton's appearance on The Tonight Show with low expectations. I have never been much impressed with the theory that Jay Leno is a trenchant critic of the Clinton administration. He has made fun of them, of course, but always in a good-natured and light-hearted way, as we make fun of our friends;... Read More
When I got the first mailing from Rick Lazio's campaign here in New York, I thought I had better pay attention to the man. I then went on thinking that for several days, without actually doing anything. I should read the papers with closer attention, I told myself; I should look up Lazio's voting record;... Read More
"This is a conservative man," George W. Bush says he said to himself as he reviewed the voting record of his prospective running mate, Richard Cheney. And so Cheney is. With a 90 percent rating from the American Conservative Union for his votes in Congress between 1979 and 1988, Cheney enjoys a title as a... Read More
Michael Oakeshott warned us against the anthropomorphizing of government, observing that the virtues we should look for in our ruling establishments are by no means the same as those we prize in our personal acquaintances. We want our friends and relatives to be generous; but when a government is generous, it is generous with our... Read More
The Republican National Convention hasn't even convened yet, and already the party's leaders are licking their chops over selling out the GOP's conservative base and most of its principles. That, however, is not the big news. The big news is that the party's conservatives are licking their own chops over being sold out. The Washington... Read More
How Do You Simulate A Simulation?
Whooh! I've been working like three donkeys on Texas crank trying to decide which empty jar I want for President: Al Gore, or George W. Gore. Mostly I come up dry. It's not easy even to know which is which.I'm starting to narrow the choice, though. It's either Humphrey Bogart or Carl Perkins, on a... Read More
Category Classics
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution
An alliance of pro-immigrant Democrats and anti-immigration Republicans could finally fix our broken system
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind