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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
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
————————— 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at