October 17, 2000
3:08 AM   Subscribe

Very good election analysis by Joan Didion in the current NYRB. (More inside.)
posted by Mocata (4 comments total)
Warning to people with short attention spans: the piece is about 12,000 words long. It argues persuasively that the US political class has shoehorned the election campaign into a bogus narrative about the American public’s supposed desire to see atonement for Clinton’s sins:

‘Almost a year before the New Hampshire primary, the shape the campaign would take had already been settled upon, and it was not a shape that would require the Washington community to accommodate itself to the views of the country: what was concerning Americans, it had been decided, was the shame they had to date refused to recognize.’

She also documents and protests the extraordinary extent to which a reactionary language of religious morality has become the lingua franca of both major parties – hardly a surprising observation, but it’s good to see it put in context. The good news: above the hubbub of the polls, academic political scientists are apparently pretty unanimous in predicting that Bush won’t win.
posted by Mocata at 3:19 AM on October 17, 2000

Whew! Very long article.

Gore is brain dead for playing on the terrain created by his opponent. He doesn't deserve to win.
posted by lagado at 7:06 AM on October 17, 2000

Yeah. But I suppose that from where Gore and his handlers are standing, they imagine that they have little choice but to play to the religious right - or the right in general: it seems to have been decided for them.

The New York Times has some more coverage of the whole publicly-funded faith-based programmes issue today.
posted by Mocata at 7:48 AM on October 17, 2000

Yes, well, i think it's creepy.

I can't judge american public opinion from here (Melbourne, Australia) so I don't know how swayed people are by these nutters. To foreign eyes it all looks like hogwash. "Compassionate Conservatism", my big white hairy arse. "Faith based?", bless 'em all.

However, they seem to be pushing all the right idelogical buttons. They make "motherhood" statements which sound profound but are totally vacuous.

I think the thrust of the article says that Gore is a captive of the political class in Washington and out of touch with the actual electorate.

This class has set the agenda and it appears to be an agenda in which Gore must atone of Clintons sins. Bush (as a cleanskin) clearly has an advantage on this sort of terrain. This suits the political class because its an agenda in which their own position is not under challenge.

Gore is a moron for alllowing this to happen but it indicates to me that he has no real agenda of his own.

His only chance it seems to me is to win by default. i.e. the people reject Bush.

posted by lagado at 4:06 PM on October 17, 2000

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