Big Thinker Stanley Fish gives us the road-map to a George W. Bush recovery: return to splendor by being himself after leaving office.
“…the fact is that he’s likable. I don’t mean on the superficial level of being someone you’d want to have a beer with. It’s deeper than that. He comes across as a basically decent man who is at peace with himself.”
Fish runs down the very best of past comebacks [that Nixon: what a smarty!] and helps Bush by setting the bar kinda low:
“Despite the fun poked at his verbal maladroitness, he is actually quite skillful (certainly more skillful than either Al Gore or John Kerry) in conveying his positions succinctly and persuasively.”
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia claims to be an “Originalist” in court decisions, but he likes his history predictable, if wrong.
Defending his 2000 Florida recount cutoff, Scalia goes with a classic, offering the legend of a noble Richard Nixon putting country above self, declining to challenge the disputed 1960 election.
“Richard Nixon, when he lost to [John F.] Kennedy thought that the election had been stolen in Chicago, which was very likely true with the system at the time,…But he did not even think about bringing a court challenge. That was his prerogative. So you know if you don’t like it, don’t blame it on me…I didn’t bring it into the courts. Mr Gore brought it into the courts.”
Others aren’t so sure about silent, selfless, sixties Nixon.
“Three days after the election, party Chairman Sen. Thruston Morton launched bids for recounts and investigations in 11 states—an action that Democratic Sen. Henry Jackson attacked as a “fishing expedition.” Eight days later, close Nixon aides, including Bob Finch and Len Hall, sent agents to conduct “field checks” in eight of those states. Peter Flanigan, another aide, encouraged the creation of a Nixon Recount Committee in Chicago. All the while, everyone claimed that Nixon knew nothing of these efforts—an implausible assertion that could only have been designed to help Nixon dodge the dreaded “sore loser” label.”
Vanity Fair‘s “White House Civil War” account of Gore-Clinton spats and slights recalls those heady days when nothing seemed impossible, the President spoke in coherent sentences, and the White House was mired in minutia. When school uniforms walked like men, and V-chips promised to end filth as we knew it.
The piece excerpts from Salley Bedell Smith’s “For Love of Politics—Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years,” following the resource competition between Gore and Hillary Clinton’s 2000 campaigns for President and Senator.
Apparently the fate of the Republic turned on the teen marketing of “Resident Evil,” and whether Al Gore or Hillary Clinton would be credited with denouncing this scourge.
“One of the most dramatic examples occurred in September as the Federal Trade Commission prepared to release a report on violence in the media. The agency’s million-dollar study showed that entertainment companies were marketing violent movies, video games, and music to children under 18. Under ordinary circumstances, a vice president running for the presidency would have first call on publicizing the report. But Hillary insisted she should handle the rollout because she had already called for a universal ratings system. “It was a key point of her Senate campaign,” said Bruce Reed. “The president had singled her out for that in the 2000 State of the Union, so the finding of the F.T.C. was directly relevant to her campaign. The vice president’s campaign had concluded that cultural issues were hurting him, and they were dying to announce the report as well.”
An alternative reading of events might be that the September 11, 2000 [did the Mossad do this one too?] FTC release was a side show. Gore appeared on Oprah to lament kids today, while Bush kept his eye on the ball campaigning. In Florida.
In other news, the article confirms the status of former Clinton and Gore staffer Bob Boorstin as a national resource. His “I find her to be among the most self-righteous people I’ve ever known in my life” quote on Hillary to Carl Bernstein got a lot of play, and in the Vanity Fair piece he tops himself:
“Did we make mistakes? Yes. Would I say that Clinton was the only reason we lost? No. Would I say with absolute zero doubt in my mind that we would have won the election if Clinton hadn’t put his penis in [Lewinsky’s] mouth? Yes. I guarantee it.”