For those of us who think the affirmative action wars should be settled at the ballot box rather than in the courts, this is supposed to be the moment of truth. In little more than a month, the people of California will vote on a constitutional initiative that would bar the state from discriminating, or granting preferences, based on race or sex, in public employment, education or contracting.
Then Jackie Kemp came on and we seemed to collapse, offensively and defensively. The final score was 50-20. It was the most humiliating moment of my life. I had never lost a game by that kind of score, even in high school. --O.J. Simpson, The Education of a Rich Rookie (1970) September 23 & 24: I am in Jack Kemp's press pool today mainly because no one else wants to be; no one else wants to be because tagging along with the running mate of a presidential candidate who trails by sixteen points with forty-three days to go is not journalism but a death watch.
The price of the September 14 elections in Bosnia was not simply that ethnic cleansers were legitimized; it was, more mundanely, that ethnic cleansers were elected. Though Radovan Karadzic was not voted into office (indicted war criminals were not permitted to run), his ideas were. All three ruling parties--Serb, Croat and Muslim--spent the election "campaign" cracking down on opposition candidates, obstructing the media, stomping out free expression and blocking refugee repatriation. As a result, the vote proved empowering only to those who already held power.
Before rejoining the Dole campaign I fly with my friend Barbara Feinman to Detroit. I have made a deal with myself, as an incentive to get out of bed in the morning. For every three days I spend with Bob Dole I will allow myself a day with someone who is not Bob Dole. Normally, I would have waited until I had earned the reward to collect it. But circumstances--namely Barbara--intervened. Until a few months ago Barbara was happily making a living helping famous Washingtonians—Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, a pride of senators—write their books.
"G children, and of the United States," the Russian-born political scientist Moisei Ostrogorski remarked in 1902, on the subject of our presidential nominating procedures. Ostrogorski, like many high-minded reformers of the Progressive era, thought America's boss-ridden, coalition- based, two-party system drained the country of responsible and principled leadership.
"It is not only a great honor, but also a great challenge, for an advocate to aid this tribunal in its task." --Defense counsel Hans Rolfe, Judgment at Nuremberg Poor Abby Mann. Somebody's cribbed a page from his screenplay. A few weeks ago, Edward Medvene announced he would defend Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic at his war crimes tribunal in The Hague. (General Ratko Mladic, the other main defendant, will be tried separately.) Perhaps inevitably, the Los Angeles lawyer sounded as if he were trying out for Judgment at Nuremberg.
Profound disappointment creased the usually impassive face of Warren Christopher the night of May 29. The secretary of state and his staff on the seventh floor of the State Department were hearing about the election returns from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, a committed foe of trading the Golan Heights for peace with Hafez al-Assad's Syria, had defeated Shimon Peres, Israeli architect of the land-for-peace enterprise. Christopher had invested more than three years of effort, as well as presidential, national and personal prestige in trying to broker such a deal.
On June 11, three judges in Philadelphia struck down parts of the Communications Decency Act. The decision, ACLU v. Reno, is being justly celebrated as the New York Times v. Sullivan of cyberspace, an occasion for dancing in the chat rooms. The three judges understood how the old First Amendment battles are being overtaken by new technologies; and in an endearingly self-dramatizing touch, they had their separate opinions distributed on floppy disks.
On the airplane, I caught sight of someone reading the latest issue of U.S. News and World Report, with a cover story on "How to Raise a Moral Child." It sounded like typical middlebrow sermonizing, based on the assumption that morality (that is, morality as defined by the editors of the magazine) could be taught in the same way as spelling or darts. It's not that simple, as I could attest. Here I was traveling to Las Vegas with a polygraph expert to interview a man who, I believed, did not have an adult sense of right and wrong.