After Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972, Democrats accused Arthur Burns, whom Nixon had appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1970, of rigging the election by overstimulating the economy. Burns, they charged, had produced a temporary reprieve from recession, but had also built up inflationary pressures that would burst forth later and produce an even sharper recession. In coming years, Republicans may make similar charges against Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's secretary of the Treasury.
During the past decade, an academic movement called critical race theory has gained increasing currency in the legal academy. Rejecting the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s as epiphenomenal, critical race scholars argue that the dismantling of the apparatus of formal segregation failed to purge American society of its endemic racism, or to improve the social status of African Americans in discernible or lasting ways. The claim that these scholars make is not only political; it is also epistemological.
Popular opinion may still support him as against the outrageous Republican alternative, and may yet conceal ... a growing and substantial dissatisfaction because of the meager results that have followed his magnificent promises, and because of the confusion and lack of direction that his rapidly shifting and self-contradictory program embodies. --"Is Roosevelt Slipping?" TNR, August 14, 1935. As President Clinton prepares to become the first two-term Democrat since FDR, commentators on the left and the right are busy expressing skepticism about his achievement.
The first twist of the knife came the day after Bill Clinton let Bob Dole debate himself in Hartford, Connecticut. Dole had claimed that if he "just showed up" for the debate it would be a victory, but he didn't realize that Clinton would step back and let him dominate the stage.It worked. Unable to decide which strategy he should use--gentle humor to make himself look warm or slashing attacks on Clinton to erode the president's support--Dole used both.
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.