The next stop on TNR's Super Tuesday Primer is the lovely state of Tennessee: "As the 'buckle of the Bible Belt,' Tennessee is traditionally conservative and tends towards the Republicans, going for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Though Huckabee is relying on its strong evangelical community, the state has a history of being more economically and racially liberal than other southern states. Hillary is also hoping that, with its relatively small black population, Tennessee can be one of the few southern states she can win.
Out of Range by Mark V. Tushnet (Oxford University Press, 156 pp., $19.95) In 1991, Warren E.
Thwack! An elaborately beaded elephant handbag lands solidly on Fred Thompson's upper arm. "Law and Order on the Border!" the bag's owner, a short, sassy, middle-aged brunette, crows at the presumed presidential candidate.
Gracia Burnham needed a backpack. Months earlier, she and herhusband, Martin, had been kidnapped and dragged into the jungles ofthe Philippines by members of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, or "Bearer of the Sword," and they had nothing in which to carry their few belongings. Until, that is, one morning when one of their kidnappers was shot and killed in the midst of a blundered rescue effort by the Filipino army.
The Road By Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf, 241 pp., $24) IN ADDITION to the 9/11 novel, and the 9/11 novel that is pretending not to be a 9/11 novel, an old genre has been re-awakened by new fears: the post-apocalyptic novel (which may well be, in fact, the 9/11 novel pretending not to be one). The possibility that familiar, habitual existence might be so disrupted within the next hundred years that crops will fail, warm places will turn into deserts, and species will become extinct—that areas of the earth may become uninhabitable—holds and horrifies the contemporary imagination.
BY THE TIME Fred Thompson decides whether or not to join the presidential fray, you will have heard the story of his red pickup truck at least a dozen times. The truck in question is a 1990 Chevy, which the famed statesman-thespian rented during his maiden Senate campaign in 1994. The idea was that Thompson would dress up in blue jeans and shabby boots and drive himself to campaign events around Tennessee. Upon arriving, he’d mount the bed of the truck and launch into a homespun riff on the virtues of citizen-legislators and the perils of Washington insider-ism.
IN THE SUMMER of 2004, when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked John Kerry with a series of ads challenging his service in Vietnam, the hapless candidate had a defender across the aisle: John McCain. Shortly after the ads hit the airwaves, the Arizona senator called the smear campaign “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged President Bush to condemn it.
In the olden days of politics, electoral wipe outs were great spectacles to behold. When Democrats or Republicans slipped on the political banana peel, they would tumble, arms flailing like Chevy Chase, into congressional defeat. In the 1894 election, Democrats squandered 125 seats; in 1922, Republicans endured a loss of 77seats. This year, for the first time in over a decade, there's talk of a wipeout.
In the long march of the conservative ascendancy, Folk Songs to Bug the Liberals, the 1964 LP by the satirical conservative quartet the Goldwaters, was only a blip. Four Tennessee college students put on "AuH2O" shirts and recorded an album of songs like "Down in Havana," "Barry's Moving In," and "Row Our Own Boat." They dropped out of school to warm up crowds before Goldwater campaign appearances. The record reportedly sold some 200,000 copies. The Goldwaters were never heard from again.
Now celebrating her twentieth year as the host of the world's most influential talk show, Oprah Winfrey is to television what Bach is to music, Giotto to painting, Joyce to literature. Time magazine hit the nail on the head when it recently voted her one of the world's handful of "leaders and revolutionaries." (Condoleezza Rice wrote Oprah's citation: "She has struggled with many of the challenges that we all face, and she has transformed her life. Her message is empowering: I did it, and so can you.") Like all seminal creative figures, her essential gift lies in her synthesizing power.