Cover image for Politics : observations and arguments, 1966-2004
Politics : observations and arguments, 1966-2004
Hertzberg, Hendrik.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Penguin Press, 2004.
Physical Description:
xxviii, 683 pages : 683 pages
General Note:
Includes index.
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E839.5 .H48 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E839.5 .H48 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Cause for jubilation: At last, one of America's wisest and most necessary voices has distilled what he knows about politics, broadly speaking, into one magnificent volume.

Imagine if the Rolling Stones were just now releasing its first greatest hits album, and you'll have some idea of how long overdue, and highly anticipated, Politics is. Here are Hendrik Hertzberg's most significant and hilarious and devastating and infuriating dispatches from the American scene-a scene he has chronicled for four decades with an uncanny blend of moral seriousness, high spirits, and perfect rhetorical pitch. Politics is at once the story of American life from LBJ to GWB and a testament to the power of the written word in the right hands. In those hands, everything seems like politics, and politics has never seemed more interesting.

Hertzberg breaks down American politics into component parts-campaigns, debates, rhetoric, the media, wars (cultural, countercultural, and real), high crimes and misdemeanors, the right, and more-and draws the choicest, most telling pieces from his body of work to illuminate each, beginning each section with a new piece of writing framing the subject at hand. Politics 101 from the master, Politics is also an immensely rich and entertaining mosaic of American life from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s-a ride through recent American history with one of the most insightful and engaging guides imaginable.

Author Notes

Hendrik Hertzberg has been a staff writer and editor at The New Yorker since 1992. He has also been a naval officer, a Newsweek reporter, President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter, and editor of The New Republic. He lives in New York City with his wife and their young son

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Political essayist Hertzberg, who currently graces the pages of the New Yorker with his shrewd, balanced, and personable analysis, came to his calling naturally as the son of a Jewish activist-journalist and a Protestant history professor, as New Yorker editor David Remnick attests in his zestful introduction to this unprecedented and far-ranging collection. At nine Hertzberg was handing out Adlai Stevenson buttons; at Harvard he honed his love of exposition, expertise that carried him to Newsweek, the New Republic, and the White House as Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. Hertzberg's Carter years inspired some of his most piquant interpretations of the morality of politics, while his responses to the Vietnam War, the legacies of John and Robert Kennedy, and the weirdness of the Reagan White House and Dan Quayle (remember him?) all remain fresh, relevant, and unnerving, and his insights into the two George Bushes are blazingly brilliant. Hertzberg raises many crucial issues throughout this exhilarating volume, but none is more resounding than his forthright and commonsensical emphasis on the need for uncompromising humanism and secularism in democratic governments. Hertzberg could have lifted the perfect subtitle from the Grateful Dead, who appear in the book's first essay: What a long, strange trip it's been. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hertzberg's name is instantly recognizable to readers of the New Yorker, where he often writes the lead commentary on the week's political fallout. Drawing on nearly 40 years' worth of material, this collection sums up a career that has included stints editing the New Republic and speechwriting for Jimmy Carter, and offers some surprises: a baby boomer's reminiscences on the 20th anniversary of Woodstock are expected, as are repeated forays into electoral reform, but a 1972 John Lennon profile and a probe of the origins of the classic New York tabloid headline, FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD find the politics in pop culture. A long stretch of material deals with his coverage of the 1988 election, including a reflection on the possibility of Dan Quayle becoming president that leads into a discussion of disengaged leadership. And there's plenty of direct criticism of George W. Bush and his handling of the war on terror, in the context of Hertzberg's longstanding dissatisfaction with neoconservatives and self-appointed protectors of "Judeo-Christian" values. Taken as a whole, the articles show a consistent concern for a classical liberalism in which sober reasoning rests on equal footing with sly humor, but even articles from 2000 feel distant given the pace of current events. Agent, The Wylie Agency. (July 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The more than 100 articles collected here are fairly representative of Hertzberg's work over the last 40 years. A writer for The New Yorker, Newsweek, and The New Republic (where he was twice editor), Hertzberg also served as head speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter. But it is his voice as a liberal social and political critic that makes this book important. The articles are organized chronologically within sections. For example, "Wedge Issues" covers various controversial campaign issues, beginning with an article on pornography in 1986 and ending with one on the Lawrence v. Texas High Court decision of 2003. Each section opens with a new essay by the author; New Yorker editor David Remnick provides an introduction. As an essayist, Hertzberg may be many things-irreverent, arrogant, funny, very liberal, and at times hypercritical-but he is never boring. Whether liberal or conservative, readers will find him challenging and provocative. Recommended for all libraries.-Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction The Hertzberg Effect By David Remnick Hendrik Hertzberg, in his present incarnation, is the political voice of The New Yorker . That pleases me, because, in my opinion, Hertzberg is the most humane and urbane commentator on American public life since Murray Kempton. I first began reading Hendrik Hertzberg-Rick, to his colleagues and his improbably large circle of friends-when he and Michael Kinsley took tag-team turns editing The New Republic in the nineteen-eighties. National Review and Human Events may have held sway in the Oval Office, but elsewhere in town (on Capitol Hill, in the office suites of cause lobbyists and consultants, in newsrooms and think tanks, even in odd corners of Reagan's White House) no political publication was more eagerly read or more excitedly discussed than The New Republic . The relatively small liberal weekly (its circulation was around eighty thousand) had become an exhilarating cacophony of fractious, even warring, voices of different tones and tempers. In TNR's order of battle, Hertzberg and Kinsley, despite contrasting sensibilities, generally found themselves on the same side. Kinsley was, and remains, a master at lancing an inflated reputation or a fatuous argument. His prose is spare, logical, acerbic. Hertzberg's is a warmer, rounder, more confiding voice, though no less funny and often no less cutting. I had been reading the magazine ever since I arrived in Washington in 1982, but I remember well the first time one of Rick's pieces had on me what I'd later identify as the Hertzberg effect-a twinned zing of provocation and pleasure. The year was 1985, and William Bennett was the Reagan administration's secretary of education and grand inquisitor. (This was long before his Elmer Gantry-Fyodor Dostoevsky moment, when the ever-accusing moralist was forced to reveal he had gambled away millions in family milk money in the gambling dens of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.) In a tone of highest dudgeon, Bennett had complained that the people who really ruled the country-the liberals, the judges, the whatever-had consistently displayed what he called "an aversion to religion" and a disdain for the "Judeo-Christian" values that made America great. Hertzberg, a determined secularist born to an unbelieving Jewish father and a Quaker mother, took unforgettable umbrage: As a Judeo-Christian who has an aversion to religion, and who is an American as good as or better than any mousse-haired, Bible-touting, apartheid-promoting evangelist on any UHF television station you can name, I must protest. Where is it written that if you don't like religion you are somehow disqualified from being a legitimate American? What was Mark Twain, a Russian? When did it become un-American to have opinions about the origin and meaning of the universe that come from sources other than the body of dogma of organizations approved by the federal government as certifiably Judeo-Christian? If it is American to believe that God ordered Tribe X to abjure pork, or that he caused Leader Y to be born to a virgin, why is it suddenly un-American to doubt that the prime mover of this unimaginably vast universe of quintillions of solar systems would be likely to be obsessed with questions involving the dietary and biosexual behavior of a few thousand bipeds inhabiting a small part of a speck of dust orbiting a third-rate star in an obscure spiral arm of one of millions of more or less identical galaxies? Two decades later, I still don't know what to admire most about that passage-its swingy fearlessness, its sly patriotism, or the sheer syntactical gymnastics of its final flourish. The writing is so happy-making it almost reconciles one to the comic, cosmic smallness of our species and the bleakness of its fate. Some people are changelings, creating themselves as if in a universe of their own making; others create themselves from what is around. Hertzberg is of the latter kind. There is no doubting the particularity of his voice as a writer, but he comes from a tradition that begins with his parents and their political atmosphere and devotion. His father, Sidney Hertzberg, a son of immigrant garment workers, was a teen-age street-corner speaker for the Bronx Socialist Party who grew up to be an itinerant activist-journalist and a member of New York's small and beleaguered but ultimately influential anti-Stalinist intellectual left. Besides agitating for causes as varied as independence for India, justice for southern sharecroppers, and the political campaigns of Norman Thomas and Hubert Humphrey, Sidney kept the family going with a seemingly endless stream of jobs as a writer and editor at various publications, both mainstream (the Times , Fortune ) and marginal ( Common Sense , the early Commentary ). Rick's mother, Hazel Whitman, was the product of a family far more proper and genteel than one might imagine from the reputation of her famous great-great-uncle, Walt. She rebelled, becoming national chairman of the Young People's Socialist League; eventually she became a schoolteacher and then a professor of history at Teachers College, Columbia. When Rick was in first grade, Sidney and Hazel packed up and moved him and his younger sister Katrina out of the city and across the Hudson to Monsey, a sylvan town in Rockland County which is now populated mainly by Orthodox and Hasidic Jews but was then a rural retreat for artistic and intellectual types looking for some quiet and lower real-estate prices. By 1952, when Rick was nine, he was handing out Adlai Stevenson buttons door-to-door. At Suffern High School, he organized a slate of candidates for student council offices. They campaigned against "school spirit," made fun of football, and called themselves the Liberal Party. Not for the last time, the Liberal Party lost. At Harvard, Hertzberg was managing editor of the student daily, the Crimson . Late one morning, while he was sleeping off an all-nighter at the paper, he got a telephone call. "Hello, this is William Shawn." "Yes," came the answer, "and this is Marie of Romania." Hertzberg hung up, sure that his caller had not been the legendary "Mr." Shawn, editor of The New Yorker , but rather a classmate aping the editor's famously whispery tone. The phone rang again. "No, this really is William Shawn," the small voice insisted. This time, Hertzberg was more attentive. It would turn out that Lillian Ross had seen him on a television documentary about "concerned youth" called "The Shook-Up Generation," and he had been not only appropriately shook-up but eloquent about it as well. Shawn, therefore, was inviting him to write for his magazine. As it happened, Hertzberg was in the same class, 1965, as Shawn's son Wallace, and so, too, were Jonathan Schell, Jacob Brackman, George W.S. Trow, and Daniel Chasan, all of whom eventually received similarly welcoming calls from Shawn. "My whole career has been so marked by advantages gained from Harvard's old-boy network," Hertzberg confessed in 2002, in an interview with Craig Lambert for the university's alumni magazine, "that only in the last couple of years have I been getting over the debilitating sense of not deserving anything." Hertzberg did not take the New Yorker job, not right away. First he was briefly the editorial director for the National Student Association, then reported for Newsweek out of their San Francisco bureau, and, most consumingly, had to deal with Vietnam. In 1966, he enlisted in the Navy, which began a personal drama that he has described with minimal self-dramatics and maximum self-deprecation. The long and short of it, he wrote in 1985, was that he "managed to have it both ways: veteran (sort of), and resister (in a way)." For the full essay, "Why the War was Wrong," written on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the fall of Saigon, see page TK of the book you are holding. Mustered out of the Navy in 1969, Hertzberg finally went to The New Yorker , where he worked for seven years. It was, despite the times, his least political period as a writer. He did dozens of reporting pieces a year, mostly for the "Talk of the Town" section. He covered antiwar demonstrations and political rallies, but more often he wrote about things like rock concerts, trade shows, countercultural antics, minor-league baseball, local eccentrics, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and movie people-and he grew restless. At the end of 1976, when the call came from James Fallows to join the speechwriting staff of President-elect Jimmy Carter, Hertzberg jumped at the chance. Hertzberg's four White House years are not represented in this book, unless you count the incisive character assessment of his flawed and saintly boss he wrote fifteen years later. Of course, he was writing like mad during those years, but the results have already been collected-by the United States Government Printing Office. Of particular note, for those who care to dig out the nine musty volumes of "Public Papers of the Presidents: Jimmy Carter" from some particularly well-stocked library, are the addresses to the Indian parliament (January 2, 1978), to the Egyptian parliament (March 10, 1979) and the Israeli Knesset (March 12, 1979), at the opening of the John F. Kennedy Library (October 20, 1979), and to the American people on "Energy and National Goals" (the so-called "malaise speech," July 20, 1979). And, of course, the Farewell Address (January 14, 1981). These speeches, of course, are not exactly "by" Hertzberg. Though his contributions to them were large, Presidential speeches involve an authorial cast of thousands. Still, it's not hard to tell which bits are not Hertzberg's. (He has a framed copy of the Farewell Address in his study at home, inscribed as follows: "Rick-Not bad for a 10th draft-Maybe we should have been more careful on earlier speeches & saved this one 4 more years-Jimmy Carter".) The Reagan tide washed Carter out of the White House, and Hertzberg landed up The New Republic at the invitation of another Harvard friend, his old teacher Martin Peretz. The two had been arguing about politics since 1962, when Peretz was Hertzberg's political science tutor; now Marty was paying Rick to tell him he didn't know what he was talking about. While Peretz (and others at the magazine) increasingly listed right, chucking previous convictions overboard as hopelessly dated or naïve, Hertzberg set out the particulars of his persisting liberalism: the squalor of capital punishment, the idiocy of American drug and gun laws, the need for affirmative action as the flawed medicine after generations of institutionalized racism. There was surprise in the argument, surprise, certainly, in the prose, but not in the principles. Though Hertzberg's title was editor, he sometimes found himself denouncing the editorials he edited. When TNR backed military aid to the Nicaraguan contras , he drafted a dissenting letter to-well, to the editor. (It appeared over the names of a majority of the magazine's distinguished roster of contributing editors.) When TNR attacked the nuclear freeze movement as a sinister plot manipulated by Soviet intelligence, he defended it as an earnest expression of justifiable popular anxiety. He was quicker than many of his colleagues to credit and welcome the liberal revolutions in Poland and the Soviet Union. The constant internal skirmishing at TNR was invigorating, but for the participants it could be wearing, too. The first time Hertzberg quit the editorship, in 1985, he wrote, in a "Washington Diarist" not included in this book, My reasons for leaving are complicated. In the current (fiftieth anniversary) issue of Partisan Review , Daniel Bell writes that he finally left The Public Interest , which he had co-founded with Irving Kristol, because he believes that "friendship is more important than ideology." I believe that too. (In fact, it's a central tenet of my ideology.) I've learned here that I can be friends, good friends, with people who have serious politics of which I deeply disapprove. This is something I wouldn't have thought possible before. One of the highlights of Hertzberg's time at The New Republic was his coverage of the 1988 campaign: Bush-Quayle vs. Dukakis-Bentsen. He got no scoops, influenced not a thing, but bemusedly tagged along with the candidates, all the while writing an ongoing chronicle that combined high comedy with moral disappointment. As a writer and as a man, Rick is almost preternaturally good-natured. Nothing, to him, is dull or meaningless, even the most meaningless of events. "In the afternoon we fly to South Dakota for a rally at the Sioux Falls stockyards," he wrote of a stint with the Bush (Senior) campaign. "Three hundred people are standing around in a makeshift corral. A sign says WELCOME TO SIOUX FALLS STOCKYARDS. There's livestock nearby. The podium is made of hay bales. The site makes for good visuals. Good olifactuals, too. The smell of bullshit, like the sound, is not wholly unpleasant." It's hard to choose the best of these '88 pieces, but surely the eeriest is the dissection of Dan Quayle. Eerie, because as Hertzberg ruminates about the difference between Bush and Quayle-the generation of noblesse oblige versus the generation of indolence and entitlement-and as he juxtaposes the younger man's limited achievement with his limitless ascent, he might as well be describing Bush (Junior). Hertzberg returned to The New Yorker as an editor and writer when Tina Brown took over in 1992. For much of that period Rick's office and mine were next door to each other, and I grew accustomed to his undergraduate-style work habits; he was seldom there when I arrived in the morning, unless he had stayed all night. (That began to change somewhat after he married the talented senior editor down the hall, Virginia Cannon, and their son, Wolf, made his appearance.) In 1998, when I moved down the hall myself as Tina's successor, one of my first moves was to make sure that Rick's writing, and his political thinking, would be a regular, not just an occasional, mainstay of The New Yorker . Nearly half of this book is drawn from the Comment pieces and longer essays Hertzberg has written for magazine over the past decade. It has been a time dominated first by the tribulations of the Clinton presidency and then by the darker era of the 2000 election, September 11th, and George W. Bush. The Bush era began with impressive rhetoric and cynical action, Hertzberg writes, and it has only gotten worse and more radically conservative. The President has ignored his lack of a mandate and jettisoned the idea of a "compassionate" and conciliatory conservatism for a swaggering revision of the American political way of life, foreign and domestic, since the New Deal. One of Hertzberg's more elegiac columns came after Al Gore finally let go the battle for the presidency after the Supreme Court delivered a verdict somewhat different from the electorate's. Hertzberg's choice of a historical analogy was original and apt, with, perhaps, a note of fine Kemptonian irony: That was a tough concession speech Al Gore had to give the other night, but people have had to give tougher ones over the years. In 1633, a prominent, well-connected member of the high-tech community of Florence found himself on the wrong end of a decision by the then equivalent of the Supreme Court. Put on trial by the Inquisition, he was found guilty of advocating a doctrine described in the Holy Office's indictment as "absurd and false philosophically, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture." This was a characterization with which the defendant was known to privately disagree. But he was anxious to avoid being cast as a troublemaker and eager for the healing to begin, so he said the words the occasion required. "I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years," he recited, "abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and I swear that I will never again say or assert that the Sun is the center of the universe and immovable and that the Earth is not the center and moves." Before Galileo was led away to spend the rest of his life under comfortable house arrest, however, he kicked the ground and, according to legend, muttered, "Eppur si muove"-"But still, it moves." It's fair to say that Rick disapproves of George W. Bush. He sees in the President, as he saw in Quayle, a man of incurious mind and crabbed compassion, and it was something that he noted immediately. In Hertzberg's estimation, Bush's inaugural address, as written by Michael Gerson, was a "relative" masterpiece. ("To read all fifty-four addresses, one after another, is to traverse a wasteland where pomposity, banality, and incoherence are more often relieved by mediocrity than by brilliance.") But, as he pointed out, "the dissonance began one day later. The new President's first act was an act of cruelty." He cut off all financial assistance to International Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide maternal health services in the most wretched corners of the earth and then spent the rest of the week promoting a regressive tax cut calculated to enrich his wealthy friends at the expense of the poor and near-poor. "Cruelty" was the word Rick used, and cruelty in politics, I have found, is the quality that he has never been prepared to abide. --from Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004 by Hendrik Hertzberg (introduction by David Remnick), Copyright © 2004 by Hendrik Hertzberg, published by The Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA). All rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher. Excerpted from Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004 by Hendrik Hertzberg All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

David Remnick
Introductionp. XVII
Author's Notep. XXV
1. Enough About the Sixties
The San Francisco Sound: New music, new subculturep. 3
Weather Report: White Tornado: Lunacy on the Leftp. 19
Everywhere's Somewhere: John and Yoko come to New Yorkp. 27
Why the War Was Immoral: Looking back at Vietnam and anti-Vietnamp. 32
You Had to Be There: What Woodstock was "like"p. 39
2. Big Men
A Moral Ideologue: The character of Jimmy Carterp. 45
The Child Monarch: Ronald Reagan's surprising presidencyp. 70
Scaling Mt. Kennedy: R.F.K.'s journey from fixer to martyrdomp. 93
3. Speechifyin'
In Praise of Judson Welliver: Judson who?p. 113
Wascally Woss: Perot's favorite fuzzy animalp. 117
Speeding Ticket: Cicero goes Geraldop. 121
Two Speeches: J.F.K.'s Inaugural and Clinton'sp. 124
Big Talk: It's about addressing the mainstreamp. 127
Star-Spangled Banter: Can we please have a better national anthem?p. 131
Talking Points: Behind the lines with Peggy Noonanp. 134
The Word from W.: A shockingly good Inaugural Addressp. 140
Grinding Axis: The rhetorical uses of evilp. 143
4. Judeo-Christians
Antidisestablishmentarianism: A Jaycee protestsp. 151
Vatican't: Instructions from Rome and Alabamap. 154
Secular Sermon: The stakes in the Rushdie affairp. 157
Two Little Words: One nation under God (stet)p. 160
Dividends: Bush's preferential option for the richp. 163
5. A Campaign
Sluicegate '88: The journalistic stoning of Gary Hartp. 169
Sporting News: Tarred by the Miami Herald's brushp. 174
G.O.P. Follies: The Republicans debatep. 177
Tuesday Night Patball: Republicans and Democrats, starring Tom Brokawp. 182
Monster from the Id: Politics as psychotherapy, from Gary Hartp. 185
First Returns: Good morning, Iowap. 191
Dole's Charm: His masks of comedy and tragedyp. 194
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Politician: Pat Robertson's Oedipus complexp. 200
The Tortoise: Dukakis's slow, sure bid for the nominationp. 208
Ivy Scoreboard: Which is more elitist, Harvard or Yale?p. 215
Dynasties Old and New: Scenes from the Democratic Conventionp. 219
Front Man: The moral decline of the American ruling classp. 222
Roboflop: Make that 999 points of light and one dim bulbp. 227
And What if ... ? Debate three: the remixp. 238
Aroma of Bull: Following the Bush campaign caravanp. 242
Recriminations '88: Hell, I Dunno: Parceling out blamep. 248
6. Foreigners
Poland's Revolution: The Proletariat--remember them?p. 257
Le Changement: L'anticommunisme des Socialistesp. 260
Death of a Patriot: Olof Palme, Americanp. 263
Casualties of War: Oops, Russia got out of Afghanistanp. 267
Democracia: The fall of the Berlin Wall as seen from Central Americap. 271
Civics, Nicaragua-Style: The Sandinistas blow itp. 274
Non-Party Lines: Scenes from the Soviet twilightp. 281
Team Player: "Observing" an electionp. 285
Gremlins and Goblins: The end of the Soviet Unionp. 289
The Kosovo Precinct: Police work in the Balkansp. 292
A Tale of Two Cubas: Havana and Miami fight over Elianp. 295
7. Wingers
McGovernist Conspiracies: The threat of ideological fluoridationp. 303
Neoconfab: Debating whether Soviet power will still triumphp. 305
Sweet and Sour: Wild and crazy Republicans in convention assembledp. 308
Marxism: The Sequel: The dialectics of Newt Gingrichp. 311
Cookie Monster: The Speaker as authorp. 315
Bad News for Bigots: The good news from Bob Jones Universityp. 319
Sheer Helms: He preferred his racism straight upp. 322
Can You Forgive Him?: A right-wing conspirator comes cleanp. 325
Rush in Rehab: Megadoses for megadittosp. 334
8. The Wayward Media
Headline: The guy who wrote Ford to City: Drop Deadp. 341
The Big Tune-Out: Whaddya mean, "no story"?p. 345
Entertainment for Men: Which'll it be, Playboy or Penthouse?p. 351
Cross Talk: An irritating anchorhabitp. 354
Press Pass: Clinton awes the hacksp. 357
Topless Tabloids of Gotham: Latest on Post-News slayfest!p. 360
George Without Tears: What was John Kennedy's magazine all about?p. 378
What's Up, Doc?: Dr. or Mr.?p. 383
L'Affaire Blair: Fabulousness at the New York Timesp. 386
Radio Daze: Same thing on every stationp. 391
9. Wedge Issues
Big Boobs: The good parts of the Meese porn reportp. 397
Executions I Burning Question: Whom does capital punishment punish?p. 407
Executions II Federal Death: Gallows to gurneyp. 410
Wounds of Race: The bitter truths behind affirmative actionp. 413
Flagellation: Flag burning? Can't be donep. 418
Gore's Greatest Bong Hits: The dopey drug warp. 422
Labor's China Syndrome: The problem is, unions are illegalp. 426
Cops and Wallets: Have faith in Bruce, please, Officersp. 429
Unnatural Law: Taking sodomy privatep. 432
Northern Light: O Canadap. 435
10. High Crimes
Dean's First Day: The Senate Watergate hearings get under wayp. 443
Tower Play: Capitol Hill prissiness claims a Republican sinnerp. 447
What a Whopper: Clarence Thomas's lies about lyingp. 451
Tales of the Tapes: Nixon had the right ideap. 454
What It's About: Evidently not the opposite of sexp. 458
11. Ghosts in the Machine
Let's Get Representative: How to make Congress democraticp. 465
Twelve Is Enough: A simple cure for chronic incumbencyp. 474
Boom Vox: The screeching, deafening voice of "the people"p. 481
Idea Woman: The actual, and excellent, thoughts of Lani Guinierp. 484
Filibuster I: Catch-XXII: The Senate rule that killed health care ...p. 488
Filibuster II: Filibusted: ... and how and why it should be killed, toop. 491
The Case for Proportional Representation: Why voting is almost never a political act in the U.S.p. 495
Letter from New Hampshire: This Must Be the Place: Somebody has to decide who'll be president, right?p. 508
The Lesson of Red Ken: The real novelty of London's mayoral electionp. 516
Best Picture: Why good movies get nominated and bad ones get Oscarsp. 519
Framed Up: What the Constitution gets wrongp. 522
12. Yuppies and Other Leftovers
The Education of Mr. Smith: The morality of pragmatismp. 535
All the Fine Young Kennedys: Caroline and John, among othersp. 543
Moby-Rick: In quest of Leviathanp. 546
The Short Happy Life of the American Yuppie: The rise and fall of a cultural archetypep. 549
Book Him: Bill Clinton and other presidential memoiristsp. 563
13. 2000 + 9/11
Five Percenter: Why it was right to keep Nader out of the debatesp. 575
Both Sides Now: Clinton versus Clintonp. 578
They've Got Personality: What are the candidates "about"?p. 581
College High Jinks: What if the loser wins?p. 586
All Perfectly Legal: Bush becomes president-appointp. 589
Eppur Si Muove: Gore and Galileop. 592
Advice and Consent: The case for obstructionismp. 595
Generous George: Bush disguises an agenda of greedp. 598
Defense Mechanisms: The obsession with missile defensep. 601
Tuesday, and After: The reality of horror and the metaphor of warp. 604
Stimulation: Squandering 9/11's only giftp. 607
Differences: A success that's too conventional for comfortp. 610
Recounted Out: An election result no longer in doubtp. 613
Mine Shaft: Lessons of the Quecreek Ninep. 616
Manifesto: A dismal, ignoble vision of "national security"p. 619
2000 and Two: The unmet challenge of that undemocratic electionp. 624
Too Much Information: Information awareness that's, like, totalp. 627
Blixkrieg: The unilateral rush to war in Iraqp. 631
Attack Anxiety: How did it come to this?p. 634
Collateral Damage: Things hidden in the fog of warp. 639
Building Nations: What's sauce for Iraq ...p. 642
Unsteady State: Earth to Bush: Bush to Marsp. 645
Acknowledgmentsp. 649
Indexp. 653