How Slatesters Voted
Jacob Weisberg, Chief Political Correspondent: Gore.
When the race was getting started, I said I expected to be annoyed by everything Gore did in the campaign and then vote for him anyway. He's held up his end of the bargain, and I intend to hold up mine. As a politician, Gore is nearly talentless. As a president, however, I think he would be likely to build on Bill Clinton's most important accomplishments, hewing to a path of fiscal responsibility while pursuing a measured federal activism that would help rebuild public trust in government. In some respects, I think Gore could be better than Clinton. He is more engaged by foreign policy and a more principled internationalist. Gore's sophistication about environmental and technology issues is a significant plus. As for Bush, Christopher Hitchens summed up my view perfectly when he described him as "unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things." A Bush presidency might not be a disaster, but it would surely be an embarrassment.
Marjorie Williams, Contributor: Gore.
I plan to vote for Al Gore. 1) Because I'm a Democrat, and while I can theoretically imagine voting for a Republican candidate for president, I never have; George W. Bush doesn't seem like a good reason to start. 2) Because at heart, between reinventions, Gore is and always has been a moderate, centrist sort of Democrat. I can't think of a major policy area in which I disagree strongly with what I take to be his core inclinations. 3) Because I think he'd make a good president in every realm except the admittedly important one of persuasion. Reports of Gore's record within the Clinton administration suggest an impressively tough-minded guy who understands the presidency and is even prepared to take appropriate risks with his political capital. The worry about Gore, obviously, is that over time we will find him as abrasive and phony in the bully pulpit as he has seemed in this campaign—which matters not because it's the president's job to please or entertain us but because it's human nature to resist sacrificing or doing something difficult on the say-so of someone we'd like to stuff in a locker. It still beats the alternative, in my view, of having as president a man who seems as intellectually incurious as Bush.
James Q. Wilson, Contributor: Bush.
Q will vote for Bush because, in thinking about which interest groups support which candidate, I am distressed that Gore is backed by the leaders of the teachers' unions (who want to preserve the public school monopoly), the trial lawyers (who want to continue to gouge money out of business pockets with claims that in many cases lack any scientific basis), by trade union leaders (who oppose extending free trade), and by public employee union leaders (who want the government to remain big and powerful). And the Clinton-Gore administration backed the election of an Israeli leader who came close to giving away the heart of that beleaguered democracy; now Clinton, instead of befriending Israel, says America should "facilitate" the (nonexistent) "peace process."
Emily Yoffe, Contributor: Gore.
Gore because: the environment, the economy, the courts, funding for family planning here and abroad, stem-cell research. George Bush is indifferent to so much of what the presidency entails: policy, politics, working hard. No matter how good his advisers, a president has to weigh their often competing advice and make his own judgment. Bush either is incapable of or uninterested in informing himself so that he can ask the right questions in order to make independent decisions. Al Gore has proved that he can.
Illustration on the Slate Table of Contents by William L. Brown.