How Slatesters Voted
So, Harry Browne in 2000! And in 2004 and 2008 and 2012, if that's what it takes.
Scott Shuger, Senior Writer: Gore.
In 1992 Bill Clinton ran on a middle-class tax cut and staying out of the Balkans. But, once in office, he was wise enough to see the need for deficit reduction and military intervention, and forceful enough to take the country with him. That's the leadership I want out of a president—and right now, I don't see it in either George W. Bush or Al Gore. Now, I don't hold it against Bush that the only public office he's held has been governor under a so-called weak system. Couldn't everybody have said pretty much the same thing about Clinton in '92? And wouldn't it have been snotty? All I know is that Bush has been in charge of a lot more people than I have, and like every other journalist alive, I think I'd make a fine president. But unlike Clinton or John McCain, Bush's never made something out of nothing. I mean, it's not like the Rangers just won their third straight World Series. But Gore has at least been close enough to Clinton's greatness to see how it's done and perhaps when the matter is joined, to see how to do it. I don't know. But I do know this—given his life history, it's just about impossible to see how this would come out of George W. Bush. That's why I'm voting, with hope, for Al Gore.
Judith Shulevitz, New York Editor: Gore.
As a book critic, I put a lot of stock in character, and what I sense in Bush is a mean streak and a swaggering thoughtlessness. These come out in barbed putdowns and remarks to the press that are either all boilerplate or sarcastic parries. Bush's let's-see-if-I-can-get-away-with-this affect once came out as a smirk. Now he bites his lip. I still feel like I'm watching a frat boy in a bar who, if I asked him where the ladies room was, would make a crude remark the minute I turned my back.
By contrast, Gore seems like a grown-up. After a lifetime of public service, he turns out to be pretty good at governing and outrageously bad at campaigning. He keeps at it, though, tearing himself inside out and taking criticism too much to heart. True, this insecurity makes me wonder whether Gore could lead. But I'm impressed by his persistence, which makes up for a lot. And yes, he cogitates on weird stuff. But what I really hold against Bush is that he and his pals are trying to transform the American people—the American media, anyway—into bullies who play "gotcha!" with the geekiest kid in the class.
Laurie Snyder, Copy Editor: Gore.
This election, like in all the presidential elections since the Regan-Mondale race when I could first vote, I'll pull the Democratic lever. Sure, I might like to vote for Nader, at the very least to remind the Democratic Party of their constituents left of center, but I can't bring myself to risk tilting Washington state to Bush. I have plenty of superficial reasons to dislike Gore: how he folds to stuff himself into the mold du jour, his bad imitations of Clintonesque empathy, a speaking style that's painfully overacted. Who cares! There's no earthly way I'd ever vote for Bush—or any other anti-choice Republican, or anti-choice Democrat for that matter. The likelihood of vacant spots coming up on the Supreme Court makes an easy decision even easier. Bush is no choice for me. Vote for Gore!
JoAnne Spencer, Production Assistant: Gore.
Although I'll be the first to admit that my vote isn't really for Al Gore so much as it is against George W Bush. The tide turned for me when Bush admitted that he lacks the experience and expertise needed to make important policy decisions himself. He said that he would rely on his advisers. That troubles me given the sort of people Bush tends to surround himself with. I just don't think it's a good idea to rely on representatives from the oil industry for environmental protection policies or on members of the conservative Christian right for education and judicial appointments.
Chris Suellentrop, Editorial Assistant: Gore.
Illustration on the Slate Table of Contents by William L. Brown.