Ready or Not

Political ads dissected and explained.
Nov. 4 2000 10:59 PM

Ready or Not

(Continued from Page 2)

The message here is intricately woven, but really quite simple: If you want an America that is more like Brazil, vote for Bush. But what makes this ad a killer is the final tag. An earlier, related Democratic National Committee ad closed with the line, "Now consider this: by favoring the few, George W. Bush would hurt the many." Here the judgment is much harsher and broader: "Is he ready to lead America?"

Advertisement

This carefully crafted phrase has something of a double meaning. In the logical context of the ad, it carries the sense of, "are you ready for the man who did this in Texas to lead America?" The term "ready" stretches to cover such qualities as caring about children, fighting polluters, protecting Social Security, and so forth. But the more conventional sense of "ready" is obviously also present. Beyond the context of the ad, "Is he ready to lead America?" means "does he have the mental equipment to be president?"

Even in a negative ad as harsh as this, the Gore people are holding back somewhat. They are afraid to ridicule Bush as a dunderhead. But given the well-established public stereotype, they probably don't need to. Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live will finish the job for them.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.