The Myth of "Clinton Fatigue" 

The Myth of "Clinton Fatigue" 

The Myth of "Clinton Fatigue" 

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Feb. 18 2000 9:30 PM

The Myth of "Clinton Fatigue" 

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New Republic, Feb. 28

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A cover story claims that Michigan, not South Carolina, is the critical GOP primary. If John McCain wins Michigan Tuesday, "the strategic calculation that undergirds the Bush campaign will collapse." To thwart challenges to Bush, Gov. John Engler moved Michigan's primary up a month and organized party leaders behind George W. If Engler's firewall crumbles, the nomination is up for grabs. Another cover piece warns that the Arizona primary could trip its favorite son. McCain will win, but prominent state Republicans from Gov. Jane Dee Hull on down will broadcast their distaste for McCain. Arizona Republicans claim McCain is unpleasant to work with and inattentive to state issues. " TRB" argues that "Clinton fatigue" is a hoax perpetuated by the punditocracy. Unlike every president since 1945, Bill Clinton has not seen his approval ratings drop during his second term.

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Economist, Feb. 24

The cover editorial  assails the "common misbehavior" of autocratic Arab states. Political Islam is difficult to reconcile with democracy. The cover story  applauds Iranian President Muhammad Khatami for abolishing "the petty rules" of the Islamic state by allowing people to date and to read dissenting news. Iran will not be truly democratic until it abandons clerical rule. An article predicts that the second generation of digital cash will end credit cards' domination of e-commerce. Virtual money initially flopped because it required special software and could only be spent at a few sites. E-cash 2.0 is easier to use. It eases consumer-to-consumer transactions and satisfies the demand for online anonymity.

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New York Times Magazine, Feb. 20

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The cover story worries that turboconsumerism is turning sex into a public health issue. Viagra's $1 billion in annual sales catalyzed the development of testosterone patches, genital-stimulation creams, and clitoral pumps. An article applauds female political fund-raisers, who are making inroads in what has been a male-dominated field. Julie Finley, "the Republican Pamela Harriman," raised $10 million for the GOP. A piece admires Salon.com's determination to remain an independent voice online. Editor David Talbot has made Salon into "a smart tabloid," and he hopes it will become the anchor of a commercial and media empire.

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Atlantic Monthly, March 2000

The first issue edited by Michael Kelly. The cover story condemns the commercialization of universities. In exchange for contributions, universities give corporations the right to own inventions by professors. Corporations insist that university scientists conceal their discoveries, and researchers shrink from publishing conclusions that might damage their corporate benefactors. Energy companies sponsor studies that minimize the threat of global warming. One university criminologist, whose research supports private prisons, failed to disclose that he had received $3 million from the private-prison industry.

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American Prospect, Feb. 28

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A piece argues that Bill Bradley's campaign is sustained by the candidate's "feeling of moral superiority." Bradley didn't abandon the high road by attacking Al Gore's character, he simply went "from being serenely self-righteous to militantly so."

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Newsweek, Feb. 21

The cover story argues that e-commerce's "hell week" was a timely reminder that Net firms must tighten security. Hacker attacks on Yahoo, eBay, Excite, and CNN exposed "cyberspace's dirty secret": The Internet is "a work in progress that can be knocked silly with surprising ease." No details on who might have staged the attacks. An article reveals the battle plans of the Republican presidential contenders. George W. Bush is inundating South Carolina with attack ads. The push may leave Bush with less than $18 million in his campaign kitty. If McCain wins the GOP nomination, he will also seek the Reform Party's nod. A piece denigrates McCain's temperament. The senator is bored by details and impatient with legislating. "Senator Hothead" frequently insults colleagues, calling fellow Republican Sen. Pete Domenici an "a--hole" and fellow Republican Sen. Charles Grassley "a f---ing jerk."

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Time, Feb. 21

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The cover story--the most shameless celebrity puffery by a newsmag since Newsweek's Nicole Kidman cover--chronicles a food shopping expedition with Leo DiCaprio, whose new movie, The Beach, just opened. The ardent-environmentalist Überstar likes waffle mix, ginger ale, and Al Gore. He is indecisive, self-conscious, and "pretty bright." The second chunk of Time's five-part Visions 21 series ponders how we will live in the future. An article forecasts that the Internet will infuse all of everyday life. Tele-immersion--enhanced virtual reality--will enable us to play squash with long-distance pals. A piece reviews George W. Bush's credentials as "A Reformer With Results." Bush helped improve Texas schools, but advocated punitive welfare reforms and "let industry write an anti-pollution measure."

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The cover story grasps for a downside to the booming economy. Although the income of the poorest fifth of Americans is rising faster than the richest fifth, the persistent wealth gap could exacerbate class warfare. An article reveals that the hardest part of losing New Hampshire for George W. Bush was telling his parents. Bush calls the collective media swoon over John McCain "an amazing phenomenon." Bush points out that when McCain mistakenly referred to "the ambassador of Czechoslovakia," his friends in the press kept his flub from the public. A piece claims that more and more adults are being diagnosed with reading disorders. Support groups are sprouting up to help.

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The New Yorker, Feb. 21 and 28

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The 75th-anniversary issue. An article explains why Fidel Castro is "obsessed with the Elián González tragicomedy." Cuba's revolutionary spirit has been weakened by Castro's limited market reforms and political disenchantment. The Elián issue rallied Cubans around Fidel and embarrassed his exiled opponents. An essay claims that Martha Stewart's métier is her "I-will-never-go-hungry-again story." Americans buy her how-tos because she symbolizes the everywoman "who sits down at the table with the men and, still in her apron, walks away with the chips." An item recoils at the strange style of Japanese hip-hop kids. Tokyo's trendiest youth dreadlock their hair and darken their skin in a bizarre homage to the African-Americans they admire.

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Weekly Standard, Feb. 21

Two cover stories lionize John McCain. One claims the core of John McCain's appeal is his anti-boomer message. Unlike Bill Clinton, McCain emphasizes honor over self. Clinton-fatigued voters are attracted by his crusade against pork-barrel spending and other forms of immediate political gratification. The other argues that McCain attracts voters because he is a patriot, in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Teddy Roosevelt. Unlike Clinton, these men protect women and believe in the promise of America. It argues that because "Al Gore is Bill Clinton," McCain is the perfect candidate to defeat him.

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The Nation, Feb. 28

The cover story worries that technology and capitalism are eroding privacy. Instead of a totalitarian Big Brother, "a hundred kid brothers" skim consumers' personal data for commercial purposes. We need legislation to: protect medical privacy, correct credit records, and require consent for data collection. An article assails the feds for holding prisoners based on secret evidence. Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to a life term for spying without being able to read the prosecutors' sentencing memorandum. The Immigration and Naturalization Service jailed dozens of Muslims based on secret allegations that they support terrorism. Imprisonment based on withheld evidence is "deeply at odds with American legal protections."

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Wired, March 2000

The cover story predicts that shopping bots will replace retailers in the coming age of "interactive pricing." Bots will comparison-shop and negotiate custom prices for nearly all purchases. An article reports that Department of Justice antitrust chief Joel Klein pressured tech executives--from Sun's Scott McNealy to Compaq's Eckhard Pfeiffer--to publicly attack Microsoft. Most Silicon Valley CEOs were willing to caterwaul against the software giant, but only behind closed doors. Apple's Steve Jobs egged the government into its antitrust action, but is too chicken to speak out against Bill Gates.