W. has bartered the high-status accomplishments of his father for something more precious: regular guyness. He is warm and impulsive where his father was distant and calculating. Every story about the son applauds his democratic instincts, his ease with all kinds of people, his ebullience and physicality, his informality. His passionate Methodism contrasts with his ancestors' chilly Episcopalianism.
The Gore dynasty, oddly, has followed the opposite path. Al Gore Jr. has outdone his senator father in the calculus of political achievement, but the veep is stiff and awkward and dutiful in a way that his impulsive, backslappy dad never was. George W. Bush jokes that his father's idea of a perfect son is Al Gore Jr. This may be America's choice in 2000: the George W. Bush who isn't George H.W. Bush, or the Al Gore who is.
TODAY IN SLATE
How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics
Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks
Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive
Is he right?
“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse
Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.