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
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
Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey
No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.
The Other Huxtable Effect
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.