Greetings! And welcome to how he got there:In the coming months, this site will present a book about one of the most consequential elections in American history–the 2000 White House campaign between George W. Bush and Al Gore. At issue is an historical question:
How did George W. Bush reach the White House? How in the world did he get there?
More specifically, How He Got There will explore the mainstream press corps' poisonous coverage of this history-changing campaign. This book thus discusses a remarkable episode in modern press history–an episode the liberal world has generally failed to explore.
Discussion to date:I began discussing this topic in real time, in March 1999, at my web site, The Daily Howler. At the time, I had no idea how remarkable the press corps' performance during Campaign 2000 would be.
On the other hand:
By that time, the press corps' peculiar relations with President Clinton had led to one important book–Gene Lyons' Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater (1996). Before Campaign 2000 was finished, Lyons would team with Joe Conason for a second book, The Hunting of the President (2000). Here too, Lyons and Conason discussed the press corps' decade-long, pseudoscandal-driven pursuit of Bill Clinton.
In March 1999, Clinton's vice president began his own run for the White House. With remarkable speed, the press corps' pursuit of President Clinton was seamlessly transferred to Candidate Gore. Given the narrow way Campaign 2000 was decided, the press corps' twenty-month war against Gore almost surely decided its outcome. How He Got There will describe these history-changing events.
We need a history of the era:As such, this book adds to a limited body of work–work which describes the political and journalistic history of the Clinton/Gore era. To date, the liberal world has made little attempt to explore the history of that period–an era when rising conservative power in Establishment Washington stifled Democratic Party and progressive interests. Why have liberals been so timid concerning the events of this period? I'll offer some thoughts at the end of this book. First, the history itself should be told.
How did George W. Bush get to the White House? Liberal explanations often begin with the vote recount in Florida. In this way, we liberals announce our ongoing refusal to explore the full history of the Clinton/Gore years–an era in which conservative power was increasingly expressed in the work of the mainstream press corps.