Bush injects life into the race for the White House

Share

It would be an exaggeration, given the sadly reduced condition of US presidential conventions, to claim that every eye will be glued to Philadelphia this week. Yet - however choreographed, predictable and suffused with brotherly love - the coronation ceremony of George W Bush, which begins today, does matter. It will be our best chance to get a fix on the man who may recapture the White House for the Republican party this autumn and become the proverbial "most powerful man in the world". And, if he does so, he will complete the first father-son presidential double since John Adams and John Quincy Adams in the first decades of the republic.

It would be an exaggeration, given the sadly reduced condition of US presidential conventions, to claim that every eye will be glued to Philadelphia this week. Yet - however choreographed, predictable and suffused with brotherly love - the coronation ceremony of George W Bush, which begins today, does matter. It will be our best chance to get a fix on the man who may recapture the White House for the Republican party this autumn and become the proverbial "most powerful man in the world". And, if he does so, he will complete the first father-son presidential double since John Adams and John Quincy Adams in the first decades of the republic.

All too often "Dubya" is dismissed as Daddy's charming, spoilt and rather witless boy. His inability to name a series of foreign leaders made the celebrated "Bushisms" of his father look distillations of statesmanship by comparison. His slogan of "compassionate conservatism" is deliberately vague. Yet we in Britain have lived long enough with similar vapourings such as New Labour's "Third Way". As Ronald Reagan should have proved, intellectual wattage is not the most important requirement for an effective presidency.

Strangely however, it has been the supposedly lightweight junior Bush, rather than Vice President Al Gore, his formidably qualified opponent this autumn, who has made the running since both wrapped up victory in the primaries last March. Just like so many of its predecessors, this campaign is being dismissed as an irrelevant bore that has studiously avoided issues of consequence. Thus far, however, it has has been conspicuous not so much for mudslinging as for the clearly distinct positions on taxation, health care and social security which have emerged - and where the new proposals have tended to come from the camp of Mr Bush.

Meanwhile, his choice of Dick Cheney for running mate, his father's highly-regarded former Secretary of Defense and one of Washington's safest pairs of hands, makes unsettling foreign policy lurches by a new Bush administration even less likely.

So the stage is promisingly set. Mr Gore is a tough and well armed politician who should do well in the always-important presidential debates this autumn. One way and another, the 2000 race for the White House may go right down to the wire. For armchair fans of politics as sport, 7 November could provide the most exciting US presidential election night since Jimmy Carter just held off the resurgent Gerald Ford back in 1976.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Manager - North West - Registered Charity

£31800 - £35400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This registered charity's missi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an est...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative - OTE £55,000

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Why not be in charge of your ow...

Recruitment Genius: Business Operations Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Peac...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Channel 4's Married at First Sight  

Married At First Sight is the social experiment that proves we've forgotten how to fall in love

Ruby Thomas
Dolphin Square where Lord Sewel allegedly took drugs with prostitutes  

Lord Sewel's real crime was joining the House of Lords in the first place

Boris Corovic
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food