ELECTION JOURNAL: The Political Events of 1987-198 by Elizabeth Drew
Kirkus Star

ELECTION JOURNAL: The Political Events of 1987-198

By

KIRKUS REVIEW

Drew's latest collection of New Yorker essays is her fourth devoted to national presidential campaigns, and is every bit as incisive as the first three (American Journal, 1977; Portrait of an Election, 1981; Campaign Journal, 1985) One measuring stick of a good journalist is how well her writing holds up after the fact. By this yardstick, Drew is a master. These essays on the early primary,fights, the countless boring debates, the fate of the "seven dwarfs," or Gary Hart's misguided social life engender the same urgency as they did when first published. Drew's character sketches are right on target, capturing in a phrase the essence of a candidate: Dukakis--"there is a certain grimness about him, as if he doesn't quite approve of enjoying himself too much"; Gephardt--"he is not humorless, but he is in all respects tidy, and he's not a lot of laughs"; Gore--"an almost preternatural figure, in some ways old for his years--perhaps because he expects so much of himself"; Jackson--"a witty man among a sombre crew." Drew hasn't always been on target in her predictions; writing in December 1987, she wagered that "the Republican nomination for the Presidency is likely to be a thundering fight." As for the one unsolved mystery of the campaign--why none of the Democratic "giants," i.e., Cuomo, Bradley, Nunn, or Kennedy--sought the nomination in a year when they could have faced a non-incumbent, Drew hazards ". . .the next President might end up a Herbert Hoover, and. . .some Democrats are awaiting the opportunity to be Franklin Roosevelt." Meanwhile, Drew did offer an early estimation that "Bush is far better informed than Reagan is on foreign policy. . ."; but as far back as December 1987, she also wrote that "the next President may already have been taken hostage by the incumbent one," thanks to the national debt. As wise, insightful, and gripping an account of what Drew calls the "mysterious process" by which we choose a President as we are likely to get.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1989
ISBN: 688-08332-3
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
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