On the eve of the final presidential debate of the 2004 campaign, everything has changed -- again. And it could all change once more tonight. But here is where the race stands right now:
READING THE POLLS: The race for the presidency is as close as it has been at any time during this long campaign. Neither Bush nor Kerry has opened a consequential lead in recent days. No matter what survey you look at -- those with Bush in the lead or those with Kerry out front -- the two men are within the margin of error. That's a notable improvement for Kerry, who was clearly behind in a number of national surveys before the first presidential debate. Kerry's trajectory has been an upward one since that initial face-off with Bush. All the polling suggests that the Democrat benefitted not only from his own performance in the first debate but also from public reaction to the vice presidential debate and the second presidential debate.
Beneath the top line numbers that show Kerry and Bush essentially tied, there are powerful trends at work. They tend generally to favor the Democrat, although he still faces serious challenges heading toward November 2. Kerry's personal and issue-by-issue approval ratings have risen dramatically since the first debate. According to the CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup Poll released 10/12, Americans surveyed now say Kerry would do a better job than Bush on virtually every major domestic issue: protecting the environment (29 point advantage), improving access to health care (19 point advantage), preserving Medicare (15 point advantage), eliminating deficits (13 point advantage), preserving Social Security (9 point advantage), aiding education (7 point advantage), shoring up the economy (4 point advantage), maintaining a woman's right to choose (4 point advantage) and promoting stem cell research (20 point advantage). Only on the question of taxes did Bush have an advantage, with those surveyed favoring the president by a 51-44 margin.
This year the Supreme Court and its future composition should be a bigger issue than ever. Yet, few people, including, curiously, the Democrats, are talking about it. Regardless, as Katha Pollitt says in her latest Nation column,"there is hardly an area of life that will not be affected by the judicial appointments made in the coming years."
And if the Dems won't raise the issue, then groups like the Alliance for Justice are doing their all to raise it for them. This week, in conjunction with the opening of the new Court session, the AFJ launched a new campaign centered on campuses.
The Student Action Campaign mobilizes college and law students around the country with an emphasis on raising awareness of the importance of the Supreme Court both in our everyday lives and as an issue in the presidential election.
This essay, from the October 18, 1900, issue of The Nation, is a special selection from The Nation Digital Archive. If you want to read everything The Nation has ever published on presidential politics, click here for information on how to acquire individual access to the Archive--an electronic database of every Nation article since 1865.
When Waangari Maathai got news that she had received the Nobel Peace Prize, she removed her jewelry, knelt down in the dirt and planted seeds of a Kenyan tree known as the Nandi Flame on the grounds of the Outspan Hotel in Nyeri, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. "It cannot get any better than this," she said. "Maybe in heaven."
Maathai is a woman of firsts: the first woman in eastern and central Africa to earn a doctorate, the first female professor at the University of Nairobi and, now, the first African woman to win the Peace Prize.
Known as Kenya's "Green Militant," she founded the "Green Belt" movement--a grassroots women's group which since the late 1970s has planted more than thirty million trees in Kenya and a dozen other African countries, halting the deforestation that has stripped much of the continent bare. And as important, as a New York Times profile noted, the movement "has also nurtured as many women as it has acacias or cedars,"--providing jobs, economic opportunity and independence to nearly 10,000 women who plant and sell seedlings for a living.
What do you do when the excuses you used to "justify" an unwise and unnecessary war are completely discredited.
If you're Vice President Dick Cheney, you make up a new one.
Cheney's favorite excuse, the claim that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had significant ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, was never credible. But the vice president's attempts to peddle the theory became absurd after it was rejected by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States. Cheney kept trying to spin the fantasy for weeks after 9 11 Commission reported that there was no working relationship between Hussein and al Qaeda. But he finally had to acknowledge during last Tuesday night's debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards that he has no evidence to sustain the claim.
In recent months, we've seen a full-scale revolt over the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in this country.
Two weeks ago, a high-level dissident executive from Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker, denounced the pharmaceutical industry for resisting legislation that would allow imports of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. Just days later, the City Council of Montgomery County, Maryland, ironically the home of the FDA, added its name to a long list of cities and states that have defied federal law and passed legislation permitting citizens to buy medications in Canada. Moreover, eighteen state attorneys general have written the Bush Administration urging passage of legislation allowing prescription drugs to be imported.
"Stopping good importation bills has a high, high cost not just in money, but in American lives," Dr. Peter Rost, the dissident Pfizer exec, declared at a rally on Capitol Hill in support of legislation that allow imports. "Every day we delay, Americans die because they cannot afford life-saving drugs." (Thomas Ryan, the CEO of the drugstore conglomerate CVS, made a similar concession in May.)
The longer the Bush Administration is in office, the clearer it becomes that it has a disordered relationship not just with one aspect of the world or another, such as the war in Iraq or the budg
That's excellent. So tell us: Why did you
For months imply the opposite was true?
And why does Cheney (Nanny Dick) still flog