Focus Point - Smashmouth Politics

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. There's a very clever book out now about the 2000 Presidential Campaign by Washington Post reporter Dana Millbank, who covered the campaign for two years for the new republic. It's called Smashmouth: Notes From the 2000 Campaign Trail, and as you might guess from the title, Millbank doesn't always go for the serious stuff.

Like Bill Bradley putting a college president to sleep with a speech. Or predicting straw poll results by which candidate served the most lunch.

But Millbank's a shrewed political observer too. He isn't put off by rough campaigning. He likes it. He thinks it's good for democracy because it strengthens leaders, focuses on the issues and brings out the voters. And he also, amidst the clowning, gives perhaps the most cogent explanation of compassionate conservatism I've read anywhere, including from the Bush folks; and why Bush still might work his Texas magic inside the beltway.

Good laughs, good insight. Smashmouth by Dana Millbank.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, regulations versus business.