a ]3()11 \a,s taken whicli rccaled that twornthink ot the American publie approeclrnot C’linton’s performance in office, ticxiialrngctmes and all. Oli, “es, some people saidrn(showing more sophistication than tlicrnpundits), the might not wan! (Jhiitonrngoing out with their danghters; but thatrnhad nothing to do witli die prcsidenewrnKecr before has there been snch arngap between poUtical wisdom in thernhigher echelons of American goernmentandrnthe aetnal preferences of Americanrnxotcrs. How did it happen? \’h-rneonldn’t the ex]:>erts beliee in the clearrntestimon’ of the polls!’ I suspect Hie answerrnlies in the nature of human beliefrnlb bcliexe a fact, Q\ need more thanrnjust the fact, plain and sini]3le: ^ou needrnan explanation for it. The fact has to fitrnthe beliefs of die person who accepts it. Irnonce deeloped the habit, in all seasons,rnof walking barefoot around the politernsuburb where 1 lie. The ouK’ person e-rner to notice was a isitor from hidia. InrnIndia, adults walk barefoot; in America,rnthe don’t. So w hen ()u walk barefoot inrn.America, no one expects to see it, so nornone does.rn.hubc the experts corddn’t l)elieernwhat was in front ot dieir noses becausernthe didn’t liae the right beliefs aboitrnthe .American |)residenc. Somethingrnabout the office and its relationship to diernelectorate toda escaped diem. Sexualrnexploits. Kings and dieir mistresses. -nrnAmerican president is a kind of monarch,rnisn’t he? I’lie further back (iu go in liislor,rnthe clearer die |)atteni becomes. AtrnJulius C’aesar’s official triumphs, his soldiersrnput on obscene skits, cclebrahng hisrnsexual exploits (widi both sexes). Thatrnw as no shame; it was part of his powerrnand glor’—because, like the Fisher Kingrnin the notes to l.S. Kliot’s Ihe WanternLand, he was a tertilit- sinbol. Thernking’s poteiic is a magical guarantee ofrnthe nation’s.rnThat’s how CJlinton — that poor Mr.rnPrethbcn’ from the backwoods of Arkansasrn—outfoxed eenbod-, probabK withoutrneen realizing it himself ble had becomerna fertilit sinbol. I remember arnworking-class gent from Virginia sa^•ing,rnat the height of the scandal, that he wasrngoing to church that Sunda- to pra’ forrnBill Clinton’s soul. 1 don’t diink I liaernever heard heaicr, more delicious iroin”.rnThe man hadn’t been near a church —rncertainK- not in spirit—for ears. It wasrnhis wa of commenting on what herniewed as the hpocris of churches andrntheir ministers and supporters: all thosern]3ious souls who are embezzling churchrnfunds, doing it w ith choirbo’S, getting itrnon widi their secretaries. . .rnAnd Gore, raised (unlike Clinton)rnamong die elite, fell for die phony pietyrn(or, at least, supposed diat die stupid votersrnwould), heeded the political wisdomrnof his class, and placed himself firmlvrnamong die solemn hvpocriles. Hlalf thernelectorate ]:)rcfcrred—perhaps widi goodrnreason — an ignorant, spoiled wastrel ofrndemonstrated ineompetence. If Gore’srnadvisors and spin doctors had told him tornshout from the rooftops what a great guvrnClinton was, if die- had found ways forrnCore subriv to imph’ that Clinton’s successesrnw ith the econonn and with thernnahons of the world were a perfect reflectionrnof his sneeess with Monica Lewinskyrnif tlie” had told him to keep kissingrnTipper and to throw away that little padrnhe scribbled on during debates and tornc|uit boring eerone to death widi endlessrntalk about the drab little issues wernliae nowadas —then I think our savvrnelectorate would hae produced a lessrnconfused result.rn— Richard MoorernG E O R G E W. B U S H , as President ofrndie United States, can be counted on inrnthe first six months to . . . well, I should bernhonest here (with hand on heart). I don’trnthink an of us can sa’ wiHi mueli precisionrnwhat iii’ governor w ill aeeomplishrnin die new office whose door he finalKrnsqueaked through. But don’t drop thernfaiiiih’ erstal when I sa’, widi all respectrnto those of another mind on this tpiesfion,rndiat he nia’ favorablv surprise somernarch-skeptics.rnAs a Republican part chief and staterngcncrnor, CJeorge W. disap]Dointed widirnsome regnlarih’ a lot of us fossilized eoiiserrnatics who wouldn’t have mindedrnhad he proposed dismanding our photogenicrneapitol brick by brick and sowingrndie site w ith salt. He kind of did a goodrnjob here —in an case a far better jobrndian Ann Richards had in the precedingrnfour vears. He failed to shrink government,rnbut he oiced Christian moralrneonictions without guile, didn’t shrinkrnfrom application of the death penaltv,rntried to raise educational standards, and,rnnot lea,st, presented for the general delectationrna faniiK’ nice as all get-out. He setrna good gubernatorial tone —a charge norneonser-atic eer leveled at Richards.rnI like and respect the governor, and ifrnthis quirkv preference inspires readers tornw hoop up a lynch party in my honor, be itrneven so. I know some good hidey-holes.rnIn riiis life, I have concluded after wellnighrnsix decades, vou do the best you can.rnThe best America was able to do in diernyear 2000 was Oorge W. Bush. That isrnwhv he is our President, and I am contentrnw ith the prospect.rnIt is a matter of expectations. A eatrnwon’t bark; a fish won’t run the 400-meterrnrelav. We need not expect George W.rnBush, a moderatelv conservative President,rnto reenaet die Reagan presidenev—rnto the extent diat would please the morernhard-line brediren. And given the narrownessrnof Bush’s victor)’, we should expectrnlitdc ideological vigor. I, for one,rndon’t propose to .spend die next four yearsrngrousing that American voters didn’trnchoose the American Maggie Thatcherrn—whoever diat ina’ be.rnAs he did in Texas, Bush will upgraderndie tone and atmosphere in Washington.rnHow could it be otherwise? After Billrnand Hillary Cdinton, President RobertrnDownev, Jr., would make the Oval Officernsmell like sachet and spring wildflowers.rnIt may take time for die differencernto sink in on manv Americans, butrnsink in it must. Bush is a good person.rnNo cigars, no Lincoln Bedroom stayovers,rnno FBI files or travel-office fiaseoes.rnNo Janet Renos.rnWill Bush stock his administrationrnwidi reliable Tories? Of course not. Reaganrndidn’t eidier, sae at the Departmentrnof Justice and other select venues; butrnReagan, unlike Bush, enjoyed a kind ofrnmandate. Is the point not obvious, evenrnso? Under Bush, no Lani Guiniers, nornDonna Shalalas, no Warren Christophers,rnno Larrv Tribes on the federalrnbench (or promotions from the FloridarnSupreme Court).rnMaybe we don’t know in detail whatrnthe Bush-Cheney administrafion will actuallyrndo, but wc can be quite certainrnwhat it won’t do: veto tax cuts and bansrnon partial-birth abortion, kowtow to feministsrnand the ga-rights lobbv, starve flicrnmilitary of needed funds, scorn privatesectorrnapproaches to problems such asrnSocial Securih’.rnSome readers of this magazine willrntake umbrage at Bush’s amenability tornfairly high levels of immigrafion. Theyrnmight reflect fliat he isn’t really a throwwide-rnthe-gates type and diat Hispanicrnvoters will decide whether soni_evvhatrnconservafive Republicans orfelendesslvrnleft-liberal Democrats govern the UnitedrnStates for some time to come. The blackrnFEBRUARY 2001/7rnrnrn