Mrs. Paine's Garage and the Murder of John F. Kennedy
By Thomas Mallon. Pantheon, 224 pages, $22.00
Why did Mrs. Ruth Paine of Irving, Texas, make the notation "LHO purchase of rifle" on the March 1963 page of her Hallmark pocket calendar? Soon enough, everyone would find out that LHO was Lee Harvey Oswald. But how and why would an unassuming mother of two young children in a Dallas suburb know, eight months before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, that Oswald had purchased a rifle?
In the mid-1990s, a group of liberal activists, with the
support of a few wealthy donors, developed a new strategy to reduce the power of
money in national politics. Let's not waste so much energy trying to get minor
reforms through Congress, they reasoned. Let's take the battle to the states and
push for something meaningful, something that could really change the way
campaigns and elections are conducted.
As Al Gore labors to be seen as a man of the people, the candidate's demeanor continues to strike some voters as annoyingly confident. "He's like the kid in school you wanted to beat up because he knows all the answers," Tom Coveney, a 42-year-old Massachusetts banker, told The New York Times after the first October debate.
A small minority of Americans--maybe two million people, maybe as many as five million--will vote for Ralph Nader for president this year. Most have gotten into arguments about the decision or have had someone try to talk them out of "throwing away" their vote. Many have been told they are doing something harmful or, at the minimum, irresponsible. Bush or Gore will be the next president. To pretend there is another choice is foolish.
In the world of political campaign advertising, there is nothing sweeter than coming up with an ad that is so clever or outrageous it gets free publicity. Ralph Nader hit the jackpot in the fall campaign with his spot that parodied MasterCard's "priceless" commercial. Nader's campaign even ended up getting sued by the credit card company (a federal judge refused to order the ad off the air, it turned out).