This is, said U.S. President George Bush, “a strange and ugly year in politics.” Describing the presidential campaign year to 2,500 journalists, politicians and other guests at last month’s annual White House correspondents’ dinner in Washington, Bush joked: "A LOT of name-calling out there; candidates calling out terrible epithets like corrupt, liar, hypocrite, fascist, radst—incumbent." His ludience laugh ed politely. But for American politicians, there is nothing funny about having to seek re-
Í-i/'l: ?' WW. WA WWW
recession and furious at the perks of power enjoyed by elected officials, many voters have concluded that the best credential for public office is to not ha\e served at all.
Running against the political establishment is far from a new tactic. Both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan won the presidenc; ' in part by portrayi themselves as Washington outsiders. Similarly, in Canada,
Reform party Leader Preston Manning appeals to voters who believe that Ottawa has lost
touch with their interest. ¡ Bu this] 22 /me ican politicians are going to extraordinary' engths ivoidthe stainofbeng f 2rceived is 0 i.. j vet i 1. Fi n . inso ma id 0 New York Democratic senatorial candidate — and vice-presidential nominee— jeraldine í r aro, says that his boss has “spent nearly twice a* many years as a he n e maker as she spent as a politician.” In response, campaign staff for New York State Attorney Gem a al Robe Ferraro’s principal primary opponent describe their candidate as “an insurgent, a maverick.” Hj
But it is billionaire Texas businessman Ross Perot who has benefited most from this year’s >utp ouring of exasp ;ra wit 1 el 2cte 1 ers. An all-but-declared independent candidate for the presidency, Perot is now running ahead of both Bush and Democratic challenger William Clinton in most opinion polls. Perot’s
campaign message is avowedly populist: a short-on-specifics pledge to avoid partisan bickering and to apply his simple can-do attitude to the country’s complex problems. “All (Washington politicians] do is get up and shout at one another between the White House and Congress, he i ece tly. ha . spei . life there in politics. I know how
Increasingly, politicians themselves are expressing g frustration with Washingor . . imp )ten :e
® Said Democrat Brian Don§ nelly, one of 32 House reps resentatives who have an-
from politics this year: ...... y -n ....... nning
from airport to airport, and you're still not ig ay ing an unsett it "•
warning to those outsiders who are promising easy solutions.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.