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So Goes the Nation

12 customer reviews

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(Feb 13, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(Documentary) "...SO GOES THE NATION" examines America's tumultuous electoral process through the eyes of diverse politicians, activists, and voters. The 2004 presidential election provides the stage, showing how the voting public is manipulated by both parties' leaders and their political marketing machines. Features Hollywood A-List in grass roots campaign efforts (Matt Dillon, Steve Buscemi, Hillary Swank, Brendan Fraser, Joe Pantoliano, etc.)

As John Kerry presidential campaign volunteer Miles Gerety puts it, "As goes Ohio, so goes the nation." Directors Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern, who were behind The Year of the Yao (about NBA superstar Yao Ming), attempt to get a handle on the 2004 presidential election by focusing on this swing state in the weeks before the big day. Senator Kerry and President George W. Bush staffers recount their experiences in trying to win the White House. Speakers include everyone from door-to-door campaigners to Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and RNC chairman Ed Gillespie. Even some of Kerry's most dedicated followers admit that there were times their man let them down, like his failure to take a more aggressive stance against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. On the other hand, at least one Bush staffer feels that her candidate made too big a deal about same-sex marriage. As longtime Republican Leslie Ghiz remarks about his campaign promises, "Notice there's [been] no marriage amendment." Del Deo and Stern also shadow local voters and out-of-town celebrities like Brendan Fraser, part of the organization Bring Ohio Back. (Other famous names to swing through the Buckeye State include Matt Dillon and Bruce Springsteen.) If ...So Goes the Nation presents more talking heads than revelations, it's still an evenhanded look at the series of events that led to such a seemingly surprising result. As a study in contrasts, Rachel Boynton's Our Brand is Crisis, also featuring strategist Tad Devine, proves that winning can sometimes be worse than losing. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Commentary by filmmakers James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo

Product Details

  • Actors: George W. Bush, John Kerry, Ed Gillespie, William Bacon, James Baker III
  • Directors: Adam Del Deo, James D. Stern
  • Producers: Adam Del Deo, Alex LaGory, Christopher C. Chen, Don Kempf, Douglas Hansen
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000K2V7EQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,641 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "So Goes the Nation" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Jager on March 27, 2007
Format: DVD
And one that whould make any thoughtful person worry. The 2004 presidential race came down to a wire that stretched across Ohio. The film makers taped the race from the perspective of both sides. The stratagists on both sides are surprisingly open about their tactics and, more importantly, about their opinions. Whatever the actual merits of either party's platform; Polls showed that the voters in Ohio agreed more with the Democratic positions, but in the end more voted Republican, largely because the Republican's kept their message simple: "You might not agree with George Bush but at least you'll know where he stands."

Kerry's message meanwhile (although more Ohio voters actually agreed with it) was scattered and lacked a theme. Kerry was his own worst enemy. He had a proclivity for tripping over his tongue, soundbites of which the Republicans were able to use in their "Flip Flop" attacks. And when he should've spoken up during the swift boat attack ads, he remained quiet. He also allowed himself to be taped doing something other than riding a horse or chopping wood, which seems to be a big mistake in American politics. That his handlers allowed him to go wind surfing should've cost them any future political employment. I half expected to see him curling in the next shot.

One Republican stratagist admits he was relieved when Howard Dean's campaign crashed and burned, because he knew it would be easier to subterfuge Kerry. The Republican stratagists were quite shrewd, while the Democratic stratagists may not have qualified to run a highschool campaign.

One simple unfortunate truth that emerges is that attack ads work. The electorate claims that they're sick of mud slinging and that they don't respond to it, but in fact they do.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Martin Shackelford on March 18, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With interviews of strategists from both parties, the filmmaker presents a remarkably balanced and informative look at politics in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential election. Some issues, like game-playing with the number of voting machines in each district, are only glancingly mentioned, but the overall presentation helps in understanding how Kerry lost.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Marlow on April 14, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An engrossing and well-structured film that succinctly explains Bush's victory in Ohio, and thus the United States in the presidential election of 2004. The film's use of three main characters to frame the narrative gives the film a personal quality, and prevents it from becoming a dry recitation of facts that poorer documentaries often become.

As a non-American, I heartily recommend this film to anybody with an interest in American politics, and how electioneering there differs from other English-speaking countries.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. L LaRegina on November 4, 2008
Format: DVD
SO GOES THE NATION takes us to Ohio for the final days leading up to the 2004 presidential election. Its most compelling moments feature volunteers for the campaigns of John Kerry and George W. Bush, soldiering on, political bullets flying overhead. Other perspectives come post-election day from interviews with Democratic and Republican Party officials.

What SO GOES THE NATION lacks is the filmmakers' perspective. For example, it only hints at the ugly truths that cost John Kerry the official vote count. When I saw this D.V.D. recently at the public library, I wondered why I had not heard of it. After seeing SO GOES THE NATION's timid take on Republican suppression of likely Kerry voters in the Buckeye State, I understood why most word of mouth was probably two syllables - "Skip it."

Nonetheless, credit SO GOES THE NATION for taking us into the hearts and souls of ordinary people working hard for the Kerry and Bush campaigns in which they believe. Watching those volunteers' spirits soar and dip (Kerry) and dip and soar (Bush) on Election Day 2004 I compare it to true-storytelling such as APOLLO THIRTEEN, where we already know what happens yet suspense builds anyway.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dennis G. Lagory on May 30, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An even-handed, perceptive and compelling view of the 2004 presidential campaign. Must viewing for anyone interested in American politics.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wade Tomlin on April 30, 2007
Format: DVD
So Goes Then Nation accomplishes something that is often completely removed from U.S. political coverage, a real dismantling of the differences between a good campaign and a good politician.

George W. Bush is never in So Goes the Nation described as an accomplished president by anyone interviewed, even from his own side. Even when accepting the nomination, Republicans didn't focus on Bush's accomplishments, but completely made the 2004 campaign about John Kerry's faults and it worked.

What So Goes the Nation does is call out the American voter. What exactly are voters basing their decisions on? Because as most of the participants in So Goes The Nation admit, the whole discussion was about John Kerry, instead of a critique of the decisions that Bush made in his first four years in office as president.

Therefore So Goes the Nation reveals the gamesmanship of a presidential campaign and dissects brilliantly what did and did not work from a campaign perspective, but the actual governing abilities of the politicians involved are never really discussed, which reveals how the general public can so easily allow themselves to be manipulated.

Therefore it reveals that a good campaign can easily elect a bad politician.
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