So Goes the Nation
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- Commentary by filmmakers James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent documentary about the 2004 U.S. presidential election, focusing on the battleground state of Ohio. Read morePublished on February 22, 2010 by Rodney Wilson
Very interesting and entertaining documentary about the political process in 2004. Valuable for the future elections as it shows the dynamics of behind the scene action in the... Read morePublished on January 14, 2009 by Amazon Customer
After watching this on IFC, I have grown supersaturated by Iraq War documentaries and/or political documentaries. Read morePublished on December 3, 2007 by Grigory's Girl
I was hoping for a balanced appraisal of the 2004 election towards which I express countless doubts. Read morePublished on September 4, 2007 by Amazon Customer