DVD Review: So Goes the Nation
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 22, 2007, 13:59 GMT
If you’ve ever had any interest in politics or what goes on behind the scenes in an election then I’d suggest given So Goes the Nation a look.
This documentary looks behind the scenes into the 2004 Presidential race that was run in Ohio by interviewing activists, politicians, and voters.
From the back of the box:
“The battleground state of Ohio provides the perfect setting for the 2004 Presidential race between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. As Election Day draws near, the cameras capture the behind the scenes maneuvering – from savvy power moves by political strategists to well organized and impassioned grassroots rallies – in this fascinating study of American democracy in action.”
One of the blurbs on the back promised that the documentary gave a fair minded reading of the 2004 Presidential Election. At first I had my doubts since the first five interviews or so are from the Kerry side of the coin. However, my apprehensions were soon put to rest when they started interviewing players from the other side.
I should first say that I really hate politics and politicians. It’s a game where the players say one thing to the constituents back on the home front and do another thing back in the halls of power. When the early poling shows that the Buckeye state could play a decisive role in the election, the operatives from both sides descend upon the state. We follow the stories of both homegrown activists for both sides who descend upon the state to campaign for both sides.
The candidates are represented from news stories and don’t actually set down for the documentarians. However, a slew of political operatives from both sides do sit down for the cameras including Paul Begala, Mary Beth Cahill, Ed Gillespie, Terry McAuliffe, and Ken Mehlman. If you’re politically active those names will be familiar to you.
These politicos are relatively honest about the fax paus from both sides of the fence. I probably shouldn’t say this but I always thought that John Kerry was the Democrat answer to Bob Dole – meaning that he wasn’t a very good candidate. He comes off as arrogant and aloof and really didn’t help that interpretation by mishandling the opposition from the swift boat vets. Dole came off as old and easily mocked against the more charismatic Bill Clinton.
On the other side of the coin, George W. Bush has a certain way of mangling the English language, but as the other side comments him he does have a way of staying on message that eventually helped him in the Ohio contest. The documentary follows the before, during, and aftermath of the election and the highs and lows that befall the two sides supporters.
We know the outcome of the contest, but the documentary still offers a fascinating look at the behind the scenes wrangling by both sides and even held the interest of this admitted politics hater. Frankly, we get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly that’s associated with a political campaign.
So Goes the Nation is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include a commentary by filmmakers James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo.
Though I really don’t care for politics, I found the documentary fascinating. My fears of a bias were put to rest once they started interviewing the other side (maybe they should’ve intercut between the two at the beginning). If you’ve ever had any interest in politics or what goes on behind the scenes in an election then I’d suggest given So Goes the Nation a look.