The political dictum says "as Ohio goes, so goes the nation," since
in more cases than not the presidential candidate who carries the state
ends up being elected. This even-handed documentary examines the
fractious 2004 election. Those expecting to find conspiracy theories or
mentions of voter fraud thanks to rigged Diebold machines should look
elsewhere. This film doesn't take that tack. Instead, directors Adam
Del Deo and James D. Stern fan out across the state and interview
both Democrats and Republicans.

 The filmmakers followed both campaigns and examine in detail
exactly what the Republicans did better than the Democrats which
enabled them to win the election. There are numerous missteps on
the part of the national Democratic Party, whether it was ignoring
the advertisements of the Swift Boat Veterans until too much damage
had been done or the lack of a seemingly cohesive approach to the

 The Republicans are shown to be well organized and constantly
"on message," with clear talking points aimed at its constituency.
There's also talk of how the Republicans targeted voters who might
otherwise have been missed by purchasing advertisements on
The Golf Network and other outlets. (Thanks Karl Rove!)

 Still, there are some issues that are only touched upon in
passing or glossed over completely. There are shots of long lines
of minority voters waiting in the pouring rain -- methods meant to
discourage them -- whereas their Caucasian counterparts breezed
in and out. Little mention is made of the conflict of interest of
the Republican Secretary of State and his decision to throw out
numerous absentee ballots, as well as his challenges to voter

... SO GOES THE NATION offers some insight into one of the
"battleground states" and clearly spells out what went wrong. It
could and should serve as a primer for future campaigns to study
and perhaps learn from.

         Rating:                  B
         MPAA Rating:         None
         Running time:        90 mins

                 Viewed at Magno Review One
... So Goes the Nation
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.