As America begins a big yawn this presidential season that lasts until the party conventions in August, our choice for President has whittled down to tastes great or less filling; a choice between Bush Lite or Clinton Lite.
Actually, both George jr. and Al Gore are less filling, jr. just has better wrapping. GeorgeÆs dad the ex-pres. certainly seems to have a lot more substance than Junior, whoÆs trying to fill daddyÆs shoes with feet that are too small ù to be expected when father spent most of a lifetime in government and son spent much of his at parties.
Gore has little of ClintonÆs speaking ability or charm and is a textbook politician. At times heÆs about as interesting to watch as moss creeping. If ever a politician was too earnest and eager, itÆs Al, whose idea of a good time is a late night pouring over policy papers.
So here we are America with lighter versions of their recent predecessors as our offerings from the two major political parties for president. Throw in Pat Buchanan for laughs and I see a presidential election about as exciting as Saturday night at the retirement home counting hairs. Junior is aiming to drive up GoreÆs negative perception by repeatedly saying Gore will say anything to get elected, and he will, but so will junior — who canÆt speak from the heart cause he gave it to Jesus. Neither of those attacks are likely to hurt Gore much come in November. Fatigue from Clintonesque politics probably wonÆt hurt Gore much either because people have recognized — or will eventually — that junior plays the same way. And itÆs the best game going.
With no clearly dominant candidate like Clinton in Æ96, and the current candidates running even, the choice in November is likely to be decided by which candidate “tastes great” to more people. Or better yet, which tastes the least offensive to the most people. Gore isnÆt exactly refreshing, but junior is as stale as a bag of potato chips still lying around from his Yale daze. HeÆs got the self-righteous smirk of an old alcoholic who gave up the bottle and swung to the opposite side. He has an amiable personality, but thatÆs about all thatÆs different from his fatherÆs style of politics, and that brings up a bad aftertaste.
JuniorÆs partying days shouldnÆt be held against him; heÆs just a classic case of Dan Quayle Syndrome — not big enough to fill the expectations, but try anyway and make a fool of yourself. If the elder BushÆs psyche was probed about his fateful decision to make Quayle his running mate, the dark secret could be that Quayle reminds the elder Bush of his eldest son. Both Quayle and junior have that caught-in-the-headlights look, both are sandy-haired and moderately handsome. And both are also light on details and prone to gaffes.
Junior unfortunately might make it to the White House. Odds are even at this point. If the economy stays afloat, Gore has an edge. But junior has a secret weapon: Elizabeth Dole. This clear choice for Vice-President will evaporate GoreÆs lead among women and push Bush ahead in the race. SheÆs one the few candidates from the primaries who actually inspired anyone, and her attractiveness as a running mate is undeniable. Plus sheÆs Bob DoleÆs wife, and Bob and Pappa Bush go way back.
Judging by the way she dropped out of the race so early, IÆd say sheÆs already in the bag. She immediately endorsed junior then started campaigning for him, and has made all the right moves since then. From so many angles sheÆs the best choice, and the votes she could sway could make the difference.
Gore will be pressured to find a ringer to counter the Dole effect if sheÆs chosen to run with Bush, and his best bet is a new-generation Kennedy. Question is, is one ready? Michael Kennedy is a leading Democratic fund raiser and party personality. There might be other Kennedys out on parole and looking for something to do.
Bush Lite or Clinton Liteùneither choice tastes so great and both are less filling.