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COLUMN

How Gore Lost the Election

Mike Hall

Pack your bags. We’re going to MontrÉal.

Next week, Americans from every backwater, two-bit town will elect Texas Gov. George W. Bush president. Despite our best hopes that Vice President Al Gore will somehow steal the election through electoral college games, Dubya appears ever more likely to win the election fair and square, leading by increasing margins in national polls and battleground states.

A happy nation now prepares for Dubya’s breathtaking initiatives, including a brand-new death chamber in every American prison, an antagonistic foreign policy on the eve of international peace, and a national Jesus Day (yes, an additional day besides Christmas) to complement the one he signed into law in Texas.

What of Al Gore? This was his election to win. Unlike Dubya, Gore had the capability to lead without key advisors holding his hand. A self-admitted policy wonk, Gore had the requisite training to lead the country competently. Combine his ability and experience with the economic prosperity achieved under his administration, and you get an attractive candidate ready to waltz into the White House.

Pop quiz, hotshot: You’re a sitting vice president and you’ve presided over economic prosperity for the last eight years. What do you do? If you’re a sensible candidate, you tout your record every chance you get. If, on the other hand, you wish to create your own persona regardless of prior success, then you risk losing the people that supported you in the first place. Gore did just that.

By ignoring the sound economic policy of the Clinton administration and advocating his own initiatives, Gore lost the moderates that supported Clinton in the 1992 and 1996 elections. Furthermore, by ignoring mentioning his administration’s efforts to improve the condition of workers and the urban poor, Gore lost the ear of his formerly faithful liberal core, who then began to listen to the eager Ralph Nader.

Gore’s personality and exaggerations also cost him big in the race. Granted, the veep didn’t lack for effort in trying to endear himself to the American people. He pulled out all the stops, from his passionate smooch of wife Tipper at the Convention to his “poppin’ fresh” interview in Rolling Stone.

In his attempt to become more human, however, Gore forgot to add some human modesty. His exaggerations about his role in government initiatives pervaded his campaign speeches and his debate performances. Factor in his belligerent debating style and you get the impression that the veep cares more about winning a point at all costs than about discovering the truth.

In the end, Gore’s hubris earned him nothing but self-satisfaction. He ignored his record and tried to recreate himself in his own delusional image. For his crimes, America will pay.

It doesn’t concern me anymore, however. I’m heading out on the first bus up north.

Au revoir, suckers.