Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
George Walker Bush vs. Albert Gore, Jr.
This is an installment in the series Sex For President, which considers the 2012 U.S. presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the historical context of previous U.S. presidential elections. To read more about the premise of Sex For President, read the first installment: https://americanparser.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/sex-for-president/
Daytime soaps almost went (and eventually many did go, permanently) bankrupt for about a month in late 2000 because of this election, which was so unbelievable it couldn’t have been written. Or could it? Depends on who you ask, I guess. But as I mentioned previously in this series, it just doesn’t matter. After the Y2K bust, Americans were ready for anything. Or so we thought.
Both of these guys were good looking fellows. Before his chin started threatening to double, Al Gore, Jr. was naturally photogenic. It was hard to take a bad picture of him. No matter what his point when he spoke, he always gave the impression of being the voice of reason in the room. But he also was soft, a mama’s boy, an occasionally whiny policy wonk who could put you to sleep with minute articulations of the case he was trying to make. As reasonable as he was in his manner, he could also be a bore.
Bush’s sharper facial features, coarser hair, leaner physique, and glint of mischief in his eyes suggested a personality less inclined to make decisions by internal philosophical inquiry than by gut feelings or common sense. Bush’s disposition seemed more casual than cordial, and more passionate beneath the surface than Gore, but more decisive in a tough moment. Earlier in life, Bush might punch a hole in the wall in a drunken rage, but he would also defend your honor, maybe even before he found out if you had any.
So Bush had an inner Yosemite Sam. Gore was a handsome, Anglo-liberal version of Ben Stein‘s public persona, minus the sarcasm. If Bush had convictions we weren’t sure he understood, then Gore had convictions we weren’t sure we cared about. Of course, I’m making gross generalizations here. Gore could be funny. Bush could be articulate. But as today’s academically dominant relativist pseudo-intellectualism screams from the parapets of our ivory towers, it is not the facts that are important here. It is rather the truth.
Of all the elections we’ve covered so far in this series, 2000 is the one that I must admit was a wash. So we let the lawyers decide. And of course, when you let the lawyers decide, even the winners wonder afterward if it was worth it.