What in the world were they thinking? Al Gore's internal polling numbers must have been showing a Bush landslide judging by the activity in the past few days.
Let's backup to Wednesday. A few Gore staffers started a rumor suggesting that Ralph Nader was gay. OK, who are you going to bring back to your camp with this type of attack? The type of voters who back Nader would be relentlessly pro-gay. Someone is his camp must have thought this would be a good idea. It's wasn't.
Thursday gave us the "bombshell" of a Bush DUI conviction in 1976. This "leak" coincided with the news of Perot giving his endorsement of George W. on Larry King.
It was a diversion, plain and simple. Someone got word of Perot's endorsement and decided to release the 24 year old conviction. The Gore camp denied any involvement in the leak. I think there isn't enough time to establish a link between Gore and the DUI leak before the election, but I will assume that they have been keeping this in their "just in case" file. Regardless, the news coverage of the DUI has been split equally between the actual DUI and the suspicion that it came from the Gore camp. This is not good news for Gore. These 11th hour bombshells seldom work.
This weekend brought us Al Gore equating this race as "Good vs. Evil" and a little bit of good old fashioned race baiting. Before a black church group on Sunday, Gore pointed to Bush's decision to nominate only strict constructionist Supreme Court nominees and said, "I often think of the strictly constructionist meaning that was applied when the constitution was written and how some people were considered three-fifths of a human being." This is obviously a gross misrepresentation of George Bush's views, and only tells me that Gore is showing a weakness with the black voters.
I believe that right now, Al Gore is preparing his concession speech. The poll numbers they are seeing must be showing that the writing is on the wall. Any candidate that is still trying to shore up his base the Sunday before the election, is going to lose and lose badly.
The outlook for Gore is bad, the outlook for his party may be much worse. Ralph Nader is going to take at least 5% of the popular vote, and have available to him the $12 million of federal matching funds for 2004. This is a scary prospect for the Democratic party. They cannot afford a serious challenge from the left. Clinton's success has been the result of centrist policy, and they can't continue on that platform with Nader and Co. breathing down their necks.
Like Clinton, Bush has a bit of centrist appeal, and the only way the Democrats believe they beat him in 2004 (barring a major economic setback), is to make liberals hate Bush, the way conservatives hate Clinton. What worked to the GOP's advantage this year, may very well work for the Dems in 2004, but something tells me that there won't be a Monica in George Bush's future. At least, I hope not.
© The Cynic, 2000
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