Brian "Kingfish" Trascher


Search the Web's most comprehensive Political Directory:

Submit a site

Alex Aichinger
Kirsten Andersen
Brent Barksdale
The Cynic
Natalie Farr

Joe Giardiello
Bret Hrbek

Ramesh Ponnuru
Dorothy Seese
Jason Soter


Special Adv. Section:
  Help Get Out the ANTI-GORE Vote!


Talent outshines the issues in 2000

By Brian "Kingfish" Trascher

Bombs Away  

See the new predictions

Well, it’s the heart of election season again. With the inundation of all the political ads, many people probably wish the Presidential Elections were held more infrequently than every four years.  Make no mistake about it, however, Gore and Bush have been campaigning for far longer than the few months that you’ve probably been paying attention to them.  For Al Gore, it’s been a lifetime ambition, and for George W. Bush it’s been on the radar at least since 1992.  For the last eight years we have seen some of the most brutal partisan fighting in history and it all boiled down to who had the most political talent.  So who was the victor?  Definitely Bill Clinton.  So why after eight years of a record economic turnaround is the incumbent Vice President losing?  Let’s take a look at the political cycle since good ol’ 1992.

Bill Clinton was sworn in as President in January of 1993 after upsetting the popular Gulf War President George Bush.  How did this unknown Arkansas governor rise from the Razorback State to the Oval Office?  Talent.  Not only was Clinton one of the most able politicians we’ve seen in a while, he was also smart enough to surround himself with the proverbial “Dream Team” of  political talent (i.e. Carville, Stephonopolous, etc.)  Clinton immediately goes to work to put gays in the military and lets his wife draft a proposal that would completely socialize health care in America.  By the way, he was taken to the wood shed on both of those issues.  This guy is dead in four years, right?  Wrong.  Why?  Talent. 

In 1994 the Republicans swept the House and Senate in what was mostly translated as a repudiation of Clinton’s first two years.  Now the GOP has a figurehead in Newt Gingrich, or as the Democrats see it, a target.  For the next two years, the DNC and White House spinsters succeed in making the Speaker Gingrich the most hated man in America.  Every possible problem any American had was in some way blamed on Newt Gingrich, and the American people fell for it.  The Republicans, even though they initiated economic policies that caused the most dramatic turnaround of the century, sat by idly as the Democrats blamed them for shutting down the government.  To this day, even though it was obviously Clinton’s doing, the Republicans are blamed for the ’95 government shutdown.  Why?  Talent.

For the next two elections (’96 and ’98), every Republican running for any office in America had his or her picture on a TV screen with Newt Gingrich, and subsequently had their rear-ends handed to them.  In 1997 (or early 1998), a Christmas present came to the Republicans a little late.  Shockwaves went through Washington, D.C. as reports of a sex scandal with a 21-year-old intern came to light.  Not only did the rumor turn out to be true, but it turns out that Bill Clinton actually lied under oath regarding the affair and also suborned perjury by trying to quiet the young intern.  He’s a sitting duck, right?  Negative.  Why?  Talent!  The Republicans were so shell shocked from being completely demonized that they totally flopped the opportunity to send Clinton packing, and instead held a sham of an impeachment and ended up tarnishing their images even further.  The Republicans desperately needed some talent of their own.

In 1998, the popular Governor of Texas, George W. Bush, was handily re-elected to a second term.  He had received almost seventy percent of the vote, while also securing record support from African-Americans and Hispanics, which is unheard of for Republicans (thanks to the talent of Democrats).  Buzz words like “Compassionate Conservatism” were heard throughout Texas and then throughout America.  Every Democrat in America began shaking in their boots.  This guy doesn’t look like the typical racist, gun toting, school lunch stealing, old people freezing, impeachment witch-hunting, tobacco to kids giving, anti-choice, redneck image that they had worked so hard to paint for Republicans.  Instead, GWB had a reputation of reaching out to Democrats in Texas to get things done, and had a policy of inclusion which is why he enjoyed unprecedented support from minorities.  The Democrats knew they were in trouble.  Why?  The Republicans found some talent.

So here we are in the year 2000 and Gore and Bush have secured the respective nominations from their parties after what some would call heated primaries. (That’s actually due to the media’s talent)  So now the real contest begins.  GWB stays on the same message that had brought him to the top in Texas:  Compassionate conservatism, lower taxes, smaller government, more local control, honesty and integrity.  Al Gore hires consultants that feel the first thing they have to do is turn him into an “Alpha Male”.  Of course, anyone who actually knows what that is has absolutely no chance of becoming one.  So here come the earth tones, new hair, new accent (which still varies depending on what part of the country he’s in) and anything that will shed Gore of the cold, stiff, dorky, kid who got beat up every day in school image.  What happened to all the Democratic talent?  Well, personally I think they all made so much money off of TV and book deals that they became too good for the political consulting business.

The Republicans, along with the Bush camp, are finally starting to say things that the rank-and-file have been screaming at the top of their lungs for eight years.  Things that have finally started to change their image to something that the average American may actually vote for.  While Gore, on the other hand, has been out reinventing himself every day and getting caught in multiple lies (well, the compassionate term would be “exaggerations”).  If you ask most Americans today who they will vote for, they will not even mention any particular issue, but rather which guy they “like” the most.  That spells bad news for Gore because Bush has been up by ten to twenty points in every “likability” poll.  Why?  Talent.

© Brian Trascher, 2000

The “Kingfish” is a political analyst from Louisiana and is an expert commentator on National and Louisiana politics.  He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Political Science.


See our latest columns:
Black Entertainment Television grills the first black president on racial profiling
The University's invisible heavy hand
Dorothy Anne Seese sees a big target sticking up in the air
A House Manager faces the music
Alan Caruba wonders what an ex-president is to do
Joseph M. Giardiello reports on the freefall that was the Gore campaign

We call 'em:  PoliticalUSA Election Predictions

View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.

Home | PUSA Columnists | Talking Heads | Directories | News
Chat Boards | Links | Advertise | Submit | Contact | Shopping

Copyright Political USA, 1999-2000. Unauthorized use of materials is prohibited. If you want something, just ask us!