No matter what the verdict, Al is unappealing
By Shelley McKinney
I'm sure that many of you remember the song from the early 1970's by the group Steam called "Kiss Him Goodbye." It is memorable because of its use of repetitive nonsense syllables in the chorus and has been used frequently at sporting events as a sassy taunt to the losing team.
I had never really considered this song in terms of taunting the losing candidate in an election, but what the heck. Something we have all learned in the four-weeks-and-then-some since the election on November 7 is that there is a first time for everything: a first time for a presidential candidate to willfully try to subvert the rule of law and stage a coup; a first time for a state supreme court to countermand a secretary of state and change the rules of an election in the middle of the game; a first time for the federal supreme court to whack the members of that selfsame state supreme court about the head and shoulders with their gavels and say menacingly "You'd better reconsider that ruling, friends."
Another first has been a presidential candidate demanding recount after recount, filing countless lawsuits, and then appealing every single decision that has gone against him, which has turned out to be just about all of them.
The more Al Gore appeals, the more unappealing he gets, even to the jaded members of his own party. The list of Democrats who are sneaking away from camp in the dead of night is growing larger and larger. They realize, even if Al doesn't, that there is, perhaps, a fine line between looking stalwart and determined and looking like an utter idiot.
"He's on his last legs now. We're at the end game,'' said Democratic National Committee member Ted Kaufman, his metaphors in a gloomy mix. "I worked for Gore, but Bush will be my president."
Earlier this week, Indiana senator Evan Bayh -- who must be thanking God in heaven that he wasn't the one chosen off Gore's short list for running mates -- joined fellow Hoosier politician Representative Julia Carson in saying that Al's days were numbered. "The Florida Supreme Court is going to rule, and if he's unsuccessful in that, I think that's the end of it."
The Florida Democratic Party's vice president, Jon Ausman, was succinct. "We're cooked," he stated.
Gore himself continues to be delusionally cheerful, making an effort to be seen leading a normal, chad-free life at coffee shops, restaurants and movie theaters near his home. He and Tipper have been double-dating a lot with Joe and Hadassah Lieberman, which just seems weird, somehow. One gets the feeling that they're all going to join a Tuesday night bowling league together, if this doesn't end soon.
"I don't feel anything but optimistic," Gore told reporters early last week. There was no word on whether he had developed a strange facial tic yet.
With conflicting rulings handed down from the Martin County/Seminole County cases and the Florida Supreme Court on Friday afternoon, the election continued to stretch out before us all in what seems like a never-ending road strewn with legal briefs, leftover pizza, ballot boxes and lawyers, lawyers, lawyers. Now that the United States Supreme Court has weighed in with its split decision to stay the counting of illegal ballots, perhaps the end is in sight. From wherever he is standing, Al Gore undoubtedly looks at this mess that his ego and his innate crookedness have created and feels well pleased.
But underneath all of his pompous posturing and his boring press statements and his various poses with ice cream cones, double mocha lattes, footballs and movie ticket stubs there's a tiny refrain being played over and over again.
Shelley McKinney is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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