For me, the debate was over with the welcoming line from moderator Jim Lehrer:
"Welcome, Governor Bush, and Vice-President Bush...er, I mean Gore."
That pretty much summed it up. Even the Voice of Reason could not avoid saying what his mind knew these two candidates are the same damn person!
Tired of me beating this drum? Well, how tired were you last night when "Bush" and "Gore" (I have to put them in quotation marks as I will no longer participate in the ruse that they are two separate and distinct individuals), kept agreeing and agreeing and agreeing?
I kept score. "Bush" and "Gore" expressed agreement or support for each other's positions THIRTY-TWO times! Even Lehrer asked them at one point how the average voter was to decide what the difference was between them. "Gore" answered, "Well, I don't hear any disagreement in the last few exchanges." When "Gore" did express a mild disagreement later, "Bush" seemed all upset. "Bush" responded: "Well, I think it's hard to tell."
"Uh, on...he says he agrees with me and then he doesn't!", "Bush" whined. "Gore" quickly got back to agreeing.
Here's the list of issues and positions over which they exclaimed their love and support for each other last night:
- They both agreed on Israel.
- They both agreed to blame Arafat.
- They both agreed on the war against Yugoslavia.
- They both agreed on more money for anti-ballistic missiles.
- They both agreed it was right not to intervene in Rwanda.
- They both agreed it was right to invade Grenada.
- They both agreed it was right to invade Panama.
- They both agreed the Gulf War was right.
- They both agreed to train Nigerian troops.
- They both agreed on supporting Australia in East Timor.
- They both agreed to train Colombian troops in the Drug War.
- They both agreed they would be "judicious" when deploying U.S. troops.
- They both agreed not to "overextend" the U.S. military.
- They both agreed it was right to bail out Mexico.
- They both agreed on not making loans to "corrupt governments."
- They both agreed to sign a federal racial profiling law.
- They both agreed that gays must not be allowed to marry.
- They both agreed that hunters and homeowners have the right to own guns.
- They both agreed that we need "gun-free schools."
- They both agreed on making trigger locks available.
- They both agreed to support background checks at gun shows.
- They both agreed to follow "the golden rule."
- They both agreed on making the environment cleaner for our grandchildren.
- They both agreed on mandatory testing in schools.
- They both agreed on "local control" of schools."
And the list went on. "It sounds like we have a love fest here tonight," remarked the commentator from CNN.
Other high points included "Bush" talking about how teenagers' "hearts turn dark as a result of being on the Internet," and then telling young adults without health care and who are not buying their own health insurance that it was "in your interest to start saving for future illnesses."
"Gore" declared "I am not for doing anything with rifles, shotguns, existing handguns" in other words, he will do NOTHING about the current 240 million guns in people's homes. He also said that he supported 7 out of the last 8 U.S. military invasions in the past 20 years (he doesn't support the Lebanon debacle now, an easy position to take after 200+ Marines lost their lives in that bunker).
Of course, everyone agrees the most chilling moment came when "Bush" licked his lips while declaring he was going to put three men to death in Texas for the murder of James Byrd (actually, only two of the three will be executed, but, hey, who's counting when you've already offed over 140 human lives!). "Gore" said nothing, as he too supports the death penalty.
My good friends who are "Gore" supporters have been miserable all day. They could not believe how he just sat there and, other than pointing out the rotten state of child health care in Texas, let "Bush" go on and on, never challenging his facts or his record. All the polls agreed the people thought "Bush" won, and, more frightening, they started to like him and see him as "presidential." For the first time, a lot of people saw the distinct possibility of a George W. administration.
So, as you can imagine, the e-mails started pouring in immediately.
"Mike! Back off with this Nader thing! Gore is going to lose!"
Yes, he might. But, let me ask you ? is this Ralph Nader's fault or Al Gore's? Did Ralph Nader tell Gore to sit there like a wimp last night? Did Ralph Nader tell Gore to just agree with whatever drivel came out of Bush's mouth? Did Ralph Nader abandon the working class backbone of the Democratic Party for 8 years? Why the hell do you think Bush is ahead in most polls "during the greatest economic prosperity in our history?" Voters NEVER want a change when the economy is "booming." NEVER! So why do you think this is happening, my fellow members of the computer and Internet elite?
Because the average working stiff has seen little or none of this so-called prosperity! They are working their collective ass off, living from paycheck to paycheck. You can buy this baloney that "50% of the public now owns stock," but the truth is that just 5% the richest 5% of the citizens in this country own 75% of all the stock! So, don't act surprised if Joe Blow is not that interested in continuing the party that Clinton and Gore have been throwing for Wall Street.
I am sorry things have turned south for Gore. As I have said before, I have met the man and I believe him to be a decent and good person. But he and his partner lost their way a long time ago. And now he is paying the price. This has NOTHING to do with Ralph Nader. It has everything to do with having the courage of your own convictions.
Don't e-mail me. Send your letters to Al "George" Gore, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS. Tomorrow night (Friday), episode two of "The Awful Truth," the personal favorite of the staff "Bush vs Bush: Which Governor Will Execute More People?!" It's a thrill-a-minute play-by-play! Also, the "African American Wallet Exchange Program," wherein we hand out Day-Glo orange wallets to protect black residents of New York City after the shooting death of Amadou Diallo. Bravo, 8pm and 11pm ET (all other time zones knock off the requisite number of hours).
PPS. The Big Madison Square BlowOut for Nader is also Friday night! Eddie Vedder, Ani Difranco, Ben Harper, Bill Murray, Patti Smith, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Phil Donahue, myself, and of course Ralph Nader. Doors open at 7 p.m. To get tickets, call 212-353-3111 or 212-254-4194.
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