Good son and prodigal son? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

fromNYT, Oct 10, 2000


His Lyin', Sighin' Heart


Democrats will be holding their breath tonight, hoping Al Gore doesn't release his.

The vice president's campaign woes could make a Nashville country song: "You've been sighin' and you've been lyin'."

What has this race come to in the final stretch? It isn't turning only on issues. Vast chunks of voters are being swayed by a kiss, a sigh, a roll of the eyes, a smirk, a befuddled stare.

Mr. Gore's aides were in a panic about how the imperious, repellent Debate Al seemed to have completely forgotten the sweet, unsmarmy Convention Al.

In a "Clockwork Orange" moment, desperately trying to condition Mr. Gore against another such unbearable performance, his aides even made him watch the "Saturday Night Live" parody of the debate, in which the actor playing the vice president hogs the microphone for a sob story without end, delivered in punctilious tones, and wants to deliver two closing statements.

The aides are also working to tone down Mr. Gore's George Hamilton orange glaze.

Comics have been lampooning Mr. Gore, in his first face-off with W., as a Teacher's Pet from hell, a filibustering, exaggerating know-it-all and an impatient waiter.

It is easy to picture W. as the Sun Belt hick, visiting the Big Apple, who wanders into a fancy restaurant after a performance of "Annie Get Your Gun," which he had to see because "Cats" closed. He gets Waiter Al, who torments him with his superior knowledge when the poor rube doesn't know what a mango compote is, much less a quenelle de volaille with a side of braised cardoon.

You can picture Waiter Al dripping with disdain as he shows no mercy to an out-of-his-depth W. on vinegar reduction and veloutes of spring peas, and, of course, desserts (in a culinary version of his debate lecture "Yugoslavia, as they call Serbia plus Montenegro"): "Bananas Foster, as they call Bananas plus Foster."

"Are you certain you want hot sauce, sir," Waiter Al grills his clueless customer, "for your foie gras poached in pepper court bouillon?"

We should have realized what a martinet Mr. Gore was when his own daughter, Karenna, told this story in the Spike Jonze documentary that aired during the Democratic convention: Whenever the family watches a video, Mr. Gore insists on rewinding to the beginning if anyone gets up to grab a snack or run to the bathroom, and misses so much as the F.B.I. warning.

The problem with Al Gore is not only that he's a goody-goody, but that he's a bullying goody-goody  an oxymoron that seems a total turn-off to the male voters that Mr. Gore badly needs. He tattles on his rivals, he stretches the truth of his experiences, all in a self-defeating effort to seem even more perfect.

Bill Turque, who wrote a Gore biography, says the vice president has been exaggerating for a long time. He liked to say, for instance, that he was responsible for sending people to jail through his crusading work as a reporter at The Tennessean, when in fact no one went to jail, although two city officials were indicted.

"He was always under pressure to be the hero," Mr. Turque said, "so he told stories where he was the hero."

Bob Zelnick, who also wrote a biography of Mr. Gore, agrees: "This grew out of his desire to please his demanding father. . . . He has this need to get more acclamation for his good deeds than they warrant."

Several Democrats told The Times's Richard Berke, as he interviewed voters in Circleville, the pumpkin capital of Ohio, that, believe it or not, they trust Bill Clinton more than Al Gore. The pumped-up vice president's pumped-up behavior at the debate did not transform him into the alpha male he longs to be.

"Clinton has more backbone," Walt Seymour, a warehouse worker, told Mr. Berke. "Gore has never impressed me as being as firm as Clinton."

If voters are feeling good about bad boys, rascals and scamps, Mr. Bush may benefit. Mr. Gore is locked into the Good Son role, while Mr. Bush is the Prodigal Son. The Good Son, on his dogged climb to success, can often seem like a sycophant. The Prodigal Son, on his circuitous quest, putting his sins behind him, surprising the father who had not expected much, can seem more appealing.

What could be more naughty, after all, than running for president when you are aggressively refusing to prepare to assume that office? That is the brazen act of a true rapscallion.

-- Lars (, October 11, 2000


When I was bustin' Broncs, I had a crapstallion.

-- (, October 11, 2000.

ain,t sinners a trip?? hey pray for the goofball!! sinners sin yu know, just like cows can,t help moo ing!

-- not surprised (DOGS@ZIANET.COM), October 11, 2000.

I had a friend in highschool who led two lives. The one he lived and the one he lived in his mind. Sharp guy. Better grades than me but never satisified with. It was physics club, chess club, drama club, school politics, the whole deal. He was terrible at all of them and disliked in all of them. Wound up a fireman. Could have been a damned good one or a good anything except for that "other world". Got suspended for turning in a false alarm that he could rush to and eventually spent prison time for arson. Don't know where he is today but would bet he's still telling shit that aint true just because it makes him feel good.

-- Carlos (, October 11, 2000.

make that "...because he feels he needs to."

Go figgure

-- Carlos (, October 11, 2000.

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