"When we carry Iowa in November, it'll mean the end of four years of Clinton-Gore."
August 22, 2000 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Hmph...I guess we're seeing the effects of all that partying he used to do.

Is this really the best the nation can do?!
Heaven help us all.

posted by black8 at 8:44 AM on August 22, 2000

Sure, it's enlightening to see the actual text of the Shrub's gaffes, but isn't this somehow too... easy? Like father's hapless sidekick, this just feels too much like picking on the handicapped or something...
posted by m.polo at 8:56 AM on August 22, 2000

No, that's just why we need voucher-supported private schools - the public schools just aren't teaching good math skills...

Wait a minute...

George W. didn't go to any public schools, did he?

Then, that's just why we DON'T need voucher-supported private schools - they don't teach good math skills either...
posted by wendell at 8:56 AM on August 22, 2000

Gosh. George must be a complete idiot to make an error like that. I guess not every candidate can be smart enough to invent the internet.
posted by Popstar at 9:16 AM on August 22, 2000

It takes some genuine Evil Genius to do to the Military what Clinton/Gore have done...

America needs a total idiot (who can't even REMEMBER large parts of his own military service) to do exactly what the Generals tell him to...

(I'm starting to understand why Al Franken enjoys baiting Rush Limbaugh so much... this is fun!)
posted by wendell at 9:42 AM on August 22, 2000

Of course, sooner or later, Gore will say something totally idiotic - everybody does sometimes.

I only wish some partisan poop-heads would just WAIT for it to happen and not invent it. (heh, heh, heh... he said "invent")
posted by wendell at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2000

Where's Gore's position on ending 'terrors, tariffs and barriers across the world,' anyway? And what about terrier-bearers, George?

One fool or another. The evil of two lessers. If it wasn't for these two dolts screwing up, the 18-month election season would get mighty tedious.

Wait, it still is, isn't it?
posted by chicobangs at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2000

I hate politics.

A guy makes a simple math error and people call it news. "Look he must not be fit for office if he can't say the right thing 24/7!!" The man is being interviewed all day, all night. Cut him some slack.

And if I see that damn "I invented the Internet" quote attributed to Al Gore I'm going to vomit bile all over this keyboard. That is not what he said. Nobody in their right mind would say that. Just as nobody would honestly say they thought Clinton-Gore was in office for four years.

The sad thing is that GWB quote is going to end up in some guy's .sig file. Some loser who dropped out of college to join an "online peanut-butter direct to your door" startup. Yet when the VC funding runs out and he's got "peanutbutterdirect.com" on his resume, he'll still feel good about himself because GEORGE W. BUSH mistakenly said "four" instead of "eight."

posted by perplexed at 10:15 AM on August 22, 2000

Anyone get the feeling maybe Perplexed is actually George Bush Jr.? I mean, the name fits.

posted by Doug at 10:20 AM on August 22, 2000

Regarding the Gore/Internet thing, he stated in a 1998 CNN interview that "during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." This quote is often truncated to such phrases as "invented the Internet" or "father of the Internet.

He later admitted that his choice of words was wrong. While I'm far from being a Gore supporter, I think this type of exaggerated claim is way different than GWB's constant slip-ups.
posted by gluechunk at 10:36 AM on August 22, 2000

Perplexed, thank you for stating my feelings exactly. I would like to think that politics can be a meaningful and worthy pursuit, but after witnessing public discourse fall to the level of parsing through a candidate's speech to look for spoonerisms, pratfalls, and outright boo-boos, I too despair.

Perhaps this is not just an indictment on GWB, or even politicians in general, but on all of us. Maybe we are more careless with our speech now than those that preceded us. Maybe our elected leaders are less intelligent than leaders of the past. Or maybe, just maybe, our attention spans are so brief that we are unable to challenge our leaders to debate the merits of their policies and ideas, and instead settle for nitpicking verbal gaffes and other obvious faults that make for better sound bites.

Until can focus more on issues and less on personalities (and personal faults), how can we expect our candidates to do likewise? Like others have said, Abe Lincoln wouldn't stand an ice-cube's chance in hell if he were running for president today.
posted by Avogadro at 10:44 AM on August 22, 2000

Oh, but really. Does this not all boil down to 'anyone smart enough to run for public office is smart enough to not run for public office?' (I'm sure Will Rogers or someone said that first.)

So what do we do to change this? What has to happen to get modern politics out of the hands of spoiled 9-year-olds and into the hands of grownups? Was it ever in the hands of grownups?

Are we just dumber than we used to be? I don't think we deserve this kind of zero-sum pious-asexual-kiss-ass-news-anchor government model.

We're better than this. We'll die out as a country, as a race, if we can't figure out a way to govern ourselves as a people. If these twits aren't up to the job, then how do we change the system so that people who are qualified (whoever they are) will run and win?
posted by chicobangs at 11:02 AM on August 22, 2000

My favorite Bush gaffe was hearing him talk on NPR one evening, he said something about, "If a father is not willing to take responsibility for his or her children..." and I thought, "Wow, Bush is really open to alternative reproductive technologies!"
posted by straight at 11:08 AM on August 22, 2000 [2 favorites]

Unfortunately, spoiled 9-year olds are easier to control than grownups. Those that have power (read: money) are the ones that still believe that they have a stake in democracy, and as such, seem to be the only ones active in the process. Ergo, we have two people that for all intensive puposes are the SAME CANDIDATE.

There are also far too many people that have abdicated their stake in the public realm, and as such, are content to nitpick the relative faults of the personalities that we call candidates (although I will concede that it's too much fun to resist. Boy, I miss Dan Quayle).

Yes Chico, there are deep systemic problems with the way that we practice democracy (such as having money equal speech), but we also must raise our expectations of government and politicians, and as such, our expectations of ourselves.
posted by Avogadro at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2000

Wouldn't it be funny if, someday, the insatiable demands of slash-and-burn sensationalist journalism which rips candidates to shreds with their past and present blunders finally resulted in nobody wanting to run for president for fear of being exposed as human?

Maybe we don't need a president anyway. Or we could be the first country to elect a supercomputing robot as president. It would probably never make a verbal gaffe but who would really be in control then? Bill Gates, maybe?

I saw Bush's and Gore's campaign advisors on Larry King and that was enough for me. They were clearly shooting for the lowest common denominator (which isn't me) and I have much better things to do than waste time on them. I will not vote this time. The security of my future, ultimately, depends much more on my preparedness for my career, my effort in maintaining my family, and my specific attention to my responsibilities. Who wins the presidency will have virtually no impact on these things which I hold to be the most important to me. Why should I care when caring requires me to take time, energy, and attention away from things the really are important?
posted by plaino at 11:39 AM on August 22, 2000

I think the only people taking these reports of candidate gaffes seriously are the ones who are horrified that anyone dare joke about them. The American public has been getting every detail of these guys' lives shoved down our throats for months now, and even more intensely for a few months to come. When they make a slip, of course we're going to jump on it to have a few laughs at their expense.
posted by harmful at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2000

Speaking as a neutral observer, I think it's ludicrous to say that Al Gore is as stupid as GW Bush. Gore isn't an intellectual powerhouse, correct. But this isn't an isolated gaffe for Bush, who seems to be a few steps beyond mere witlessness (the man doesn't read books, says his favorite political philosopher is "jesus", etc). Conservatives should really face reality on that point, or they will lose all credibility.

And yes, Bush went to Andover, so presumably his low IQ can only have a genetic basis ;)

But the important thing is that all of this is irrelevant. Bush is so indebted to wealthy donors and corporate interests that he doesn't have a lot of room to make decisions "all by himself". Of course, the same applies to Al Gore, Corporate Whore.
posted by johnb at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2000

Wouldn't it be funny if, someday, the insatiable demands of slash-and-burn sensationalist journalism which rips candidates to shreds with their past and present blunders finally resulted in nobody wanting to run for president for fear of being exposed as human?

Colin Powell could probably have the Presidency any time he wanted, but apparently his family (and perhaps he himself as well) just doesn't want it. Apparently this has something to do with the eventuality of their private lives being ripped to shreds.
posted by tingley at 12:18 PM on August 22, 2000

Far as I can tell, it's not about the candidates themselves, and hasn't for years.

Maybe they should make the two of 'em wear their sponsors on their suits, like race car drivers. The Republican Candidate in the Big Tobacco suit versus the Democrat in the Pharmaceutical Companymobile! And just like NASCAR, the only thing required out of the two talking heads at the top is not intelligence or even coherence, but merely the stamina to withstand the race itself.

And Plaino, not voting doesn't mean the outcome won't apply to you. They'll decide on your standard of living whether you vote or not.

Me, I got the slowpoke in the green car.
posted by chicobangs at 12:22 PM on August 22, 2000

If the "insatiable demands of slash-and-burn sensationalist journalism" actually did make most politicians too afraid to run for office maybe someone with some kind of integrity who had nothing to be afraid of would finally step up.

Heheh. On a slight tangent it's pretty amusing (not to mention pretty sad too) when you see the most eloquent speaker at the party conventions was The Rock.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 12:33 PM on August 22, 2000

So Bush isn't comfortable with public speaking. Big deal. I'd like to think of myself as at least somewhat intelligent, and I have a horrible time doing any sort of speeches. I make Bush sound like a natural born debater.

Of course, at least W keeps you awake while speaking (even if it's just to try and catch the gaffes). Can't say the same thing about Gore Jr.
posted by gyc at 3:00 PM on August 22, 2000

I think the big question here is this -- why are these things, these irrelevant slips made in extemporaneous speech, so constantly and consistently thrust in our faces? They're meaningless. They have no bearing on any issue of importance. They are not demonstrative of ability to lead, of ability to do the job which these men seek. They may be funny, but only for about fifteen seconds, then you realise that in the time that it took to report that non-entity slipup, and in the time we'll waste discussing it, we could've become more enlightened on a candidate's position on something that actually has meaning. We could've discussed something that matters to someone else's benefit.

But no, we're too busy laughing at the dunderheads.

We get what we deserve.
posted by Dreama at 4:17 PM on August 22, 2000

It's insane that so many people here are so turned off by this article. It may be nitpicking, it may be petty, but all those quotes are from a 16 (SIXTEEN) minute speech. Yeah, the guy may not be a great public speaker, but then why is he a politician? Isn't one of the most important duties of a leader to....um, lead? And to inspire confidence in those he will represent? Does this crap (which is not an isolated incident) make ANYBODY confident that this guy should represent 260 million people, all of whom, I'm sure, know how long Clinton was in office? I mean, you guys make it seem like if he was up on the podium drooling and sucking his thumb we should all forgive the guy cause it might not effect his ability to lead the nation.

The man is obviously a blathering idiot and can't even make sense of his own jingoistic propaganda. But we shouldn't consider that when voting?
posted by Doug at 4:55 PM on August 22, 2000

I am stunned that there have been ANY comments posted in defense of The Shrub. If you are smart enough to turn on a computer and navigate to this page, then you have no excuse for not seeing right through this simpleton. But, then again, maybe you relish the idea of having a fratboy crackhead as your commander-in-chief.
posted by Optamystic at 5:44 PM on August 22, 2000

maybe someone with some kind of integrity who had nothing to be afraid of would finally step up.

The problem is that everyone should be afraid of what your political opponents will dig up. Truth and facts have no bearing in political attacks. People will come up with stories and make allegations and even if they're all obviously false, the sheer number of allegations will be a reason for the opponents to criticize you. Just look what happened to Clinton. Zealous conservative pundits went crazy expounding on Vince Foster's death, Arkansas state troopers allegedly finding hookers for him, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, the alleged illegitimate children, how many people have died "mysteriously" who knew or worked with the Clintons, Hillary's law firm, all the White House incidents--creatively named, too (filegate, travelgate, etc)--and on and on. And they say, even if certain allegations, or even all allegations, are untrue or misleading, the sheer number is enough to convince them that there's a "pattern." Even if the pattern is only that wacko right-wing conservatives with a personal vendetta made them all up.
posted by daveadams at 9:33 PM on August 22, 2000

I find it sad that people actually believe that mistakes like the ones Dubya constantly makes are irrelevant to the Presidency of the United States. Our President's job is to speak, to direct, to lead. It's also to think, and to have basic understandings of those things which bind us -- and it's hard to argue that language isn't one of them. Could you imagine if Lincoln or Roosevelt weren't stunning public speakers? What if Dubya were called upon to lead the nation in a time of crisis, but couldn't string a verb and noun together?

In addition, a firm grasp of language is frequently a sign of a deeper commitment to education and knowledge. If he can't speak, can't get his grammar ducks in a row, can't even express basic concepts without making huge, horrible blunders, what else has he slacked on in the past? What other learning has huge gaping wounds in it that are going to show soon? The man is a chowderhead, and it scares me that people defend him.
posted by delfuego at 12:24 AM on August 23, 2000

I think chicobangs hit on an interesting concept. Why not a revised system in which the parties acknowledge that the public knows the candidates are bought and paid for by special interest and/or corporate money? Then campaigns and inter-party debates could be built on the merits of each party's contributors and therefore on the specific combination of influences that a party's candidate brings to the office. This is a cynical concept but look at the bright side:
(1) Nobody would care anymore if the candidate could even spell "president" let alone be a leader.
(2) Candidates wouldn't have to make unrealistic campaign promises and wouldn't have to lie anymore (although some may choose to do so anyway).
(3) Parties might actually begin to pick and choose which contributions they accept in order have a more attractive "platform."
(4) And most importantly, the people would finally be able to vote for something real, again.

...just a thought. I'd like to be able to vote for something real.
posted by plaino at 12:35 AM on August 23, 2000

I think American people are in a major funk after the whole Clinton Impeachment episode. The Republicans with their Democratic cohorts managed to halt the Federal Govt. several times over the last 5 years. Despite a Govt. shut down - either over a budget bill or impeachment circus, life in general moved on. The economy could not be any better. The "System" worked so well, I think people have a false sense of security that even a trained chimp can be in white house and the country will move on in its steady pace. Some are even willing to elect an ordinary chimp and experiment with "on the job" training.

(Reminds me of Formula One of a few years back when any and all Rothmans Willimans Renault car would win the championship, year in and year out. Frank Williams let Damon Hill go after Hill had won the championship saying it was the CAR that was the reason for the victories, not the driver. He also let Adrian Newy, the engineer go off to Maclaren. His faith was in "the system," not the people who made it run. Newy designed Maclaren Mercedes have won all the championships since his departure from Williams.)

We sometimes forget - It's always the people who make things work.

Ask yourself, if George W Bush was in charge of writing the Declaration of Independance, the first draft for the Constitution or even the Bill of Rights, would we have the current "smooth system"?

America survived the "Excellent Adventure of Bill and Newt," not because of the stewardship of the current leaders, but the vissionaries of the past.

Who would rather vote for: someone who IN THE PAST had the VISSON to FUND INTERNET? or someone who can't add 4+4?

posted by tamim at 2:18 AM on August 23, 2000

Politics is getting what you want just about anyway you want. It's the original Survivor! But who's Evil Queen?
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:00 AM on August 23, 2000

Cheney must be the Evil Queen. After all, you know homosexuality is hereditary.

I know, I am going to get more flame-broiled than a Whopper for that...
posted by wendell at 3:22 PM on August 23, 2000

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