We all secretly knew and feared from the beginning of this campaign that Al Gore would never punch his weight in this contest. His decision to distance himself from Clinton shows a lack of understanding of the true political climate in this country, and frankly does nothing to make me comfortable about his powers of judgment in a crisis situation.
Unpleasant as the prospect of George W. Bush in the White House may be, I think Gore has shown himself to be undeserving of the victory that should have been there for the taking. This whole farcical playing-out may be the best thing that could happen to the Democratic Party right now, if it means that we field a truly credible candidate next time out -- instead of a true political heavyweight's corner-man, as happened this Nov. 7.
-- Alex Grant
I am fed up with Gore bashing! Why don't frustrated California Democrats give Al Gore the benefit of the doubt? One hundred Clinton visits to the Sunshine State wouldn't have helped Gore one bit in the Midwestern battleground states. From where I sit (Illinois), Clinton fatigue is palpable.
-- Leesa Albert
I find it refreshing that the man who was accused by the Republicans of doing "anything to win" would not use President Clinton's popularity to get votes -- especially in contrast to George W. Bush, who ran almost entirely on the strengths of the résumés of his father's friends.
-- Jason Hartley
The notion that the Gore campaign handed the election to an "intellectually lazy frat rat who just happens to be the governor of Texas," in the words of Garry South, and that had Clinton run for a third term it would have been over with months ago, is flawed on both counts. It fails to recognize that truly one half of the country despises Clinton, and thus Gore, in spite of the success of the economy (which the president has no control over one way or the other -- come on!) would not have gotten their votes. Secondly, one does not "just happen" to be governor of anything, much less become the first governor of Texas to be reelected to consecutive terms. Nor are idiots allowed to graduate from Yale and Harvard. (Unless of course you're a conservative, right?)
-- Scott Painter
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is right. Whoever wins the presidential election is going to regret having won it. It seems clear that the Gore team has gotten so caught up in the recount game that they've lost sight of a critical fact: Whichever candidate ultimately wins the election is going to be perceived by half the electorate as having stolen it. Better to be on the outside of such a situation looking in than to be on the inside looking out -- and having to attempt to govern.
-- James A. Bartlett