Indiana Daily Student

On the road to the White House

In a smoke-filled back room of George W. Bush's campaign headquarters, several interns are rehashing (and embellishing) the previous evening of parties and indiscretions.\n Meanwhile, over glasses of fresh-squeezed kiwi-guava-passionfruit-coconut-yum-yum, top Bush campaign advisers are trying to figure out what is going wrong. \nWhy, all of a sudden, is it a problem that Dubya seems so dumb? All fall and all summer, a majority of the American people seemed pleased as punch to have Mr. "I ain't gonna learn, even if it kills me" running for the highest office in the land. In fact, many hardcore Republicans seemed giddy at the chance to elect someone with less foreign policy experience than the dimmest cast member of "Survivor."\n(What kind of contestant would Bush have made on this summer's highest rated display of humanity at its worst? Would his smile and folksy sense of humor have won over even Richard?)\nAboard Air Force II, the vice president's family is gathered around its dinner trays, waiting for Al himself. Karenna, Gore's most politically active child, is going over the lines for her next sincere homage to Daddy's loving antics. "Did you know he made me…," she winces, angry that she can't remember this crucial part, and peeks at the script. "Did you know he made me toast with butter? Toast with butter. Toast with butter. OK."\nAcross the table, Tipper Gore sits enthroned in the awe of pundits, campaigners and politicians everywhere. With a single kiss, she turned her losing husband into a poll-climbing sex cat. \n(Did you miss the kiss? So did I. The long lip lock happened right after Al Gore's speech at the Democratic National Convention, and has been credited for boosting Gore's standing in the polls by 15 to 20 points. It was apparently the most important political event of the summer. Some summer.)\nSomewhere else on Air Force II, Al Gore is doing sit-ups. Lots of sit-ups. \nIn Florida, Joe Lieberman is talking about God. This interesting habit has turned Mr. Lieberman, Gore's running mate, into quite a phenomenon. For the last 20 years, ever since Jimmy "The Born Again" Carter was kicked out of office, talking about faith has been the domain of Republicans such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. But Holy Joe can pepper a speech with prayer while still holding tight to his centrist but ever Democratic beliefs. \nThis is a real problem for Republicans. How can they insinuate that Democrats are a Godless people if Lieberman goes around telling crowds, "We need to … renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose?"\nEn route from Idaho to Wyoming, Dick Cheney's formidable figure is crunched into the backseat of a maroon Chevy Celebrity. How is it that this experienced, accountable behemoth of Republican sobriety has turned into George W. Bush's most embarrassing liability? Who was to know that he would have in his closet an uncomfortably conservative voting record from his days in the House? How could you expect Dubya to know that Cheney's big oil employers would give him a retirement package worth millions? \nMore to the point, why did Gore have to choose an exciting, interesting running mate who makes Cheney looked like a stuffed burlap sack? As Dick drives on from Boise to Cheyenne, his stern sense of loyalty is the only thing that comforts him as he scans a schedule of speaking engagements at retirement homes and out-of-the-way junior high schools. \nSomewhere in the darkest part of his campaign plane, George W. Bush is taking a nap.

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