Elian Nation

In which Will Durst marvels at Al Gore's political limberness on the issue of Elian Gonzalez and wonders if the Buena Vista Social Club will make up the Gore administration's cabinet.

| Tue Apr. 11, 2000 12:00 AM PDT

So now Al Gore thinks Elian Gonzalez should stay here with his new family in Miami, a more southern suburb of The Magic Kingdom. Tomorrow he'll probably go to South Carolina to proclaim the state is qualified to decide the Confederate flag situation on its own. And then he'll say New York voters would be fools to be swayed by fast-talking carpetbaggers.

All of which proves two immutable facts: 1) Florida is so electorally important that the vice president is willing to risk throwing his back out executing a double flip-flop on the South Coast's crowded main stage; and 2) Al Gore will say anything to be President. This latter fact has left pundits shocked. Shocked! A politician willing to say anything to become elected? What is the world coming to?

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We couldn't possibly elect anyone who would tell us whatever we want to hear simply in order to become elected president, could we? I mean, people love Bill Clinton and people hate him, but we can all agree old Brillo Head has always stuck to his guns, and never waffled in any of his stances. Oh. Thats right, there was a modicum of syrupage. Well, then, George Herbert Walker Bush never thought he could get away with ... oh. Yeah, but, Ronald Reagan ... never mind.

Wonder how long it'll take Al Gore to surface in Utah accusing Clinton of having the ethics of a rutting spring rabbit. Then he'll claim he's an advocate of campaign finance reform. Oh. But that would never happen unless George W. first declared himself a reformer. Oh, wait ... he did that already.

Maybe Al was taken aback by Fidel Castro's decision to kill us with acquiescence. We wanted Elian's dad to come and take the kid home. OK. We got him -- Elian's dad has come to America. But that's not all. So has his stepmother and his half brother and his cousin and soon, perhaps, a couple of teachers and a dozen classmates and his desk and his doctor and a team of psychiatrists and a legal advisor and, for all we know, the Buena Vista Social Club and a left-handed reliever with a wicked split-finger fastball.

The Cuban strongman (that's what we call tough guys we don't like: strongmen. The tough guys we do like we call beleagured stalwarts of justice) says, "We're going to bring [the city of] Cardeñas to Washington." Why not? We've already brought most of Colombia to Hollywood.

Say what you will about the socialist system, you do have to admire their ability to get permission slips from parents. I imagine the instructions for this international field trip were a bit different:

  • "Do you promise to come back even if imperialistic cretins celebrate your birthday every day?"

  • "Will you be sure to point out wage disparities between the stockholders and characters with removable heads at Disney World?"

  • "Remember to accept all cigars only to spit them out, saying 'What infertile soil produced this manure-and-twig sandwich?'"

The good news is they will all get puppies. The bad news is they have to make the trip in rusted-out life rafts with their own goats.

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