Democrats Field Gelding in Presidential Horse Race

In which our man Will Durst determines that in politics, there is such thing as too much good advice.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


See, here’s the whole problem with advice. Some people never pay attention to anybody else’s opinion, no matter how desperate they are for help.

Those people would be named Bill Clinton.

Other people wind up taking every stinking little shred of advice to heart, even if they’re ahead in the polls and kicking major swing-state butt. And those people would be named Al Gore.

It’s safe to say Gore got more advice after the first debate than NBC’s programming chief got after the initial ratings for the Olympics started trickling in. Memos must have been blowing around Nashville like a dump-truck load of loose-leaf notebook paper in a squall.

So being the good little daddy’s boy he’s always been, eager-to-please Prince Albert tried to accommodate each and every suggestion thrown at him in his second debate outing. And he came off like Tipper had refused to open the genital lockbox and allow him to accompany his own balls to the debate.

  • His advisors told him to quit making suffocating turtle dove noises and rolling his eyes like he was communicating with space aliens. And he did.

  • They mentioned he needed to have his make up applied by someone with experience working on the living. That was arranged.

  • Somebody said he needed to cover his bald spot. So he showed up sporting a new Rappin’ Ronny ‘do.

  • They cautioned him not mention any specifics he wasn’t absolutely sure of, so as not to bellows the charge that he’s a “master embellisher.” So he became as indistinct as a foggy night at a drive-in movie theater showing a double feature “Fargo” and “Never Cry Wolf.”

  • They warned him not to be too aggressive. So he curled up and rolled over on his back waiting for a nationwide belly scratch that never materialized.

But no matter how much he tried to girdle his personality in order to morph into the kinder-and-gentler Al Gore, he still couldn’t keep from occasionally peering over at Bush with an electric distaste like he just couldn’t believe he was losing the debate to this poisonous weasel toad.

And he lost the pundits and the polls.

So now he has to do exactly the last thing he and his campaign wanted to do: make himself over again for the third debate. Not too hot. Not too cold. This time just right.

Maybe more tan shirts.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate