Gore Teases; Congress Greases

Will Saletan and Timothy Ireland

Gore Teases; Congress Greases

Will Saletan and Timothy Ireland

Gore Teases; Congress Greases
An email conversation about the news of the day.
July 26 2000 11:08 AM

Will Saletan and Timothy Ireland

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Dear Tim,

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Al Gore lied to me! Two days ago, he promised to conduct his vice-presidential search discreetly. "I've handled my process differently than the Bush campaign has handled theirs," he said. "I've kept it private and, I hope, dignified out of respect for the individuals, the men and women who are under consideration, and I am going to continue to approach it that way." I knew Gore was serious about this promise, because he delivered it to a bunch of reporters on his campaign plane. But now I read in today's Washington Post ("Gore Steps Up His Search for Running Mate") that yesterday Gore sent the head of his VP search committee, Warren Christopher, "for a second interview with Sen. Tom Harkin (Iowa)" and "invited the press to snap pictures of him meeting with [Christopher] and later attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the home of another prospective running mate, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.)." (Was it a fund-raiser or just a "finance-related event"?) Gore announced, "We're getting down to what you would call a short list." Photo ops and teasing! What kind of privacy and dignity is that? I expected more from a man who treated his sister's death and his son's grave injury with such privacy and dignity at the last two Democratic conventions.

What distresses me most about Bush's selection of Dick Cheney is that it has pushed Alan Keyes out of the presidential race. (What? You thought Keyes had already dropped out? See, there's your problem. You've lost the courage to believe in our nation and its founding principles. You don't have the guts and decency to stand up for what's right in this country and in the eyes of the God who made us.) Yesterday, Keyes announced that since Bush has picked a pro-life running mate, Keyes is no longer a candidate and will support Bush. What a relief. In case you're wondering, Keyes delivered this endorsement while in Boston "to support conservatives who criticized a workshop held for gay teens at Tufts University. ... Keyes said the workshop's teachings violated the rights of parents who believe homosexuality is immoral." I don't know. It seems to me kids are more likely to be lured into homosexual activity by passing some guy around a mosh pit.

Enough about running mates. The Post has an update from Capitol Hill. The House of Representatives once again proved its diligence by cramming in as much of the nation's business as possible before the summer recess. According to the Post,

dozens of pet projects were dusted off and rushed to the floor. ... A nonprofit group in Cincinnati would get $16 million to build the Freedom Center, which will promote awareness of the Underground Railroad--the network of safe houses used to harbor slaves seeking freedom in the North before the Civil War. The Library of Congress would receive $250,000 a year to create and operate a national registry to preserve recordings deemed culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.

The Post says the projects funded during this annual frenzy are known as "suspension" bills because the House suspends its rules to grease them through. I prefer the more conventional term, "looting."

Permit me one morbid thought about this crash of the Concorde in France. Reportedly, 96 of the 113 victims were German tourists who were flying to New York to "board a luxury cruise ship" for "a 16-day tour of the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, to Manta in Ecuador." The average round-trip ticket for this flight was around $10,000. Can you imagine the estate taxes those families must owe in Germany? Somewhere, Trent Lott is shedding a tear.

Timothy Ireland is a media consultant and former political reporter for the New York Daily News. Will Saletan writes Slate's "Frame Game" and "Damned Spot" columns.