The Florida Moth List

Political commentary and more.
Nov. 16 2000 1:35 AM

The Florida Moth List

A great public controversy (such as a disputed presidential election) impresses the famous and the obscure into service. William Daley, James Baker, Katherine Harris, Bob Crawford, Carol Roberts, Donna Blanton, Judge Charles Burton, and Theresa LePore--all have become familiar faces as they've been pushed onto the national stage by forces larger than themselves.

Then there are the Moths.

Moths are opportunists, attracted by the gleam of lenses, who shove their way gratuitously into a floodlit scene of controversy. Theirs is not easy work, nor is it always easily noticed--many Moths in the Florida vote story, for example, were actually legitimate players in previous events. In order to recognize their efforts, kausfiles inaugurates the Moth List, an up-to-date ranking of the opportunists and self-promoters currently involving themselves in the twisted conclusion of the 2000 Election. The list will be updated periodically as appropriate.

1. Jesse Jackson--Well, this beats his other big recent cause, defending violent high school students in Decatur, Ill..

2. Leon Panetta--Surprise entry; goes on PBS early to play statesman, talk about need for "closure."

3. Robert Torricelli--Book him on your show and he may stab Gore in the back!

4. Laurence Tribe--Pro-litigation Times op-ed says Palm Beach revote should let Gore, but not Bush, add votes.

5. Hillary Clinton--Grabbed some surplus ink by saying she'd eliminate the Electoral College.

6. Carl Bernstein--Tries to play Statesman Game on Geraldo with silly Ford-Carter mediation proposal.

7. Sam Nunn--Another volunteer statesman.

8. Bill Dal Col--He ran disastrous Lazio campaign, then trashed Bush's in the New York Times.

9. Al Sharpton--Formerly AWOL, but you can't keep a good moth down. Plans Florida bus trip to back recount and "see that there are no irregularities."

10. Alan Dershowitz--Why let Larry Tribe get all the face time?

AWOL:

Johnnie Cochran

Floyd Brown

Susan Carpenter-McMillan

Gary Bauer

David Gergen ... oh, there you are on Hardball. Never mind!

Best behaved:

Bill Clinton

Methodological note: I've included Tribe for his half-baked early op-ed pronouncement (for a critique, click here; search for "Tribe"), not for his role arguing Gore's case in Bush's constitutional challenge to the Florida recounts. Tribe was, after all, asked to represent Gore, so his courtroom role can't be called gratuitous. I also haven't listed Sean Wilentz, Paul Berman, and the 3,042 other  American leading lights who took out expensive ads in the New York Times to express hysterical concern about Palm Beach County. I assume they were motivated by a sincere, patriotic interest, not a self-promotional one. Their expression, too, wasn't gratuitous. They just made total asses of themselves.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 12:43 PM Watch Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey Do a Second City Sketch in 1997
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.