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.

Advertisement

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

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.