Which brings me to the greatest threat to the Gore campaign. These are tranquil and prosperous times, thanks in large part to policies Gore himself has pushed. But because these are tranquil times, only a hairsbreadth of difference--and I'm not sure what that hair is--separates mainstream Democrats like Gore from mainstream Republicans like Bush. If nothing major happens to disrupt the country between now and fall 2000, this will be a cheerful and issueless election. We just had such an election in 1996, and the candidate of cheerful ease, Bill Clinton, spanked the candidate of awkwardness, Bob Dole. Every time I see Gore, I am reminded of how Dole-like he is: A lovely and smart and funny and wise man who will never look happy on the stump.
George W. demonstrated little but ease this weekend, but in this election, that may just be enough. Al Gore demonstrated everything but ease this morning, but in this election, that may just be not enough.