To bolster the Democrats' message that Gore is human, an endless series of Gore's friends and family members took to the stage throughout the convention to issue personal testimonials about what a witty fellow Gore is in private. By the end of it all you had to marvel at how well he keeps that amazing sense of humor under wraps. This guy must reach Olympian heights when he's alone in the bathtub.
In point of fact, Gore is so bereft of authentic feeling that his every motion is transparently phony. The man is a collection of weird tics and false sanctimonious gestures -- the back tilt, the shrugged shoulders and the arch chuckle. Most awkwardly, Gore couldn't help but slip back into that patronizing kindergarten sing-song voice his advisers have spent so long trying to beat out of him.
In an embarrassing fluke, the sappy biographical video shown before Gore's speech included a Halloween photo of Al Gore dressed up as Frankenstein. This remained the most natural image of Gore shown throughout the convention.
His speech-of-a-lifetime did bear witness to how his great sense of humor seems to dissipate whenever anyone's watching.
In the verbal equivalent of George Bush Sr. looking at his watch during the 1992 townhall debate with Clinton, Gore could not read his speech fast enough. He just kept rushing through that windbag of a speech and stepping on his applause lines as if he wanted to spit out the whole garbled mess as quickly as possible and get back to the bathtub where he really hits his humor stride.
Gore promised to be a virtual whirligig of a president, enacting every issue under the Rainbow Coalition. He ran through innumerable promises of assistance for "working families" -- a euphemism for families in which no one works. One piece of assistance noticeably not offered "working families" was a right to notification before a particular invasive surgical procedure is performed on their teen-age daughters.
Indeed, when Gore promised to save Roe vs. Wade, he got his longest and most heartfelt round of applause. He mentioned national defense and got only a lukewarm reaction. He mentioned America's role in freeing the world "from fascism and communism" -- polite applause. He said he would fight for the victims of crime -- sporadic clapping. But the mere mention of Roe vs. Wade and total pandemonium broke out! This is a party that apparently cares about nothing as much as killing little babies.
Of course, Gore did pique the delegates' interest with the intriguing possibility of more goodies from the federal government. He ran through a mishmash of demagoguery, from universal preschool and "lifelong learning and new skills" (whatever) to clean drinking water for "every child in America." That the last one got a round of applause shows how desperate the audience was for applause lines. Is clean drinking water a big problem I'm unaware of?
I'm not being a snob: In America's own little slice of the Third World, Washington D.C., you can't, in fact, drink the water. No one told me this until after I had been living in D.C. -- and drinking the water -- for several months. But to get to the nub of the matter, like everyone else, I got myself a water purifier. Everyone in D.C. has a water purifier. So what is the president going to add to this simple commercial transaction? Buy us all water purifiers?
Why yes, he is.
Indeed, if chosen to be the next Leader of the Free World, Gore also promised to get "cigarettes out of the hands of kids before they get hooked"; to work for parents "trying to find a little more time to spend with your children"; and to ensure "our responsibility to our loved ones, to our families" (which he specifically described as "something at stake in this election").
And if you haven't had time to clean the leaves out of your gutters, the federal government will be there for you. Then the president of the United States will go into your bathroom and tell funny jokes.