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The Final Lap: Gore will be Gore if you will be you

By David Lytel

Gore showed remarkable restraint in last night’s final debate. Any of the rest of us would have knocked George W. off his chair. Like a fighter who is facing off against a superior opponent, Bush just danced around the ring hoping for a draw. He did his best to use the debate’s rules to avoid having to actually answer the questions.

The most remarkable thing in this campaign is that Bush is permitted to escape tough questioning and that his evasive non-answers are counted as responses. Bush’s strategy clearly is to refuse to answer questions that would enable voters to judge what his true actions would be in crucial areas like affirmative action, gun control and educational reform.

The governor wants to be judged neither on his record nor on his policies but on his character. Do we know enough about his character to make a judgement? We sure do. As comedian Bill Maher says, “you know who Bush is. We all know who Bush is. He’s the bosses’s son who isn’t qualified for the job…”

George W. Bush is the undisciplined rich kid who could only find a way to make a living by exploiting his family name and his father’s connections. He’s the chief executive who arrives late and leaves early, the leader who delights in his ability to send other human beings to their deaths, the mediocre student who learns just enough to pass and who wants to be graded not on what he knows but by how much fun he is to be around.

Happily, in the final debate Gore showed that he’s done permitting Bush to turn the presidency into a race for class president. The aggressive and energetic Gore is great at rallying voters and now is his chance to cut loose and go after Bush.

But the key to this late-breaking election is not really convincing the “undecided” voters. The central fact that Democrats need to take to heart is that more than half of the eligible voters are not going to make it to the polls. If we want to win there is no action we can take that is more powerful than taking time off during these three weeks of the campaign to make telephone calls to Democrats. Go out and find the get-out-the-vote drive in your local area and sign yourself up.

The path to victory is not going to be getting the world to see Bush as we see him. The key is making sure everyone who sees him as we do gets to the polls. So let Al Gore do what he needs to do in these final weeks. He’ll do his job. Will you do yours?