Yikes. If the pundits are to be believed, George W. Bush came just short of winning the presidency with his sure-footed performance in Wednesday evening's second presidential debate. And Al Gore can basically kiss the Oval Office goodbye because of his own languid performance. The truth is probably more uneventful. Gore stopped the bleeding on the arrogance, exaggeration front; Bush helped himself on the dork front. So it's basically a wash. The only problem for Gore is that the tide was already moving in Bush's favor before the debate. So a tie may count for a Bush win.
December 17, 2000 -- Popular Mandate
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer Al Gore's lead in the popular vote now stands at 540,435. Think of that. More than a half a million votes.
I don't want to make too big a deal of this. But I think that at half a million votes, Gore's margin pushes past a certain psychological threshold. In the national vote this really wasn't a "virtual tie." Bush lost. Narrowly, yes. But he lost (Historical perspective: Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford by 678,000 votes in 1976).
Make a note of it and have it on hand for future discussions about Bush's mandate.
December 21st, 2000 -- Souring on the Citrus Commission
Last month when Jeb Bush recused himself from sitting on the state Elections Canvassing Commission, he tapped Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford, a Democrat, to take his place.
At the time, I was a little surprised that this pick didn't draw a touch more critical attention. Why? Crawford had supported Jeb's gubernatorial candidacy in 1998 and he supported W. for president this year. In my neck of the woods we have a name for Southern Democrats who supported George W. Bush. We call them Republicans.