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Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but this election presents us with a very important decision. There are grave issues facing this country: gun control, campaign finance reform and the very real threat that Kathie Lee might now try her hand at a sitcom.

So let's compare Al Gore with his opponent, Not Al Gore. What do we know about Gore? Well, he opposed the Vietnam war, but served over there anyway so as not to jeopardize his father's re-election bid for the Senate. And there, in a nutshell, is a shining example of Al Gore's heroic willingness to die for his complete lack of core beliefs.

Now maybe when you're actually in the same room with Gore you're bowled over by his personal magnetism and you completely forget that on television he comes across as the slightly desperate manager of a Kinney shoe store in a dying shopping mall, laughing loudly at things that aren't funny, starting every sentence with your first name and trying to convince you that your size-10 foot might actually fit into a size-7 shoe because that brand "runs big."

As for George W. Bush, his number-one priority is overcoming the perception that he is not intelligent. This is difficult, because it's true. George W. gets Dan Quayle to help him do his taxes. So I don't think he should even fight the battle. Turn in the direction of the skid and embrace your dimness, George. Voters like dumb. They're comfortable with dumb. They think dumb is smart.

Supporters point to Governor Bush's education record in Texas, where school test scores have actually risen. But did they really, or did they just hit bottom so hard that they bounced?

But I do like Bush's wife. While Tipper Gore reminds me of the first girl that Carrie killed at the prom, I get the feeling that Laura Bush doesn't really care about George's campaign, and I find that appealing. On the rare occasion she does show up at a public event, she stands at his side like they're at a cocktail party she's been ready to leave for 45 minutes, just far enough away not to interrupt the conversation he's having, but close enough for him to hear her clear her throat and jiggle the car keys in her pocket.

With America humming along so smoothly, it's difficult for either candidate to seize on a burning issue. My prediction is that they'll go personal. Each will attack the other with the ferocity of a fat man eating a lobster when he knows no one's looking. And if Bush brings up all the questionable fund-raising stuff, Gore can fire back with speculation that 10 years ago, Bush was carving more white powder than Picabo Street.

Now everyone thinks Gore is the smarter of the two, but did you know that Bush had the higher SAT scores? And true, while that was 30 years ago, it does say a lot about the man, in that he was obviously able to get a smarter guy to take the test for him than Gore did.

When you boil it down, Gore is the goody-goody. He was the guy in college who could only have sex with a co-ed if he pretended they were already married. He's the Gallant, Bush is the Goofus--the free-riding product of the upper class who's been bailed out more than a submarine with a sunroof.

The truth is that come November 7, we'll have a choice between twin sons of different ideological mothers. Both were raised in powerful political families. Both received Ivy League educations. Both served in non-combat capacities during the Vietnam War. And both possess the finely honed edge of a butter knife in a mental hospital cafeteria.

So how do I pick a president? Much the same way I choose a driver to the airport. Which one will cost me the least and not get me killed? Look, since everything is going so well right now, Bush vs. Gore is not a referendum on the future of our country. Whichever man wins is going to be more of a caretaker than anything else, so vote for the shmoe you think is less likely to send the stock market into a death spiral, and less likely to pander to the more dangerous elements of our society or toil under the illusion that he can and should make a difference. I know that's not exactly a stirring endorsement of our democracy, but if you want happy, go see a fucking musical.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


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