- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2000

Sticking to the script

"Because Bill Clinton had chosen not to run for president in 1988 and had picked Al Gore as his running mate in 1992, the two men had never faced each other in debate. But Clinton had watched Gore fail, as he viewed it, in debate against of all people Dan Quayle.

"Quayle's 1992 advisers correctly regarded his 1988 encounter with Lloyd Bentsen … as a disaster that must not be repeated. Four years later, Quayle was rigorously prepared for the vice-presidential debate by a team determined to position him, psychologically and strategically, to outflank Al Gore… .

"Whatever question the moderator asked, whatever the provocation by Gore, Quayle was to turn the discussion to Clinton and ask the Republicans' main question: Are you willing to trust this man? …

"Quayle performed exactly as his side hoped… . Quayle started with an attack on Clinton's veracity, ended with another, and hit the trust theme at every step in between… .

"Gore did not adapt in response. Not once in 90 minutes of the debate did Gore try to counter Quayle's increasingly dismissive references to Clinton or to answer his baiting question: Why does this man deserve to be president? Instead, he stuck to the agreed-on script ….

"Gore's team rationalized his failure to defend Clinton as a necessary battlefield decision… . Even now, nearly eight years later, Gore's associates say he was just sticking to the master strategy that he and Clinton had worked out."

James Fallow, writing on "An Acquired Taste," in the July issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Diversity uber alles

"In 1999, San Francisco dished out money to 213 arts and cultural groups supporting many different public celebrations. Some of the big winners were: Cinco de Mayo Carnival and Parade, $162,500; Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Pride Celebration, $75,000; Chinese New Year's Parade, $77,000; and the Gay Men's Chorus, $49,000.

"The city gave money to just about every ethnic group: $5,000 for Vietnamese Lunar New Year; $7,000 for the Aloha Festival; $7,500 for the Min Sok Korean festival; $12,000 for Samoan Flag Day; $21,000 for Martin Luther King Day; $13,000 for Juneteenth; $10,000 for the Mexican holiday El Grito; $27,000 for the American Indian Festival; $40,000 for the Japanese Cherry Blossom Parade, et cetera.

"Veterans are incensed that they get only $1,000 from the city to celebrate Memorial Day, especially since no other group gets less than $5,000."

"Who Needs Soldiers?" in the July issue of American Renaissance

Celluloid therapy

"Bruce Willis denounces greed and narcissism. Nicolas Cage abandons his Manhattan penthouse for a New Jersey shack. Kevin Spacey wants to help make the world a better place. And Chris Rock would rather be penniless and dead than rich and alive.

"If you assumed that avarice and misanthropy were as essential to the movie industry as Palm Pilots, four films due for release in the coming months will challenge that belief… .

"[T]hese four new films are united thematically: The only thing that matters is how you treat others. Money not only can't buy happiness, it impedes it… .

"A cynic might reject these movies as disingenuous … . 'I think it's arrogance on the part of Hollywood people to make movies that say it's better to be poor. I think most people who are poor would disagree with that notion,' [director Jon] Turteltaub says… .

"Part of the appeal for filmmakers is that these movies can serve as celluloid therapy sessions, a way to re-examine their own priorities and the money-grubbing business in which they work."

John Horn, writing on "Can't Buy Me Love," in the July issue of Premiere

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