by Paul Tullis
OK, I have a confession to make. Yesterday , when I said there was no newswell, that was a big fat lie. Fact is, I was sucked into news of the conventions because of my job. Margie said I had to come clean. You see, I had to edit an article in Might by our election correspondent, MSNBC commentator Marc Herman (who, I must add, drove to San Diego in a rusted El Camino). I loved his line, "The only dead Democrats not invoked in Chicago were the ones who elected Kennedy," and made it into a pull-quote. Other than that, I didn't touch a thing, since I basically didn't have a clue, and passed it on.
My roommate Tom, a jazz musician, offers the following commentary on the first debate:
"Neither one was particularly stellar. Clinton wasn't being offensive or defensive; He was just being. And he didn't make any mistakes! Bob Dole had opportunities to whip Clinton's ass many times, but didn't. The most telling part was when Dole was asked about character. 'I don't want to attack anybody personally,' yadda yadda yadda. But he didn't go on to say, here's my character. He just tried to downplay the whole World War II thing, which is a shame because that's who he is. It's just pathetic. Dole looked like somebody who was losing and grasping at straws, and Clinton, well, I think he's looked better."
My friend Bob compared the second debate to a post-game interview with a basketball player. "It was all cliches. 'I'm just going to give it 110 percent, you know, their offensive line really beat us off the blocks and we're gonna have to do better in the second half.' You could have turned the volume off and known exactly what they were saying. The whole thing had the drama of a high school essay contest. You're really not missing anything."
My Sister, the graduate student, has nothing to offer but "general mirth." Her boyfriend says, "I thought General Mirth did quite well, actually. I'm going to make him my write-in candidate." Ta-dum-dum.
(editor's note: Tullis included a cryptic unabomber reference at the bottom of this entry.)
Mikki tells me that Perot called Bob Dole weird. I'm not sure if this is cheating, but I'm glad she told me because you know, irony really makes life worth living.
I went for a walk on the beach yesterday with a friend (I can't tell you her name because she has a boyfriend and she had lied to him about where she was going and...oh, never mind.) I prodded her for juicy campaign info, but she wasn't much help there. She did, however, say something really interesting. She noted that whenever things in the country are going smoothly, the incumbent wins, and when they aren't he doesn't, and from this she extrapolated the idea that presidential elections aren't really about the candidates at all, but about the voters. "It's like a referendum on how people feel about themselves," she said. "If they think life sucks, they project their personal failures onto the president and vote for the challenger. But if everything's cool, it's like they don't want to fuck with anything that could change their personal happiness, so they vote for the incumbent." We poked a jellyfish-looking thing, watched some surfers and headed back. I silently wondered if Bush would still be president were Prozac as widely prescribed in '92 as it is today.</end>
Next Week: The Election! Don't forget to vote. More importantly, don't forget to turn to STIM on Monday November 4th for Tullis's unmediated prediction and on November 6th for his concluding statements. Tullis is also hosting a discussion thread in COW. Strip him of his innocence while you still can!
Paul Tullis is senior editor of Might magazine. He lives in San Francisco.