by Myles Kantor
I don't plan on voting for George W. Bush or Al Gore in November, but there's something especially obnoxious about the latter. Tuesday's (sanitized and exclusionary) debate clinched my perception of the Clinton-adulator.
It wasn't just Gore's histrionic rigidity or general sleaziness that did it; it was his Clintonian inability to adhere to norms. And if anything indicates his incapacity to be President, this is it.
Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic gives a good summary of what I'm talking about:
"[H]e ran over his time, he violated the rules which bar the candidates from asking direct questions of each other and he often used the questions as a platform to go off on another spiel. This was really irritating. I bet a lot of viewers objected to these tactics. They seemed calculated and arch, and played into deeper worries about his character."
Some might consider these infractions trivial, but I don't. They point to what would be Gore's executive approach: When the rules stand in your way, get a trampoline. If Al Gore can't so much as adhere to forensic protocol, his prospects for constitutional adherence are grim. (Instead of indulging Gore's prohibited queries, Bush had a golden opportunity to demolish him a la, "I don't know how the Vice President can be trusted to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution when he can't even stick to our mutually agreed upon debate rules.")
Gore has foreshadowed as much, for instance this stated intention in a debate with Bill Bradley:
"I would look for justices of the Supreme Court who understand that our Constitution is a living and breathing document, that it was intended by our Founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people."
This vacuity renders organic law an indeterminate plaything for the judicial class. Don't you wish for once a constitutional radical would have the honesty to say, "Listen, I got an agenda, and if violating the Constitution is what it takes to get it done, that's what I'm gonna do." At least the subversion wouldn't be fraudulently packaged.
Have no doubt: Gore's forensic malfeasance is a portent of what we can expect from a Gore administration. I just hope we don't have to watch this bloodless cipher make a further mockery of American nomocracy by taking the oath of office.
Myles Kantor lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.