Democrats Field Gelding in Presidential Horse Race

In which our man Will Durst determines that in politics, there is such thing as too much good advice.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


See, here’s the whole problem with advice. Some people never pay attention to anybody else’s opinion, no matter how desperate they are for help.

Those people would be named Bill Clinton.

Other people wind up taking every stinking little shred of advice to heart, even if they’re ahead in the polls and kicking major swing-state butt. And those people would be named Al Gore.

It’s safe to say Gore got more advice after the first debate than NBC’s programming chief got after the initial ratings for the Olympics started trickling in. Memos must have been blowing around Nashville like a dump-truck load of loose-leaf notebook paper in a squall.

So being the good little daddy’s boy he’s always been, eager-to-please Prince Albert tried to accommodate each and every suggestion thrown at him in his second debate outing. And he came off like Tipper had refused to open the genital lockbox and allow him to accompany his own balls to the debate.

  • His advisors told him to quit making suffocating turtle dove noises and rolling his eyes like he was communicating with space aliens. And he did.

  • They mentioned he needed to have his make up applied by someone with experience working on the living. That was arranged.

  • Somebody said he needed to cover his bald spot. So he showed up sporting a new Rappin’ Ronny ‘do.

  • They cautioned him not mention any specifics he wasn’t absolutely sure of, so as not to bellows the charge that he’s a “master embellisher.” So he became as indistinct as a foggy night at a drive-in movie theater showing a double feature “Fargo” and “Never Cry Wolf.”

  • They warned him not to be too aggressive. So he curled up and rolled over on his back waiting for a nationwide belly scratch that never materialized.

But no matter how much he tried to girdle his personality in order to morph into the kinder-and-gentler Al Gore, he still couldn’t keep from occasionally peering over at Bush with an electric distaste like he just couldn’t believe he was losing the debate to this poisonous weasel toad.

And he lost the pundits and the polls.

So now he has to do exactly the last thing he and his campaign wanted to do: make himself over again for the third debate. Not too hot. Not too cold. This time just right.

Maybe more tan shirts.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate