Alert!: Boring Political Commentary

Al Gore gave a speech today that everybody on the radio is buzzing about. (Audio link comes from

The first I heard about it was on Rush Limbaugh. A listener called in and compared Al Gore to that kid who already graduated from high school but still hangs around the parking lot trying to impress people. At that point I had no idea what she was referring to (although I think the metaphor was pretty accurate of Gore in general).

Later, though, I heard actual audio clips of Gore's speech (I haven't waded through the entire 59 minutes of it and probably won't). Say what you want about the war in Iraq, Gore was going overboard. At the top of his lungs, he was calling for the resignation of basically every member of the Bush administration that touched the war in any regard.

Ok, so lots of liberals are calling for the resignation of administration officials. That's nothing really new. What struck me wasn't the speech itself. It was the reactions of the conservatives in the media (by which I mean the three I've heard so far: Rush, Sean Hannity and George Will). They were saying things like "Can you believe he could have been president?", "This is why he wasn't elected.", etc. Don't they remember what they said just three and a half years ago? The way I see it, one speech like this would have made him president. For months during the 2000 campaign, people complained that Gore was as dry as sandpaper in a Mormon township. Pundits said that he had to show that he was passionate about something. Well, this speech showed passion I've never heard in his voice. Where was that in 2000?

I'm going to make up some math right now on the spot to prove my point. According to the 2000 cencus, the population of Florida was 16 million people. Lets say 2/3 of those people are actually eligible to vote. That makes about 10.6 million people. According to stats I'm sure I read somewhere, only about 50% of people voted in the 2000 presidential election. That leaves 5.3 million voters. Bush won Florida by about 450 votes. So a change of 250 votes from Bush to Gore would have changed the election from Bush to Gore with some to spare. 250 votes is roughly .005% of all votes cast.

Could a little bit of personality have changed .005% of peoples' opinions? Well, look at it this way. That percentage equals roughly 5 in 100,000 people. Now think of all the people you know. Surely you don't have 100,000 friends (except my friend Marianne, but she doesn't count). But of all the people you know, surely at least 2-3 of them are the kind of people (coughmoroncough) who voted for the guy whose campaign commercial they heard last.

So, basically what I'm trying to say with all these fuzzy numbers is that anything Gore did in the last election to make himself look like a human being would probably have won it for him.

Don't you love the American political system?

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