What a relief. All the gasbaggery and phony seriousness and incredible hypocrisy that had gone into this farce could now be applied to other issues.
Other issues such as the sight of Liddy Dole having to answer questions about her married sex life, viagra, erectile dysfunction, Washington D.C. restuarants and Prince Al Gore, who would order room service from hotel kitchens of DC -- from 17 Feb, 1999
Picture Liddy Dole being pestered with questions about her spouse being undersexed -- and then becoming a Viagra guinea pig and spokesman to cure ''erectile dysfunction'' in ads featuring 1-800 numbers -- even as Hillary is pestered with questions about her spouse being oversexed.
''Let's forget the primaries,'' jokes Howard Fineman of Newsweek. ''Let's make it who can get the best table at the Washington restaurant of their choice.''
... Bob Dole's idea of triangulation was to travel from the Watergate to Congress to the ''Meet the Press'' studio. He would appear on the Sunday talk show -- ''the Church of Russert,'' Mr. Fineman calls it -- while Elizabeth went to the Presbyterian church next door.
As the son of Senator Al Gore Sr. of Tennessee, Prince Albert grew up as the capital's version of Eloise at the Plaza, ensconced in a three-bedroom apartment in the elegant Fairfax Hotel on Embassy Row. Sometimes, when his parents went out, the future Vice President would order room service from the hotel kitchen, now transformed into the pricey Jockey Club restaurant.
So, really, the race would be ... between the Jockey Club, which offers rack of lamb with cracked black pepper, basil and jus for $29.50, and the Watergate's Aquarelle, which offers rack of lamb encrusted in a spicy lamb sausage with rosemary and garlic essences for $32.
Such as "the triumph of the cleavage culture", the obsession with sex of cable news and talk shows (Mo Do, of course, having no such obsessions) and advertising rates for BawBawWa WaWa's interview with some chick sufficiently famous that the reader would know her by her first name only, and the unsexy democratic candidates - Al Gore and Bill Bradley: Feb 28, 1999:
The February cover of ''Esquire'' is indistinguishable from ''Playboy,'' with Pamela Anderson embodying ''The Triumph of Cleavage Culture.'' The magazine ponders whether breasts might be ''a symbol of the new culture of falseness that pervades the corridors of power.''Such as a whole column devoted to "Prince Al" and the insufferable inevitability of the Oscar award for best picture for Saving Private Ryan, which must some how conflates with Gore's own sense of inevitability - even though Gore is not sexy, not flashy; while Gore "bulldozed endorsements" and "scooped up money from Wall Street to Hollywood".
Cable news and talk shows, of course, are obsessed with sex. They tried to wedge in Jon Benet Ramsey during a post-impeachment lull that saw ratings plummet, but they were clearly thrilled to see Jane Doe No. 5 wash up. The Washington Post says advertising rates for Barbara Walters's Monica interview were quadrupled to $800,000 for a 30-second spot.
When everyone is trying to be sexy, the only way to make a splash is not to be sexy. Which brings us to Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
On Thursday night, while excited teen-agers hooted in the balcony at ''Cruel Intentions,'' Democrats gathered at the home of Barry Diller for a reception for Mr. Bradley, co-hosted by Disney chief Michael Eisner.
Most other Hollywood big shots are pushing the Vice President. As much as they love Bill Clinton, they say they they are looking forward to a White House that would be more ''Pleasantville'' than ''Peyton Place.''
''With Gore you get the best of Clinton without the distractions,'' said one top director.
When Hollywood urges Washington to be less entertaining and sexy, you know things have gone seriously awry.
A "weird" inevitability kicking in, as the VP "hugs his mantle of inevitability" (perhaps not unlike a self-centered baby-boomer) -- plus Al Gore the liar, liar, pants on fire -- the actor, always playing a part, never comfortable with any of them -- unable to integrate the dualilty of his nature. Well, pretty much no different from George W. Bush - both dauphins with father issues. Thus spaketh Mo Do, in her March 24, 1999 column entitled:
Liberties; Saving Private Gore
Al Gore could do worse than to take a lesson from the Oscars.
Inevitability can be insufferable.
The Vice President could turn out to be the ''Saving Private Ryan'' of Presidential candidates. Last summer, Steven Spielberg's World War II movie was proclaimed all but certain to win best picture. It was worthy. It was good. It was dutiful. There was nothing flashy or sexy about it. It was, in short, Al Gore.
But after months of hearing about the front-runner's invincibility, Academy voters couldn't wait to overturn it -- preferring to make love, not war -- and give the statuette to a sassy Elizabethan upstart with a biting political campaign and a clever message.
Prince Al might do well to nudge aside his Dreamworks team and lend an ear to Harvey Weinstein, the Miramax big shot who toppled ''Ryan'' with his ''Shakespeare in Love.''
Mr. Gore has all the classic trappings of the front-runner. He has bulldozed endorsements from the Democratic chieftains, Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle, and scooped up money from Wall Street to Hollywood. He recycles small, poll-tested policies and bite-sized issues, like creating a special telephone number for commuters in traffic jams.
His itsy-bitsy ''livability'' issues echo Dick Morris, who brought President Clinton back from the brink of political extinction by having him cater to the worries of self-centered boomers. But some Gore supporters wonder if it's wise to repeat the trick.
There's a weird syndrome kicking in. The more the Vice President hugs his mantle of inevitability -- the closer he moves to the prize he has wanted his whole life -- the more skittish he gets about taking chances.
His Hollywood gurus want to rush in with some speech coaching. His old friends see the pressure building and tell him to loosen up.
The more afraid he is to make mistakes, the more mistakes he makes. The more the coast looks clear, the more Mr. Gore throws impediments in his own way.
Even though he has the background and accomplishments to be President, he takes no Clintonesque joy in campaigning and seems insecure, giving curiously flat and airless speeches and needlessly inflating his feats and his history.
Recently the Vice President has repeated the mistake he made with ''Love Story'' and drawn ridicule by boasting that he was the father of the Internet and a master at cleaning hog waste and plowing farmland with a team of mules.
''He's so afraid to make mistakes,'' said one Democrat who has worked with him and likes him. ''You hold everything in and hold everything in and hold everything in and then all of a sudden, stuff pops out.''
He first played the Good Son to his father, the legendary Tennessee Senator and populist stemwinder. He then played the Good Brother to the wayward and sweet-talking Bill Clinton, in a sort of West Wing version of ''East of Eden.'' Now he seems tongue-tied and timid.
The closer he gets to the crown, the less Prince Albert is able to integrate the two sides of his personality. He shows the more appealing side to reporters and friends in private. But get him on a podium and he coils and clinches, reading even the simplest greeting or expression of gratitude in a dead-zone voice. At a Gore 2000 fund-raiser at a Washington hotel, one prominent Democratic supporter derided Mr. Gore's freeze-dried remarks with a sardonic aside, saying, ''Gee, he should think about bottling that.'' Tipper Gore didn't help the sizzle factor by introducing her husband as ''an outstanding fellow.''
Bill Clinton doesn't even bother to recover from mistakes. He just keeps going. Al Gore spends a week plotting a strategy to fix his mistake and finally comes up with a self-deprecating joke at just the moment everyone has started forgetting the original gaffe.
So far, the 2000 race is between two dauphins born at third base. Al and George are the sons of famous politicians named Al and George. While they both may suffer from famous-father syndrome, they are reacting against their dads in different ways. Mr. Gore's supporters worry that he is too controlled and zombie-like. Mr. Bush's supporters fear he isn't controlled enough and in the heat of a campaign may become hotheaded.
One has yet to articulate in a fetching way. One has yet to articulate at all. It won't be long before we look back nostalgically to the days when politics was entertainment.