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Bush Might Have Won the Campaign But Gore Should Win the Election This has been the strangest of American election campaigns the most exciting in 40 years in terms of the closeness of the contest yet one in which both major candidates have utterly failed to capture the national imagination The lead in the polls has changed hands half a dozen times since September and even at this late stage only the very bravest dare forecast the outcome Campaigning alas tends to bring out the worst in Gore As the standard-bearer of the incumbent party he should have long since locked up this election Yet his turgid style his maddening tendency to condescension and his craven unwillingness to depart from the script provided by his advisers have combined to squander the peace and prosperity factor that should have guaranteed victory It should be said too that his Republican opponent George W Bush has improved considerably as the campaign has progressed Not only has he won the personality contest a vital component of any American election hands down he has held his own in the second debate adroitly focused his attack on Gores weak points and avoided the gaffes that everyone expected In short he has done enough to make a plausible president But that does not mean he would be a good president His short attention span his pervasive lacks of curiosity his general lightness of being remain unnerving He has mastered his lines but all too often does not seem to understand them On the domestic front Gores ideas for using the massive budget surpluses ahead are far more convincing his ideas on abortions global warming education and campaign-finance reform more clearly address the problems facing America Gore-appointed justices in the Supreme Court would offer added protection against a social lurch to the right Al Gore believes that a woman should have a right to legal abortions
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