Big Macs, heart attacks and Bill Bradley
What would it take to give Al Gore a heart attack? He doesn't eat at McDonald's, unlike the current president, but there is something less fattening that might cause him to go into cardiac arrest.
Meet Bill Bradley, 6'5", former NBA champion, and more dangerous to the Democratic party than a whole buffet of Big Macs.
Bradley is Gore's opposition - not a Republican, but a fellow Democrat intent on clinching his party's nomination for president of United States.
So far, he seems to pose a viable threat to the vice president, mainly because he does not have an image of being stupid. But the truly significant question - whether or not Bradley is a better candidate than Gore - seems to have been overshadowed by both candidates' images.
Bradley seems to be a decent candidate. His drug use was minimal, he has no known record of infidelity and his connections to the NBA ensure him a hefty war chest for the ensuing campaign.
Less significantly, he served three terms as a U.S. Senator from New Jersey, until he resigned in 1996 claiming that "politics is broken."
Ironically his 1996 resignation from politics was intended as a stepping stone to the White House. He did it to separate himself from "Washington insiders" like Gore, to make himself seem like a "real person."
As if most Americans are NBA Hall of Famers.
Aside from sharing the same party affiliation, Gore and Bradley seem to have some other image similarities. Gore is known for being stoic and boring, and Bradley is often seen as a curmudgeon.
"(Bradley) has had many nicknames in his life, but few were crueler than Senator Sominex," wrote Chris Heath in the October issue of Rolling Stone.
Both are liberal Democrats, Bradley a shade more than Gore. Both believe in gun control - one of the most pressing issues for the 2000 election - and consider the gun lobby the next most threatening lobby since tobacco was vilified a few years ago.
Their issue stances seem to parallel each other; both seem to want the same things for the nation.
Most important, both seem to be health nuts. Gore is known for his daily jogs, Bradley for eating Lean Cuisine.
Bradley's presence seems to emphasize the fact that things just are not working out for Gore. The Vice President was supposed to be riding on some strong coattails, but Clinton's popularity is not rubbing off on this democrat. Perhaps Gore ought to try eating at McDonald's. Clinton garnered most of his popular votes downing McNuggets and fries.
Trying to figure out which is better, Gore or Bradley, is difficult, if not pointless, because both seem to be hurting the party as a whole. Gore is known for not knowing how to spell and Bradley, though famous for his basketball career, might take on the image of a senior citizen that hurt Dole in 1996.
But their contest is bad for the party as a whole. Things look bleak for the Democrats considering how monstrous George W. Bush, Jr., the Republican Savior, is so early in the race. Gore has fallen short in the polls behind Bush for the past several months. The last thing the party needs is to split the vote in the primaries, disgruntle the loser's supporters and help Bush win in a landslide in the generals.
The Republicans have an advantage by having one solid candidate as their front-runner, instead of two less-than-charismatic characters.
The fact is, the Democrats might not see a candidate as charismatic or solid as Bill Clinton was in both 1992 and 1996. Whether or not Clinton was a good candidate is arguable, but the key to his victory was his charisma.
Or maybe it was the Big Macs.