Monday, August 14

The Democratic convention is underway! Can you feel the excitement? "Gore doesn’t turn me on," Connecticut delegate and Clinton fan Martha Aasen told the New York Times. "He’s sincere… but he’s different." Well, yes, sincere would be different. But this sort of ringing tribute can only be expected. Hell, Al Gore is so wildly popular that, according to a Times/CBS poll, 51 percent of the delegates who will be nominating him this week even expect him to win in November.

While Gore spent yesterday in fabulous Cleveland, Ohio, Bill and Hillary Clinton made the rounds in Hollywood. They skipped the Playboy Mansion bash, as did the intended guest of honor Loretta Sanchez, so partygoers like Bryant Gumbel killed time chilling in the grotto and feeding grapes to caged monkeys. But the Clintons managed to show their support for Gore by joining Whoopi Goldberg, Cher and Milton Berle at an event billed as, um, a "gala salute to William Jefferson Clinton." Apparently someone didn’t get the memo.

"I’m a guy who’s dealt with superheroes most of my life, and sir, you have great potential," the gala’s host, Stan Lee, told the president. "I think you could learn to climb the side of buildings and wear spandex tights." This moving tribute was topped by John Travolta, who declared, "If I were hungry, you’d sit right down and eat a cheeseburger with me, not even suggesting holding the fries." Actually, after thinking about Clinton in spandex, we’ve kind of lost our appetites.

But the excitement wasn’t all Dionysian (although Herb Ritts did throw a costume party which one guest attended as the Marquis de Sade). There was plenty of policy talk, too. Clinton met with Jewish groups and bragged about the "significant progress" he’s made in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. No one pointed out that Joseph Lieberman has publicly berated his "evenhanded" approach to this task.

Oy, that Lieberman. Everyone loves how he sprinkles his remarks with Yiddish, but ignoring his politics is already shaping up as a major theme of the next week. "His stances on taxes and education exemplify what Gore has been standing for," a Kentucky delegate said, and no one pointed out Lieberman’s support for vouchers. And when Hillary Clinton criticized Rick Lazio’s opposition to permitting lawsuits against HMO’s, no one pointed out that Lieberman agrees with Lazio.

The Washington Post and the L.A. Times both recapped Lieberman’s appearance on five morning talk shows in which the candidate promised that what he believes really isn’t so important anyway–a reasonable assessment of the job he’s up for–but the New York Times devoted its energy, and part of its front page, to this exclusive scoop: "Corporate Donors Now Big Backers of the Democrats." A huge change from the last election, when 90 percent of the party’s funds came from street urchins and grandma’s penny jars.

Maybe the media should stick to covering parties after all. This just in: "One guest said the celebration…had been subdued," the Times reported. "‘They were not getting jiggy with it, if that’s what you mean.’" Maybe not, but wait till Al Gore shows up.

—Daniel Radosh

[ 100% True ]

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