Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2000/ 24 Elul, 5760
The secret minutes
Whatever. It appears to be a transcript of some sort of strategy meeting in Nashville. All the Gore regulars seem to have been there — good ol' Al and Holy Joe. A consultant. A pollster. Aides, arrangers, fixers, writers, pizza delivery men.
For what it's worth, a partial text:
UNIDENTIFIED CONSULTANT: The good news is that we continue to look good in New York and Massachusetts.
But internal polls show slippage in the Midwest, and worst of all, there's trouble in Florida and Tennessee.
POLLSTER: Zogby has our lead cut in half over the last week, it's shrinking with Gallup. Battleground shows Bush ahead by three points. Soon the guys on the plane will catch on.
MR GORE: I could kiss Tipper again.
CONSULTANT: Uh, we thought of that. Tipper nixed it. She just said no.
MR GORE: Kissing Oprah might be fun.
CONSULTANT: Didn't you see the papers? She insisted we let George do it.
POLLSTER: We've got to hold Tennessee.
MR GORE: Particularly if I can't hold Tipper.
CONSULTANT: The evangelicals are drifting away in dribs and drabs. You're telling too many fibs. They take seriously whatever that commandment is about not telling fibs and whoppers.
HOLY JOE: It's one of the most important of all the Thou Shalt Nots.
MR GORE: But I did invent beisbol. Maybe not the whole game. But I was the first to play it at St. Alban's. Only we called it cricket.
CONSULTANT: Florida's worse. Joe is holding the Jews in Dade County, but we're losing the Baptist crackers in the panhandle.
MR GORE: I could make a speech in Pensacola about the time I baptized my sister's cat. I could tell the Jesus joke that cracked Joe up in L.A.
POLLSTER: Nah, those family sob stories don't work anymore. Not since the whopper you told about the dog eating your mama's prescription.
CONSULTANT: Right. We need something really dramatic, with good visuals.
HOLY JOE: You could photograph me in person, walking to synagogue on the Sabbath.
POLLSTER: Uh, no. Some of the rabbis are livid at the things we've had you saying about what's kosher and what's not.
CONSULTANT: Yeah, we've pushed the G-d talk as far as we can. Unless we can get a fresh angle.
MR GORE: Any ideas?
CONSULTANT: Actually, yes. Joe made a nice U-turn on the Hollywood stuff, so now the voters expect him to be, uh, flexible, in his beliefs. What we do is, Joe and the missus convert to another religion. This is our October surprise. Maybe in a black church. Lots of tears and shouting and hip-hop hymns. The sawdust trail and all that. We'll get terrific visuals.
MR GORE: My, G-d. Uh, excuse me, Joe. G-d. The rabbis will go bonkers.
POLLSTER: Actually, no. Some of them are so fed up with you already they'll probably say good riddance.
HOLY JOE: But I believe in my own religion.
MR GORE: Pipe down, Holy Joe. I'll decide what you believe in.
HOLY JOE: Isn't one Baptist on the ticket enough? Deep water scares me.
CONSULTANT: No, no. We'll be more inclusive than that. We'll sprinkle you into a Methodist.
HOLY JOE: What about Unitarian? I could be a Unitarian and still be a Jew. Or even a high-church Episcopalian. But I won't turn gay. That's absolutely final.
POLLSTER: We've got focus groups working on that. We'll let you know.
HOLY JOE: You're asking a lot, if you ask me.
MR GORE: Well, I'm not asking you.
HOLY JOE: You're the boss, boss.
POLLSTER: Look, there's precedent. The Queen is an Anglican in London and a Presbyterian in Edinburgh.
Sometimes she converts in her sleep, when her train crosses into Scotland. She just lies there and doesn't feel a thing.
CONSULTANT: Sure, you can still be a Jew on Saturday. If the rabbis will have you.
POLLSTER: And when the campaign is over you can do whatever you want.
MR GORE: Yeah, after the election we're going to do a lot of things we can't talk about now.
HOLY JOE: Gee, I don't know. It's pretty bad to lie about everything you believe in. Some people take religion pretty seriously. A lot of people used to think I did.
MR GORE: Look, Joe, do you want to be vice president or not?
HOLY JOE: Can you help me with the words of the third
verse of 'Amazing
09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply