Gail Collins, way back when: Gail Collins has been awful for a very long time.
Everyone has accepted her work. This should not have been done.
Way back in 1999, Collins already liked her animal farm (see our previous post). She also understood the prevailing mood in the Clinton-hating press corps.
In June 1999, Candidate Gore made his formal announcement—he was running for president. Everyone else was trashing Gore, so this horrible person did too:
COLLINS (6/21/99): The new Al Gore yells quite a lot. Caught between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, two natural campaigners, the Vice President is trying to make up in decibels what he lacks in spontaneity. "I am not satisfied! INDEED I AM RESTLESS!" he cried in New York, announcing his candidacy for President with a list of promises about what he would do to move the country TOWARD AMERICA'S NEW HORIZONS, a goal that will involve eliminating EVERY LAST DIME OF WASTE, fighting GLOBAL WARMING and making our public schools THE FINEST AND BEST IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! The highly ridiculous Candidate Gore was yelling too loud about climate change! And yuck!
This is our fault. We have been carping about how boring Al Gore is, and the poor man is all but howling at the moon in an effort to sound more compelling. We are being forced to watch him go through an enormous effort to look effortless, and it is as discomfiting as looking at the underside of a swan swimming on the lake. Voters are not going to elect a President who makes them feel like nervous parents at the second-grade class play. Mr. Gore has to give up this futile attempt to become Kennedyesque and embrace the boredom.
All that yelling made Collins picture the underside of a swan!
In late October, Gore and Bradley held their first Democratic debate. As we have said and explained in the past, we think the following part of Collins’ Gore-trashing column is one of the most heartless things we’ve ever seen from this press corps:
COLLINS (10/29/99): Al Gore has a personality without a thermostat, and when he tries to look animated he practically crashes into the wallboard. On Wednesday he hijacked the auditorium early on, begging for a chance to do a pre-debate Q.-and-A. ("This person has a question! Do we have time for his question?") He tossed in a little Spanish and a long joke, and made endless attempts to create Clintonesque mind-melds with the audience. ("How old is your child, Corey? . . . Are you unionized, Earl?") At the end, he refused to be dragged offstage. ("Can I say one more word? I would like to stay!") He bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the kid who asks the teacher for more homework. Mr. Bradley, lounging on his stool, arms folded across his chest, looked like the high school athlete watching the class nerd volunteer to stay and clap erasers.Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Forget this column’s plagiarism and its inaccuracies. We have always been struck by this column’s unashamed lack of humanity. The “Corey” to whom Collins refers was a young woman who asked a question at this town hall debate—a young woman who had a very sick child. As several other pundits did, Collins ridiculed Gore for the simple decency of inquiring about this woman's sick child—although, of course, she forgot to explain that this was what Gore had done.
Keeping with a mandated theme, Collins told us that Gore had popped that question to Corey because he was trying to be like Bill Clinton. That passage has always struck us as remarkably heartless stuff.
Like everyone else, Collins trashed Gore very hard this day, sticking to a remarkably narrow play-list of standard group observations. (Essentially, everyone was plagiarizing Jacob Weisberg's bizarre review of this debate.)
The amusement came four days later, by which time the polling was in.
Surprise! New Hampshire Democrats who watched the debate thought Gore and Bradley had both done well. Anyone without an agenda could have seen that, of course.
As a result, this horrible person went on CNN and executed a perfect flip. Four days later, with the polling in, this horrible person said this:
WOODRUFF (11/2/99): When you look back at last week's town meeting with Gore and Bradley, how did they come across?Incredible, isn’t it? But Collins has been a mess for years, though you’ve never seen anyone say do. People, it just isn’t done!
COLLINS: You know, I thought— I actually tend to think Gore did better than a lot of people did at the time. He seemed real energetic. He seemed to really care. He seemed to really want people to like him. And voters, I think, like that sense that a politician is really trying to please them.
(As a matter of professional courtesy, Judy Woodruff didn’t mention the fact that Collins had trashed Gore's clownish performance only four days before.)
Back then, for twenty straight months, Collins and her crowd worked very hard. They recited reams of standard group claims. There was nothing too dumb or too mean to recite about the anointed successor to Clinton, the man who had enjoyed those ten disturbing blow jobs.
In the end, they sent George W. Bush to the White House. Fourteen years later, this horrible person is still around, playing the twice-weekly clown.
The Way We Are is quite pathetic when people like this get a pass.