The good news for the press is that they will have additional chances to redeem themselves. Despite the appearance that he fears public fights, Cox seems determined to run again--even if briefly--for higher office. By our count, the man who is supposed to be the local Republicans' next great hope has prematurely aborted or failed in four key contests: the 48-hour public-relations campaign for speaker, two meek attempts in 1994 and 1996 to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, and a pathetic behind-the-scenes effort to be Bob Dole's vice presidential nominee. After Cox quit against Livingston, a Republican congressional aide told the Los Angeles Times: "His running was just a joke. He talks about running for everything: the Senate, vice president, House majority leader. He's the serial candidate. He's becoming our new Bob Dornan--do anything to get on the talk shows, whether or not it has credibility."
Despite such sentiment, Cox continues to search for easy victories. With an assist from the mainstream media, he will also keep working on perfecting his public persona: a kind-hearted, smiling, telegenic intellect. Perhaps the most bizarre yet inadvertently insightful comment about Cox came earlier this year from pal and neighboring Huntington Beach Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
"If you look at his smile," explained Rohrabacher, "his smile looks the same whether you are looking from the top of his head down, or the bottom of his head up. He has a smile that slopes downwards, very unique, so you can actually turn his picture upside-down, and he's still smiling."