This week's featured NFL presidential matchup: George W. Bush and the Dallas Cowboys vs. Al Gore and the Tennessee Titans Bush/Cowboys update: Both were favored going into the season but have been inconsistent and prone to slumps. Each has attempted to right the ship by building on their respective legacies: the Cowboys are five-time Super Bowl champions, and W. is the son of an unpopular one-termer who was once in charge of government-sponsored contract killings, money laundering and drug running. For both the Cowboys and Bush, future success will depend on their ability to execute.
Gore/Titans update: The Titans moved from Texas, and Gore's stance on the death penalty suggests he did, too. The Titans have a great defense that stiffens around the goal line; Gore has big feet and hands and stiffens when he gets around the cover of Rolling Stone.
Bush/Cowboys: Bush has made much of his "compassionate conservatism." Of course, compassion in Texas is usually limited to putting things out of their misery. Texans wouldn't know compassion if it was apologizing for having bitten them on the ass. Take Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman: he took six cortisone shots in his injured back last week for the team; the team reciprocated by calling Aikman's injury "minor."
Laura vs. Tipper: Tipper.
Consensus: All things being equal . . . ah, they're not equal. I'm tired of this "they're exactly the same" thing. Look, if you like Nader, vote for Nader. But don't tell me there's no difference between Bush and Gore. Here's a difference: Gore has a brain. Oh, I'm not saying Bush doesn't actually have a brain—it's just that the ingredients in that compost heap above his brow make him remarkably stupid. Scary stupid. Dangerous stupid. Russian-pilot-who-let-his-son-fly-the-plane-and-the-kid-put-the-thing-in-the-side-of-a-mountain stupid. Forget the dumb things the guy says; you ever see the look he gets when someone asks him a direct question such as, "What are you going to do about the Middle East?" or, "Where'd you get that tie?" His eyes narrow, his mouth flops sideways, his chest heaves. People talk about the guy looking presidential? Half the time, he looks like the critter trapped in your garage, shaking and soiling himself.