be imploding. The sad collection ofrncranks and would-be party bosses whornwalked out of our convention have morernof a following in the CNN newsroomrnand on the editorial page of the New YorkrnTimes than they have in the Reform Party.rnFortunately, Judy Woodruff is not goingrnto decide who gets to carry the bannerrnof Reform in this election —and thankrnGod for that!”rnTuchman knew I was speaking directlyrnto him. As I headed for the press roomrnafter my speech, my assistant came runningrnup to me: “CNN is looking for you!rnThey asked about you!”rnTuchman’s blonde female producerassistantrngave me a dirtj’ look as I walkedrninto the room, her angular chin juttingrnupward, her eyes narrowed with contempt.rnOne of the hated “weirdos” hadrnfinally struck back, and she was angr)’. Irnsmiled (inwardly) and started packing uprnmy laptop; as I passed Tuchman on thernway out, he turned to me and asked:rn”What media organization are yournwith?”rnHolding my yellow badge up to eyernlevel, I replied: “ —we’rernyour competition.”rn”You seem to have some complaintsrnabout our coverage,” he responded.rnI didn’t even bother mentioning thernprevious night’s broadcast. Instead, Irnwent straight for the jugular. “Yes,” Irnsaid, “there was that little business aboutrnreporting 100,000 Kosovars supposedlyrnmurdered by the Serbs during the Kosovornwar; Christiane Amanpour reportedrnthat figure. Then it was reduced torn50,000, then 10,000, then even l e s s -rnwithout ever acknowledging any change.”rnHis boyish features seemed to age beforernmy eyes, wrinkled by the moral impact ofrnmy critique. A kinder, gentler manrnmight have taken pity on him, but I wantedrnto make him cry.rn”And what about all those military ‘interns’rnwho somehow wound up workingrnfor your ‘news organization’ during thernKosovo war?” I continued. “What wasrnup with that?”rnWas that a tear sliding down hisrncheek? Maybe it was my imagination,rnbut I could have sworn I saw a bit of moisturerngather at the tip of his eyelash, a glintrnof remorse for his sins. That’s why I tookrnhis hand when he offered it in a kind ofrnpeace handshake—the kind that signifiesrnsurrender.rnA small victory, but we must take themrnwhen and where we can.rn— Justin RaimondornJ O S E P H L I E B E R M A N , A1 Goresrnpick for vice president, is supposed tornbring the Democratic ticket back to therncenter. Gore secured his presidentialrnnomination by pandering to leftist interestrngroups, from radical feminists andrn”gays” to supporters of abortion andrnSharptonite hate purveyors. But to havernany chance of winning in November, hernneeded a “New Democrat” who couldrnappeal to the millions of moderates whornare sick and tired of the Clinton era.rnEnter Sen. Joseph Licberman, whosernpublic criticism of President Clinton duringrnthe Lewinsky affair is now deemedrna political asset. As an orthodox Jew, thernthcor- goes, Lieberman will appeal to devoutrnpeople of all faiths. (They are interchangeable,rnafter all.) And, as a friendrnand anti-smut ally of former Secretan,- ofrnEducation Bill Bennett—a “leading conservative”rn—Lieberman has upset Hollywoodrnby demanding that it “clean up itsrnact.” (Of course, Hollywood liberalsrnhave nowhere else to go, and they understandrnthat Lieberman’s criticisms willrnhave no real consetjuences.)rnA genuine centrist, Lieberman is thernmodel of the “New Democrat” that Clintonrnand Gore pretend to be. More importantly,rnin the words of the JewishrnWorld Review, “He would lend gravitas torna ticket headed by a man whose primerncharacteristic is a willingness to say or dornan)’thing to get elected.” And the JewishrnLedger claims that the presence ofrnLieberman on the Democratic ticket willrnentice “independents and Republicansrnwho are less than enamored witii GeorgernW. Bush, to support a Gore candidacy.”rnLieberman has been promoted relentlesslyrnby Washington insiders, notablyrnthe Weekly Standard and Roll Call punditrnMorton Kondracke. From that factrnalone, we know that the Gore campaignrnis doomed: An endorsement by thernWeekly Standard is fatal to any politicalrnhopeful. Remember how Bill Kristol andrncompany hailed John McCain as thernnew populist hero who would defeatrnGeorge W. Bush —one week before thernArizona senator pulled out of the race?rnThe problem with Beltway pundits isrnthat they don’t understand the ordinaryrnpeople they presume to lead. Their arrogancernmakes tiiem oblivious to the factrnthat Al Gore is downright charismatic b’rncomparison to Lieberman. I h e Connecticutrnsenator cannot save Core’s campaign,rnand not merely because he votedrnin favor of visas for “skilled workers,”rnglobal free trade, and welfare benefits forrnimmigrants. Not even the fact that hernhas received substantial funds from Albanianrnlobbyists ($10,000 from the NationalrnAlbanian-American PAG in 1994rnalone) will necessarily harm this championrnof campaign-finance reform.rnNo, Bush is now safe because Lieberman’srninability’ to come across as a regularrnguy, to look like someone with whomrnyou would want to have a beer, exceedsrneven Gore’s. The mere thought of fourrnyears of Gore and Lieberman on the nation’srnflickering screens is enough tornmake Canada seem like an exciting placernof exile; it will also be enough to propelrnBush and Cheney into the Wliite House.rnThat is not particularly significant in itself:rnThis year’s presidential choice hasrnbeen rightiy compared to the choice bchveenrnCoke and Pepsi. The GOP’s soda,rnwhile uninspiring, is at least cold andrnfizzy. With Lieberman on board, thernbrew offered by the Democrats is evenrnflatter and more tepid than before.rnSrdja TrifkovicrnRALPH NADER, the Green Party presidentialrnnominee, may be the decisivernfactor in the November election. Inrnclosely contested states—Washington,rnOregon, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, andrnPennsylvania —Nader is likely to receivernthree to five percent of the vote, mostiyrnfrom Al Gore’s electoral base. That is notrnmuch, but it may be enough to hand thernelection over to George W. Bush.rnNader insists that his real objective isrnnot to win the presidency (which hernknows is impossible), but to build an enduringrnthird part}- and a “progressive politicalrncommunity” that will challengernthe two-party system entrenched inrnWashington. Nader’s campaign taps intorna growing desire for an alternative to tiiernvacuous, centrist policies of the Democratsrnand Republicans. Modeling Insrnmovement on the Populists and Progressivesrnat the turn of flic 20th centun.-, Naderrnseeks to restore participator,” democracyrnand to end the stranglehold ofrncorporations and big money on Americanrnpolities. He looks back to the 1960’s,rnand many of his ideas resemble the bestrnelements of the New Left—slashing attacksrnon big business, opposition tornAmerican interventionism, and supportrnfor local civic activism.rnInstead of embracing the leftist mantle,rnhowever, Nader insists that he is tiiernonly truly “consen-‘ative” candidate in tirernrace. Absurd as this sounds, there is arn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn