The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 9th

Election 2000 Insanity Recapped

For the seven of you who read this column on a regular basis, you might recall a reference I made last Friday to wearing an ornate, scarlet letter "A" in front of a 17th century Puritan community.

That morning, my "Great American Novels" professor read the column aloud at the beginning of class. Upon completing the reading, Professor Zug smiled, looked up through his glasses and said how very pleased he was that his lectures obviously had influenced one of his students.

Frankly, however, I am still thoroughly baffled as to why my professor thinks he had anything at all to do with a reference I made to a bad Demi Moore movie.

If anyone can clear this up, please call me at home.

On an entirely different note, I would like to briefly discuss this past Election Day.

Tuesday was, quite simply, an amazing moment in the history of this great democracy. Certainly, I can envision myself telling my grandchildren about it in the future.

"Grandson, 60 years ago, while I was a junior at Carolina, the most amazing thing happened on Election Day, and I'd love more than anything to share it with you."

"Grandpa, can I go play Nintendo?"


My family always has been a bit dysfunctional.

In any event, a quick recap of Election Day 2000.

As a New Yorker, I had two incredibly important elections to keep an eye on. Certainly, there was the race for the White House. There also was, however, the battle for the Senate seat left vacant by the retirement of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a man who has faithfully served his state and country since the War of 1812.

When I first got the news Tuesday evening that Hillary Clinton had beaten out U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio in New York, I immediately called my parents to see what they thought of our new senator.

"Hi Mom, it's me."

"Joey? Hi. Listen, we can't talk right now. Your father's on the phone with the real estate agent, and he thinks he's found a cozy, two-bedroom place over in Jersey. Anyway, we still have a lot of packing to do before the movers come, so we'll call you tomorrow when we get settled."

And then Mom hung up.

Well, that's just peachy. Thanks to this disingenuous, transparent, self-serving first lady of the United States, my parents and I have been forced to flee our homeland and our people, in search of a better life in the Meadowlands.

I feel like a Tutsi.

In fact, my folks are organizing an armed resistance movement in Uganda as we speak.

For the life of me, I cannot see how New Yorkers turned down an enthusiastic, local kid from Long Island and brought in a phony carpetbagger who never has lived in the state.

But that's what we did.

"I'm the first president in history with a wife in the Senate," said a smiling President Clinton on Tuesday night. "And I like it."

Of course the president likes it. It'll be a hell of a lot easier to pick up interns while the old lady is up in New York.

In any event, Tuesday evening was not a complete wash. In fact, with the exception of Hillary's invasion, I thoroughly enjoyed Election Day 2000.

Certainly, the drama surrounding the race for the White House was, in itself, enough to bring a dead man back to life.

However, the best part of the entire evening was, without question, the television coverage of the election.

Do not doubt for a single moment that Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Bernard Shaw absolutely live for presidential elections. Elections make them giddy. To these guys, Election Day is like Christmas.

Well, maybe not for Jennings - Canadians don't celebrate Christmas.

But when all was said and done, the big guns and their respective networks did not let us down. The television coverage was incredible. In fact, it was so entertaining that I had an extremely difficult time deciding which channel to watch.

NBC, for instance, had Russert diagramming the nickel defense on a dry-erase board. At the same time, Fox newscasters stunned the world by using multisyllable words and correctly locating Wisconsin on a map. And in what proved to be the most dynamic move by a network in recent years, CNN brought an orangutan into the studio to help Bernie Shaw and Jeff Greenfield analyze exit poll results in Florida. (Unfortunately, Shaw and Greenfield repeatedly ignored the recommendations of the orangutan.)

Certainly, we cannot overlook some of the pearls of wisdom provided by these media giants during the course of the evening.

Brokaw: "So what you're saying then, Tim, is that if Vice President Gore wins more electoral votes than Governor Bush, Gore will win the election?"

Russert: "That's correct. And oddly enough, Tom, if the governor wins more electoral votes than Gore, Gore actually will lose the election."

Brokaw: "Imagine that."

Russert: "Would you like me to draw a diagram on my dry-erase board?"

Brokaw: "No."

Russert: "Why not?"

Brokaw: "Call CNN. We need to consult the orangutan."

Joe Monaco is a junior journalism and mass communication and political science major who is looking for some good restaurants in New Jersey. E-mail him with questions or comments at


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