As politics is a passion and as we will have a new government in November, I will run the risk of alienating my fledgling readership with an admittedly biased update on the 2000 Presidential Campaign.

While raised in a hard core, New England, anti-FDR, "what’s good for the WASPS is good for the world environment", I have always leaned to the left much to the consternation of my fellow business associates and friends.

There is today very little real fiscal difference between Republicans and Democrats, since Bill Clinton co-opted the middle. The old tax-and-spend liberals and the old don’t-tax-and-spend conservatives have been left behind.

It infuriates my colleagues that the scandal-plagued Clinton years have been the best ever for American business.

During this same period, an equally scandal-plagued congress redefined "do nothing" as it thankfully jettisoned the Contract with America team and its architect.

Against the backdrop of a largely peaceful world, unparalleled prosperity, full employment, budget surpluses and no inflation, there are not a lot of obvious reasons for making major changes in either branch of government.

Clinton fatigue persists. Gore cannot escape the administration’s mistakes, but this really doesn’t account for his problems. Few doubt that if a third term were allowed, Clinton would thrash W, as he did his father, notwithstanding stained dresses and Buddhist fundraisers.

W may yet establish himself as our lightest and least informed presidential candidate. It was obvious from the beginning that he didn’t know where Iran was, and begins to look like the same could be said for Louisiana.

I have always had a hard time associating with the pro-gun, pro-life crowd, who would deny birth control information in the schools, outlaw abortion, withhold aid for indigent mothers and their unwanted children, strike down affirmative action programs and await the results to require many new prisons, which this same crowd funds with enthusiasm. Mean spirited and nasty fairly describes the hard right.

The Rainbow Coalition, organized labor, the ACLU, gay rights organizations, and other left-leaning bodies often take questionable positions, as in the case of free trade. They are, however, willing to say it is hard to be a poor minority in this open and free society of ours, and that universal health insurance and much better schools ought to be our first priority. We have the resources to provide housing and food for all of our people and still fight a war on more than one front.

In my view, Clinton was perceived as kinder, more compassionate, better informed, and more in sync with ordinary people’s concerns than either Bush or Dole. He won on the strength of his smile and his moderate approach to issues.

Gore does not yet possess the inner-calm, nor the one-on-one charisma to convince people, as Clinton has, to overlook his weaknesses.

Clinton assumed labor support even when campaigning for NAFTA. Dole knuckled under – supported the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, repeal of the Brady Bill – and even attended Rush Limbaugh’s wedding.

Gore lacks the confidence to stake claim to the middle, which explains why W, at this time, is cutting into the solid female – Latino – minority support, which elected Clinton.

Gore is very smart. So was Jimmy Carter. Bush is appallingly dumb. Reagan was hardly an intellect.

It is way too close to call, and much too early to predict the inevitable gaffes, miscues and stumbles, which befall all presidential candidates. More than likely the outcome will hinge on the debates. It remains to be seen if either guy is willing to answer a question in lieu of a prepared speech. Can smart wood best a vapid smirk? More later.