Read an Excerpt
The political conventions of 2000 were supposed to be coming-out parties for all the various Internet news operations. Never before had any event been so maximally wired for online coverage. We were ready to cover World War III. The audience, however, declined to materialize in the expected numbers. Word went around that the Internet coverage was a bust. Technological brute force could not by itself create an "Internet story."
Bush, meanwhile, had surged far ahead, up 18 points in one poll. The Democrats would need a bounce from their convention in Los Angeles. Gore had become an oddly indistinct figure on the political landscape, barely remembered. President and Mrs. Clinton weren't helping matters, as they planned to arrive early in Los Angeles to attend glittery fund-raisers for Hillary's Senate campaign. They also had commandeered pretty much the entirety of the first night of the convention. They were stealing the show and, not incidentally, a lot of the money that might have gone to the party nominee what's-his-face.
Less than a week before the convention, Gore made a bold move: He picked as his running mate a man who was most famous for making a speech denouncing President Clinton's behavior in the Lewinsky matter. It was a delicious moment for armchair psychologists. The Beta Male was finally making his move against the Alpha. Pundits went into a frenzy; I did my best, on deadline, to pound out something that was certain to be unduplicated by any other political observer.