Water Under the Bridge

August 4, 1999

Political pundits had fun at the expense of Al Gore the other day. Many were asking, how much water it would take to float his boat? Apparently the answer is about 4 billion gallons of water.

The incident arose when the Gore campaign planned a photo opportunity with the vice president and the Governor of New Hampshire. In order to make sure that their canoes would not get stuck in the river, billions of gallons of water were released from a dam in the Connecticut River. Local utility officials said they were asked by the Secret Service and the Connecticut River Joint Commission to release water in order to raise the water level. One official accompanying the group stated that the ONLY reason they released the water "was to make sure the vice president's canoe didn't get stuck."

So how much water did it take to float the vice president's boat? About 4 billion gallons of water which critics pointed out was worth approximately $7 million. I'll spare you the statistics bantered around about how many toilet flushes equals 4 billion gallons.

Will this hurt the vice president's campaign? Probably not. But images like this do stick in the minds of voters who already believe that one set of rules apply to governmental leaders and another set apply to average voters. The Connecticut River Joint Commission wouldn't release water for other people who wanted to canoe the river. It won't release water for the fish and thus improve fishing. But they will release 4 billion gallons of water for a photo opportunity for a man who wrote a book entitled Earth in the Balance dealing with the wise use of environmental resources. For now, the Gore campaign hopes that all of this is just "water under the bridge."

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.