Global Diary

GORE-TEX — The Fabric for a Waterproof Campaign

Wouldn’t you agree that GORE-TEX makes the ideal sponsor for the U.S. presidential election campaign?

A whole new look at corporate campaign finance

Takeaways


Like Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush, GORE-TEX is a product of the flower-power generation. Around the same time that Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush were dealing with the Vietnam War question, respectively, by enlisting in the U.S. Army and the Texas Air National Guard, GORE-TEX was born in a laboratory at the W.L. Gore Company in Newark, Delaware.

Bill and Vieve Gore, a husband and wife team, started the company ten years earlier, in 1958, to manufacture insulation for electrical wires from a polymer called PTFE. Then, in the 1960s, as the Kennedy Administration launched the space program, their company had its then-greatest success when their product sheathed the wires and cables on the lunar module.

But the company’s commercial success came in 1969, when Bill and Vieve’s son found that PTFE, when stretched, created a durable, porous material. The result, known commercially as GORE-TEX, became the basis of the company’s fortunes. This year’s presidential race should only enhance its fortunes.

The first debate between Mr. Gore (“GORE”) and Mr. Bush (“TEX”) is less than a week away. By now, the candidates have studied their briefing books and sharpened their oratorical skills. One might say the only thing left to do at this point is to pick out the right suit of clothes to convey the all-important “alpha-male” image to voters.

Under the oft-cited premise that gloves make the man, we suggest the candidates consider wearing GORE-TEX gloves. The company guarantee that their gloves will not cause perspiration — an all-important feature for people in such an intensive handshaking profession as presidential candidates. From gloves, we go to socks — lest the candidates get cold feet on the important issues. They may want to look a pair of GORE-TEX socks.

With the campaing in full swing, Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush are routinely trekking from one state to another in relentless pursuit of votes. Along the way, they are surely going to have tired feet. Surely a comfortable pair of GORE-TEX Long Trail GTX boots would be a good. Remember, they don’t call it the “campaign trail” for nothing.

And, yet, there is one GORE-TEX product that our candidates should definitely do without. In the heat of the moment, either candidate can quickly lose his wits — and say or do something that might cost him the office. In order to keep a cool head, we recommend that both candidate steer clear of GORE-TEX headwear.

Nevertheless, we suspect that Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush will ignore our good advice and opt for traditional dark suits for their debate and campaign appearances. But they do so at their own risk. We hasten that a close chemical relative of GORE-TEX once served another U.S. president very well. The polymer was Teflon — and the president was Ronald Reagan, whose ability to rise above scandal earned him the dubious designation as the “Teflon president.”

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