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Tipper Gore

They break up, we suffer

They should have stayed together. If not for the kids, then for the rest of us.

That seems to be the tone of the national hand-wringing over the news that Al and Tipper Gore are separating after 40 years of marriage.

"How could they do that to us?" the chattering class is asking. "Were they even thinking about us? What are we supposed to do at Christmas? And who gets custody of our notion of a good marriage?"

At a time when we seem to be at some kind of cosmic peak in marital misbehavior, the Gores were the national model of a successful public marriage.

And they went through more than their share of bad times: An auto accident that nearly...