Friday, July 14, 2006
The "former next-president of the United States" Al Gore is all in the news as of late, thanks largely to his new film "An Inconvenient Truth." A groundswell of focus on Gore has been building pretty much since the run-up the war in Iraq. In that time Gore has repeatedly and harshly criticized the Bush administration on the war, domestic surveillance, the environment, etc., and in the process has won over many Democrats and liberals (myself included) who are both waxing nostalgic about the 2000 campaign and what could have been, and looking to Gore as the "anti-Bush"; an intellectual, thoughtful, well-spoken and passionate advocate of liberal issues, an antidote to an administration that is dominated by politics as policy and headed by a man as intellectually uncurious and inflexible as they come. Of course, quite a few of these Democrats and liberals have been fantasizing about another Gore campaign (myself included), a re-match of sorts of 2000, pitting a renewed Gore against whatever poor inheritor of the "Bush doctrine" that the GOP can dream up. Gore himself has denied any intention of running again. One might think that given the cloud of ineptitude and disgrace that the GOP is currently lingering under, any candidate could beat the Republican candidate, and certainly Al Gore could beat that candidate. Gore might think so himself, but he's also remembering the war that the supposedly "liberal media" declared on him back in 2000, and probably wondering if he really wants to go through that sort of thing again; a media that over-analyzed his sighs, peddled Bush campaign talking points about Gore that weren't remotely true, set the bar so low for Bush that Gore's intellectualism couldn't possibly come off as anything less than patronizing and condescending, and essentially set up a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom for the Gore campaign that Gore could have only possibly defused by dropping out of the race. Gore is thinking that those same "pundits" who ripped into him in 2000 have not since been disgraced for their abandonment of their professional responsibility, but instead have thrived. And he's wondering what they'll have to say this time. Do you put it past those in our media to focus on a candidate's stance, his gaze, his "gravitas" in the midst of a debate, even as our soldiers die in Iraq? If so, you've already forgotten 2004. So while I'd love Gore to run, I can't fault the man for not wanting to endure the slings and arrows of those who faulted Gore for being intellectual, or for wanting to talk about real issues, or for genuinely being smarter than they were.
Posted by Alexander Wolfe at 7:39 PM