Patriotic Gore

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As you may have heard, Al Gore delivered a speech earlier this week. Now the GOP echo chamber is in high dudgeon, as you can tell from this frothing editorial in the Boston Herald:

How dare a former vice president of the United States go beyond disagreeing with the current president's policies—a right of anyone in this free country—and denounce Bush as "incompetent."

How dare Gore say that Americans have an "innate vulnerability to temptation…to use power to abuse others." And that our own "internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon" to curb such abuse.

And this man—who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people—wanted to be elected to lead it?

It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.

Set aside the cretinous claim that it's somehow immoral to question the president's competence. What about Gore's assertion that Americans have an "innate vulnerability to temptation…to use power to abuse others," or that bit about the checks and balances? Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it?

Yep. But it's not what the man said:

Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation—especially the temptation to abuse power over others.

Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.

There isn't any room for interpretation here. Gore did speak the words that the Herald put in quotation marks, but there's no way to make them fit the meaning the paper attributed to them. His comments are not just within the mainstream of American thought; they're within the mainstream of American conservative thought. The editorial is lying.

Despite that, the article is being touted by high-profile bloggers, including Glenn Reynolds and Jonah Goldberg. The latter even quotes the passage that the Herald got so wrong. My friend Clark Stooksbury, who sent me the relevant links, tells me that he's written to both suggesting that they reconsider their endorsement of the editorial. I hope they'll take his advice.

NEXT: Caveat Emptor

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  1. what I want to know is if the reporting on this shows any sign of an agenda or bias.

    naaahhh, couldn’t be.

  2. Maybe, just maybe, Republicans aren’t as upset about Gore’s speech as you suggested? And all this ridiculous handwringing about conservatives wanting to stamp out dissent is a smelly pile of BS?

    I didn’t claim that all Republicans are upset. I’m sure many of them honestly believe that Gore’s inoffensive speech was beyond the pale, but I’m also sure many of them are just claiming to be offended as a cynical pose. (York is actually saying something different: that there are Republicans who genuinely believe Gore’s speech is extremist but that they think this will turn swing voters towards the GOP. The technical term for this is “fooling yourself.”)

    I also didn’t say anything about conservatives wanting to stamp out dissent. I think there are conservatives who would like to stamp out a little dissent, but that’s not the topic of this post. Like the Herald, you’re arguing with an imaginary opponent.

  3. Jesse,
    “I didn’t claim that all Republicans are upset.”

    Perhaps, then, you could define the “GOP echo chamber” that is in “high dudgeon.”

    “I also didn’t say anything about conservatives wanting to stamp out dissent.”

    I didn’t say you did. I was making a larger reference about other comments on this thread. I doubt I need to repeat them, and they are not imaginary.

  4. Rage all you want, Jesse. That Gore is a public embarrassment is now clear to just about everyone.

  5. The editorial is lying.

    Hell yeah it is…

  6. Jesse: I think that York’s source is off the mark thinking Gore’s speech will help Republicans. The Dean scream hurt him among DEMOCRATIC primary voters. With the primary decided there isn’t another place for tepid Democrats to turn. Do they go for Nader? Do they go for Bush? Or do they not even show up to the polls? I’d guess York’s source would choose the latter.

  7. “Rage all you want, Jesse. That Gore is a public embarrassment is now clear to just about everyone.”

    He may be, but that is even more reason that the Boston Herald shouldn’t have to lie about what he said in order to criticize him.

  8. Why would Reynolds, much less Goldberg, care about a lie as long as it supports their cause?

  9. Fred, I don’t think so. When it comes down to it, Bush is my public embarassment. Gore, on the otherhand, is just being vocal to what many liberals have already been saying. He just wants the independents to hear it.

    However, for all of Gore’s rhetoric, he still can’t over come the reality that John Kerry is and will always be, John Kerry.

  10. Perhaps, then, you could define the “GOP echo chamber” that is in “high dudgeon.”

    Sure. It’s a bunch of Republicans who are making a big stink about how terrible the speech allegedly is. Some may honestly believe this and think it’s awful for the country; some may believe it and think it’s good for the party; some may just be playing along to rile up the base and maybe attract some swing voters who missed the actual address but read distortions like the one that appeared in the Herald.

    They’re all making pretty much the same complaints (hence “echo chamber”), and they’re all declaring that Gore has gone beyond the pale (hence “in high dudgeon”). Got it?

  11. Unrelated, but the Herald editorial highlights one of the problems of “campaign finance reform”.

    Gore spent the bulk of a speech before the liberal group MoveOn.org…

    The speech was sponsored in part by the Moveon.org PAC, not the Moveon.org Voter Fund, not the Moveon.org 501c(3) educational website. Thus the speech itself is political in nature, given at an educational institution, in hopes of affecting the minds of voters.

    What do I win?

  12. I don’t know what you guys have been smokin – but Gore’s comments sound ironicly statist to me.

    The man who believes humans have the INATE tendency to abuse power over others will seek to control those people – thus giving itself power over others.

    How did you guys miss this?

  13. Albert Gore Jr., a major player in the DEMOCRATIC PARTY for 20 years, cautions us about “retaining an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.”
    This is the band that brought you the hits:
    The New Deal
    The Great Society
    The Vietnam War
    etc., etc.,

    As Bill Murray once said: “I have to laugh.” Political season brings out funny alliances, like Al Gore and libertarianism.

  14. I don’t think you get it, Jesse. I read most of the (looooooong) speech, and Gore does come across as an intemperate fool. If he wants the MoveOn crowd he can have it, it’s not playing well with average Americans. And most of the complaints (coming from Republicans and others) were about other parts of the speech–in fact, until I saw what you quoted in the Herald, I hadn’t even heard anyone say anything about that particular section, so it’s funny you should concentrate on it just to argue for Gore.

  15. Jeff: More Gore.

    “It is not merely in the service of analogy that I have referred so often to the struggles against Nazi and communist totalitarianism, because I believe that the emerging efforts to save the environment is a continuation of these struggles.”

    “”Adopting a central organizing principle ? one agreed to voluntarily ? means embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution, every treaty and alliance, every tactic and strategy, every plan and course of action ? to use, in short, every means to halt the destruction of the environment and to preserve and nurture our ecological system.”

    These are both from his book “Earth in Balance”. Gore draws more attention for statism from LaRouchians than does George W. Bush.

  16. “I didn’t claim that all Republicans are upset. I’m sure many of them honestly believe that Gore’s inoffensive speech was beyond the pale, but I’m also sure many of them are just claiming to be offended as a cynical pose. (York is actually saying something different: that there are Republicans who genuinely believe Gore’s speech is extremist but that they think this will turn swing voters towards the GOP. The technical term for this is “fooling yourself.”)”

    There’s no such thing as a Gore “inoffesive speech”. Gore’s very existence is offensive. He’s nothing more than a sanctimonious, twit. A wimpy punk blowhard who’s never accomplished anything whatsoever of any actual value in his entire life. He ranted and raved for everybody and his dog in the administration to quit or be fired. He and Clinton were asleep at the switch for 8 years on terrorism and he think’s he knows better than the Bush administration how to fight the war on terrorism. The guy who sold his Senate vote on the first Gulf war to whichever side promised him the most face time on TV to talk about is still trying to pose as foreign policy “expert”.

    As for his citing of the founding fathers, that’s just more sanctimonious bullshit (he’s full of it). His left wing big government soclialist views on everything trash everything the founding fathers believed in every day.
    I remember him parroting phony statistics concocted by gun control groups on the number of “children” killed by guns in an effort to push more gun control laws. I don’t need to hear any hot air from him about the founding fathers.

    Al Gore’s latest speech is just like all his other speeches – nothing more than a bunch of shrill squealing that panders to the core left wing constituency. They all like shrill squealing because that’s the only thing any of them are actually capable of.

  17. Yep, Brennan, THAT is the stuff that scared the crap out of me a few years back.

    Ugh.

  18. Another shining example of right wing high dudgeon.

  19. The issue isn’t Al Gore. I don’t like Al Gore.

    The issue is that Gore is getting smeared for a speech that is, in fact, entirely within the mainstream critique of the Iraq war. We’ve had David Frum suggest that he’s mentally ill, we’ve had Rush Limbaugh call him “nuts” and a liar, and now we have the Boston Herald grossly distorting the man’s words — and getting props from people like Goldberg and Reynolds.

    You guys want to know how far from reality you’ve gotten? I’m defending Al Gore. That may be a first.

  20. “Another shining example of right wing high dudgeon.”

    Another example of left-wing shrill squealing.

  21. “The issue is that Gore is getting smeared for a speech that is, in fact, entirely within the mainstream critique of the Iraq war. We’ve had David Frum suggest that he’s mentally ill, we’ve had Rush Limbaugh call him “nuts” and a liar, and now we have the Boston Herald grossly distorting the man’s words — and getting props from people like Goldberg and Reynolds.”

    I heard the soundbites on the radio where he was ranting and raving for Rumsfeld, Rice and everyone else in the Administration to be kicked out of office. He is nuts and always has been nuts.

    “You guys want to know how far from reality you’ve gotten? I’m defending Al Gore. That may be a first.”

    What constitutes “mainstream critique” as well as “reality” is a matter of opinion. You’re no more of a quaified judge of what it is than anyone else.

  22. Dear Gil Martin,

    You should get out more often and read this site periodically.

    I personally feel that libertarians are like the townspeople in Mad Max, i.,e., you know they want to help but they don’t show up at Johnny the Boy’s arraignment, hence he walks.

    But calling Jesse Walker “left wing” is like accusing Patricia Ireland of subscribing to Hustler.

  23. i sometimes get the impression that many partisans had a harrowing childhood trauma involving opening the wrong door at the wrong time, only to witness their dear sainted mother getting sodomized by whatever party they happen to hate.

  24. “But calling Jesse Walker “left wing” is like accusing Patricia Ireland of subscribing to Hustler.”

    I referenced dhex’s post as left wing squealing – not Walker’s

  25. Maybe it’s just not the same without the shrieking voice and bulging veins. The guy coulda been reading the phone book for all I cared, I heard it and it creeped me out. Anyone that rabid and unhinged is a menace to society, no matter who he’s attacking or what he’s advocating. I liked the robot better; something about that montonous drone seemed so much less threatening.

  26. “I sometimes get the impression that many partisans had a harrowing childhood trauma involving opening the wrong door at the wrong time, only to witness their dear sainted mother getting sodomized by whatever party they happen to hate”

    Uh Huh

    And what’s your excuse?

  27. jeff – I think you’re a bit of a fuckwit for suggesting that the excerpted Gore remarks reveal some hidden statist agenda. It shouldn’t be controversial to suggest human fallibility — Gore spoke of the temptation individuals face to exploit power. The solution Gore endorsed is hardly original, and, again, ought not cause controversy, especially with Reason readers: a government of “laws, not men,” of divided powers, with processes in place that safeguard against megalomania, tyranny. He was not advocating, as you — somewhat stupidly — suggest, that we hand absolute “control” over to him personally, or (as I infer your meaning) the state.

  28. A more fair and balanced (sorry) oped from the Boston Globe here explains why Gore’s speech was not a good move for him personally and why Kerry should imitate that SNL skit where the guy playing Kerry does the ugh! kooties! dance away from the guy playing Gore.

    Gore is creepy. Gore is unlikable. Gore is also, apparently, kinda kooky. I thought it was just me, and my admittedly kooky conviction that Gore is a G’ aould, but people are starting to come around to my way of thinking. It doesn’t matter if some of what he said was true, or astute, or whatever. It’s not what he said (and some of what he said was just stupid and offensive), it’s how he said it. And he said it like a crazed street preacher. It made the Dean scream look temperate. Americans like passion, but they aren’t comfortable with ranting; ranting is for pundits and talking heads and the occassional iconoclastic U.S. representative. Ranting is not for politicians who aspire to high office.

    What Pat Buchanan (another crazy man whom hardline party faithful simply could not recognize as such till it was way too late) did to the Republicans with his convention speech in 1992 Al Gore could well do to the Dems, if they’re foolish enough to give him any camera time in Boston.

    Another analogy that I’m sure someone will object to: GW Bush connects with people on an emotional level like Clinton did. Kerry fails to connect with people on an emotional level like GW’s father did. Maybe that shouldn’t matter, but something tells me it does.

  29. It’s interesting watching people try to switch the issue. The Herald was caught, without question, misrepresenting Gore. So what are the Herald’s defenders doing? They’re pointing out what a creep Gore is. Of course he is. But for that very reason, misrepresenting him hands him the high ground for no good reason.

    Honesty isn’t just for “deserving” people; someone who decides that we need a little extra “help” to recognize the undeserving is untrustworthy across the board.

  30. gil, i think you’re referring to gadfly’s post, not mine.

    as for my excuse, i guess i never had the same harrowing experience the rest of you assholes did. 🙂

  31. or to be more fair, you wouldn’t have been satisfied unless jesse’s post began with “al gore, spawn of satan and all that is unholy and fully communistic, slithered across the stage while the valiant boston herald attempted to fight off the tentacled beast as best as its op ed page could…”

    or maybe just “al gore is bad” – which is obviously fucking true, mind you…but not the point here.

  32. “Al Gore’s latest speech is just like all his other speeches – nothing more than a bunch of shrill squealing … ”

    Well. It seems his speech and your post have something in common.

  33. It’s too bad I didn’t hear Gore’s speech, I might have understood the complaints regarding his delivery. I did give the speech a quick read however, and he made a number of good points. Too bad they were mixed in with a bit of sour grapes ranting.

    What the Herald commented on was one of the good (but trivial) points. Gore delivers a truism known well(!) before Madison’s time, and the Herald tries to spin it. Kinda comical, really.

    One of Gore’s more sobering points was what Bush has done with the expensive (3000 souls, billions of prime NY real estate) political capital gained from 9/11. Bush bought a boondoogle in Iraq, and mismanaged things to the point that we have a near complete reversal of world opinion about us, all within 3 years.

    On the off chance it might help, I’d like to try an intellectual president this Nov.

  34. “gil, i think you’re referring to gadfly’s post, not mine.”

    You’re right it was him (or her) not you. Sorry about that.

    “as for my excuse, i guess i never had the same harrowing experience the rest of you assholes did. :)”

    You expect us to believe that?

    “It’s interesting watching people try to switch the issue. The Herald was caught, without question, misrepresenting Gore. So what are the Herald’s defenders doing? They’re pointing out what a creep Gore is. Of course he is. But for that very reason, misrepresenting him hands him the high ground for no good reason.”

    Who’s defending the Herald? As far as I’m concerned that ISN’T the issue. Gore himself IS the issue. He’s never had the “high ground” on anything – and never could. As for misrepresentation, as far as I’m concerned, it’s misrepsentative for Walker to link to a transcript of Gore’s speech “as prepared” on a Move On site and characterize it as “mainstream critique” since someone who only saw that without actually seeing or hearing the tone of his speech and all his other ranting and raving remarks would not get the full picture of it.

  35. “Al Gore’s latest speech is just like all his other speeches – nothing more than a bunch of shrill squealing … ”

    “Well. It seems his speech and your post have something in common.”

    Nope.

    Shrill squealing is EXCLUSIVELY a liberal trait.

  36. “I thought it was just me, and my admittedly kooky conviction that Gore is a G’ aould…”

    Am I the only one who gets this reference?

    JAFFA, KREE!

  37. “Shrill squealing is EXCLUSIVELY a liberal trait.”

    I take it you are a liberal then, sir?

  38. “I take it you are a liberal then, sir?”

    Nope.

  39. I just thank God we don’t have a President that needs to keep a towel on the podium to wipe off the slobber that forms on the edge of his mouth.

  40. I just thank God we don’t have a President that needs to keep a towel on the podium to wipe off the slobber that forms on the edge of his mouth.

    Clinton did keep cleaning products handy in his office, but that was for different reasons….

  41. Mark S: I’ve suspected Gore of having a snake in his head since around the 2000 presidential campaign. And I think Tipper knows about it, too. Maybe we should track down a tape of the MoveOn speech and look at his eyes, frame by frame…

    Now, if you want to talk really nutty hypotheses, David Icke has a very complicated theory about most of the world’s leaders being reptilian aliens wearing humansuits. That, of course, is just silly.

  42. Being sensitive as well as shrill, I was feeling hurt there for awhile. I’m glad Gil finally got the blame pinned correctly.

  43. “Now, if you want to talk really nutty hypotheses, David Icke has a very complicated theory about most of the world’s leaders being reptilian aliens wearing humansuits. That, of course, is just silly.”

    I saw Icke on the “Alien Abduction” episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit. Though I first came across his particular breed of paranoia while reading Kenneth Hite’s “Suppressed Transmissions.”

    What a loon. Everyone knows that the world is dominated by powerful extra-dimensional beings that pose as gods to the primative cultures of the world. The look to the time when the stars are right and when they can sweep from world to world, spreading death, insanity, and chaos in their wake! IA! IA! CTHULHU F’TAGN!!!

    Now Gore as an avatar of Nyralathotep? That I can buy.

  44. Hey Jesse, if you think Gore, frothing with hyperbole (at best) represents a good mainstream critique of the Iraq war, you’re deeper gone that I thought. Heck, even Jay Leno was making fun of him.

  45. Indeed….

  46. Wow, even Jay Leno. Gee, that is devastating.

    “He’s never had the “high ground” on anything – and never could.” OK, Gil, just we know your opinion of the man isn’t clouded by personal dislike.

  47. Why would Reynolds, much less Goldberg, care about a lie as long as it supports their cause?

    That’s pretty strong, guy. I don’t read Golberg but Reynolds as prevaricator or willing conduit for lies?

  48. I endorse the editorial just based on the subjunctive. How rare is the subjunctive these days!

    Its classical purpose is moral posturing and sparring for time, eg. “If there be justice …” “Would God I were …” “Be that as it may …” “Far be it from me …” and, on the delay side, “What if it were?”

    The time for concern is when editorials go into the indicative.

  49. Jesse,

    It’s not where we’ve gone, it’s where you (and the bulk of the Reason staff) have gone. Haven’t you wondered why TCS is getting all the action these days?

    As for people squawking about Bush “squandering goodwill” — I’m much more concerned with avoiding another, larger 9/11 with a nuke than I am about how people on Saddam’s payroll and people who watch Al Jezeera perceive America. If we succeed in liberalizing Iraq and the region eventually follows, the plaudits can come later.

    Bush went into Iraq to give liberalization a chance — because the alternative is total warfare against the cultures that throw candy in the streets when the towers come down. Al Gore’s “previous successful policies” from the 1990s have shown their merits.

  50. The point about Leno, Joe, is that Jesse claims Gore’s nuttiness represents a “mainstream critique.” Leno getting laughs at Gore’s expense is far more representative of what mainstream America is thinking. LBJ knew Vietnam was over when he lost Cronkite. Today, Leno is a better barometer.

    Most of the staff at Reason has been anti-war from the start, but I didn’t think any of them had lost it to the extent that Gore’s ravings would be considered anything but embarrassing.

  51. Though I first came across his particular breed of paranoia while reading Kenneth Hite’s “Suppressed Transmissions.”

    Yeah, Ken Hite’s stuff is fantastic. I’d forgotten that reference until now. It’s a small world, finding another Pyramid subscriber here on Reason . . .

  52. Larry, since when are Jay Leno’s jokes about people’s mannerisms an indication of his political loyalties?

  53. And the positions put forth by Gore are completely mainstream. Note that the sniping done on this thread, as with Leno’s jokes, relate to his manner of speaking, facial expressions, charges made against him in the last election, etc, and avoid the substance of his remarks. People who aren’t afraid they’re losing the argument tend to stick to the matters being discussed, rather than ragging on their opponent’s haircut, complexion, and speaking voice.

  54. If you repeat a lie often enough, the ditto heads will believe as fact.

  55. My God, at first I thought the Herald piece was satirical.
    Is it not also “a right of anyone in this free country” to denounce Bush as incompetent?

  56. When you substitute party identity for personal philosophy, this is the kind of stupid argumentation you get.

    Right after their biggotry on several fronts, party conservatives depress me most with their insistence that institutions are a proxy for ideas. “You must have respect for the Office!” I don’t know what that means, but it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t criticize the office holder for actions you disagree with.

  57. Jesse and Jason Ligon need to spend just a bit more time listening to that fearsome GOP echo chamber. According to Byron York, Republicans loved Gore’s speech, mainly because it made Gore look like a ranting Howard Dean.

  58. You should probably point out that the Boston Herald is a steaming, disreputable piece of crap, slightly above Weekly World News.

    It’s front page yesterday consisted of a picture of John Kerry and the screaming headline, “Senator Flip Flop Does it Again”

    It’s one of those papers with a really good Sports section, half assed journalism, and a carefully selected group of pit bull commentators scattered througout the news section.

  59. I read York’s unimpressive article yesterday, Eric. I can’t see how it contradicts anything either Jason or I wrote.

  60. Maybe the Republicans ought to read Federalist Papers #10 and & #15; Gore merely echoes Madisonian philosophy vis a vis human nature. What a bunch stupid twits.

  61. Joe: Have you ever read Weekly World News? It’s a humor publication, like the Onion.

    The Herald routinely puts screaming headlines in 216 point type on its front page. They denounced Kerry when he said he might delay his nomination acceptance, then denounced him again when he said he wouldn’t.

    As for Gore, those are the most intelligent words I’ve ever heard from him. Make that the first intelligent words I’ve heard from him.

  62. “Maybe the Republicans ought to read Federalist Papers #10 and & #15; Gore merely echoes Madisonian philosophy vis a vis human nature. What a bunch stupid twits.”

    How dare Al Gore echo the Federalist Papers, and how dare you point out that the Herald et al are stupid twits, even if it is true!

  63. Eric raised a good point. The right wing echo chamber is so out of touch, so drunk on their propaganda, that any criticism of Dear Leader sounds to them like David Horwitz circa 1969.

    These are the people who keep calling Tom Daschle “vicious.”

  64. I doubt it will happen. Fact burn those two to the touch.

  65. garym,

    I know it’s a humor paper. The Herald isn’t – which makes its newsroom full of Ed Angers even more disturbing.

    And much of what Gore said in this speech, he’s been saying since 2002. It isn’t his words that have changed, it’s your perception.

  66. The speech wasn’t the worst we’ve seen of Al Gore. His “Earth in Balance” book is a Hummer H2 to his Geo Metro speech at New York University.

    I liked it, although I’m not an Al Gore fan. Well, I liked the bearded, button down sweater Gore, but this greased, perspiring Gore makes me want to bury my head in a pillow.

    The gulag references were the only thing I didn’t like. However, Gorebot was just reciting the May 6 and May 20 Salon.com columns from Sydney Blumenthal.

  67. I wonder if Gore is just as upset that no one in the Roosevelt administration was fired or disciplined for the internment of innocent Japanese-Americans during World War II?

    I wonder if Gore believes that FDR was worse than Hitler?

  68. I wonder if I’d work so hard to change the subject if one of my hero’s presidency was collapsing.

  69. Joe: This is what Al Gore said in a speech to the CFR in 2002.

    Clip 1
    I also support the President’s stated goals in the next phases of the war against terrorism as he laid them out in the State of the Union.

    Clip 2
    Since the State of the Union there has been much discussion of whether Iraq, Iran and North Korea truly constitute an ?Axis of Evil.? As far as I?m concerned, there really is something to be said for occasionally putting diplomacy aside and laying one?s cards on the table. There is value in calling evil by its name.

    Clip 3
    And there is a clear case that one of these governments in particular represents a virulent threat in a class by itself: Iraq.

    As far as I am concerned, a final reckoning with that government should be on the table. To my way of thinking, the real question is not the principle of the thing, but of making sure that this time we will finish the matter on our te
    rms.

    He even quotes “neo-conservative” Michael Novak in the speech. I think the intellectually honest critique is Dan Drezener’s latest piece in TnR. The White House has done a very poor job of managing Iraq. I think its domestic political concerns have swallowed its Iraqi policy.

  70. Joe: Lighten up Francis. Tis Friday. 🙂

  71. I’m just glad the title didn’t include the next line of “Maryland My Maryland”, which would have had the former-VP flecking the streets of Baltimore. Nobody wants to see that. 🙂

  72. Jesse,
    Maybe, just maybe, Republicans aren’t as upset about Gore’s speech as you suggested? And all this ridiculous handwringing about conservatives wanting to stamp out dissent is a smelly pile of BS?

  73. joe: I wonder if I’d work so hard to change the subject if one of my hero’s presidency was collapsing.

    Are you talking about FDR?

  74. Matthew: I wish TCS the best. We’re doing quite well and I hope they are too.

    Larry: Gore’s comments are well within the mainstream critique of the war. Indeed, my chief disagreements with his speech relate to where it’s too mainstream — too obsessed, for example, with preserving “the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II.” Gore said very little that isn’t being said by lots of other non-radical public figures. You’d have to live in a bubble to think otherwise.

    So Leno is making fun of him? Big deal. I don’t know what jokes Leno made, but I’d be amazed if they had anything to do with the content of the talk; more likely they related to the silly taboo that a politician should never get angry or show emotion. Which is pretty damn irrelevent to what we’re talking about here.

    Meanwhile, the Herald is just making shit up. I hope you can spare a little outrage for that.

  75. Yeah, questioning the efficacy of those “checks and balances” is really beyond the pale.

    But, um, weren’t those “checks and balances” originally supposed to stop things like, say, federal spending growing to over 20% of the GNP, or the states being reduced to administrative districts? Maybe, just maybe, the existence of a perpertual warfare-welfare state for the last sixty-odd years indicates those “checks and balances” didn’t work so well after all.

  76. Jason,

    That “respect the office” crap always pushes me over the edge.

    The president is the hired help. If I give him any respect–or not–it’s only as a human being. His “office” is entitled to no more honor or respect than I give the office of city dog-catcher.

  77. I suspect this is the last election cycle where anyone at all is going to listen to Mr. Gore. Maybe he should settle down and write big policy books (a la Nixon or Kissinger) if he wants to give his reputation some gravitas. This Lon Chaney act he’s been doing the past few years is just annoying people.

  78. “Meanwhile, the Herald is just making shit up. I hope you can spare a little outrage for that.”

    Okay, I already ignore the NY Times. I’ll ignore the Herald, too.

  79. “Gore’s comments are well within the mainstream critique of the war. Indeed, my chief disagreements with his speech relate to where it’s too mainstream — too obsessed, for example, with preserving “the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II.” Gore said very little that isn’t being said by lots of other non-radical public figures. You’d have to live in a bubble to think otherwise.”

    Uh Huh – other “non-radical” figures like Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, etc.

    There isn’t ANY “mainstream critique” of the war since the anti-war position in and of itself is outside the “mainstream”.

  80. “Gore’s comments are well within the mainstream critique of the war. Indeed, my chief disagreements with his speech relate to where it’s too mainstream — too obsessed, for example, with preserving “the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II.” Gore said very little that isn’t being said by lots of other non-radical public figures. You’d have to live in a bubble to think otherwise.”

    Uh Huh – other “non-radical” figures like Ted Kennedy, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, etc.

    There isn’t ANY “mainstream critique” of the war since the anti-war position in and of itself is outside the “mainstream”.

  81. Gil, in all kindness, I don’t think you are the best arbiter of what counts as “mainstream.” Just because some figures are barely visible to you over the horizon doesn’t mean they’re standing next to each other.

    Charles Hagel, John McCain, Anthony Zinni fer Chrissakes!

  82. Here’s a Daily Howler article covering much the same ground. Pundits’ main problem was he spoke too long (64 minutes) and too loud for aout 2 or the 64 minutes when he called for some resignations, echoing Republican General Zinni’s same demand earlier this week.

    http://dailyhowler.com/dh052804.shtml

  83. Charles Hagel: Communist!

    John McCain: Communist!

    Anthony Zinni: Communist! And gay!

  84. “”He’s never had the “high ground” on anything – and never could.” OK, Gil, just we know your opinion of the man isn’t clouded by personal dislike.”

    Oh that’s not based on him being Gore – it’s because he’s a liberal. You see that’s another exclusive liberal trait – none of them have EVER had the high ground on anything and none ever could.

  85. sm,

    he he he he he he he.

  86. There isn’t ANY “mainstream critique” of the war since the anti-war position in and of itself is outside the “mainstream”.

    That’s right. There are no mainstream critics of the war. There never have been!

    And we have always been at war with Eurasia!

    If you repeat something long enough, it starts to make a lot of sense.

    Four legs good! Two legs better!

  87. what’s up with Reason becoming a mouthpiece for the tired, statist party of power politics?

    you may be too cynical to believe that we can liberate the dark corners of the earth through force of arms but, since the only alternative is to substantially curtail liberty within a Fortress America, why pretend to be libertarians at all?

  88. There are many alternatives, idiot. The “either or” posit is growing pretty old.

  89. “Gil, in all kindness, I don’t think you are the best arbiter of what counts as “mainstream.””

    Well that’s fine with me Joe, since I don’t consider you or anyone else here an arbiter of what counts as “mainstream” either.

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