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.