Hillary Clinton

Gingrich-Gore '08: For a Snootier America

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There are two takeways in this Ryan Lizza interview with Al Gore.

1) What an insufferable, elitist scold he is. (Gore, not Lizza.)

2) How much he sounds like Newt Gingrich.

To wit:

"I don't want to be critical of the candidates. That's not my intention," he says. "I don't think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas. It's multiple overlapping games of gotcha, and who can read the polls and the focus groups most skillfully and discern some new manipulative option that can be quickly parlayed into a couple of percentage points in the next poll and parlay that into greater fund-raising totals by the end of the next reporting period." It's almost as if he feels sorry for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the others, as if they are hamsters locked in the cage of a broken political process, a cage that Gore is all too familiar with and does not seem to miss.

Compare that with what Newt Gingrich said in North Carolina.

"We have shrunk our political process to this pathetic dance in which people spend an entire year raising money in order to offer nonanswers, so they can memorize what their consultants and focus groups said would work," Gingrich said.

In a speech to the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank, the prospective Republican candidate said he will not consider running until he has created a wave of reform.

No wonder Gingrich wants to modernize our health care system: He needs immediate medical attention on that grotesquely swollen head. "Our politics are too small and petty" is the most trite, tired possible critique you can make of a presidential election—the doctrine of whiners who know they can't win. Did Gingrich think this way about politics when he was building a GOP platform based on what polled above 70 pecent? When he was sheparding the impeachment of Clinton I because he thought it would win the party House seats? Did Gore think politics was too small when he was egging on Ed Koch in the battle to set New York Jews against New York black voters? When he promised Al Sharpton that the "first civil rights act of the 21st century would be a law outlawing racial profiling"?

Enough already with pretending Gore and Gingrich are prophets or above politics. They wouldn't know straight talk if John McCain's bus ran them over.

Getcher Gingrich-bashing here and your Gore-loathing here.

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  1. Oooohhhh! Mean! Also, they’re both fat.

    (Yeah, I wouldn’t vote for either. Perhaps they can form a foundation for bipartisan loftitudinousness.)

  2. “Reason: Free Minds, Free Markets, and we don’t like our politicans too smart.”

  3. Well, they’re both right in a sense, and if their past opportunism makes them look like hypocrites to act all sage-like now, well perhaps it’s that past that informs their critiques now.

    That said, in lieu of offering any realistic alternatives, it’s all so much curmudgeonliness. Plus, as much as I can relate to why they might criticize the way things are, I’m skeptical that they’re really any worse than…..before. Hmmm, before what? Well anyway, whatever….

  4. No, “You need to take Econ 101. Demand Kurve!” is the doctrine of whiners who know they can’t win.

    If only everyone was smart and REASONable enough to be a libertarian. Now I’m going to go back to the thread beneath the approving post about the economists complaining that the public is stupid.

  5. I’m not sure that either of the quotes supports your premise, Dave. Don’t get me wrong, I find both Gore and Gingrich to be insufferable scolds, but that doesn’t make their quotes less true.

    Look back that the debates, who really had something substantive to say besides Ron Paul and Mike Gravel? And both were treated as at best, a distraction, and more typically, as delusional nuts.

  6. Yeah, how did Gingrich stake out the territory of the above-the-fray guru?

    Must be the liberal mainstream media.

  7. “Yeah, how did Gingrich stake out the territory of the above-the-fray guru?”

    Two reasons for that, he is a nice guy who charms reporters and he out of politics and in no danger of winning an election. When Gingrich actually mattered and was winning elections the press treated him as if he were some mad evil genius. Now that he is in no danger of accomplishing anything, they can be nice to him. The MSM loves to have pet Republicans they can keep in cages to show how unbiased they are as long as said Republicans are charming and interesting people and don’t do anything out of line like win an election or influence policy.

  8. Not sure I see the problem, both Gore and Gingrich had a career playing politics, and they find much of what they had to do in that career to be petty and beneath them. Hell, most people feel that way about a great deal of their jobs. Seem’s like they are just on target in their specifics (that candidates today are boringly scripted), so what’s up?

  9. I think Gingrich has a real chance, if he enters the campaign.

    He’s at least half again as smart as any other declared Republican (except maybe Paul), and the Contract for America and the 94 campaign as a whole have proven his skills as a campaigner.

  10. Now I’m going to go back to the thread beneath the approving post about the economists complaining that the public is stupid.

    Wow, you ain’t kidding, joe! I just checked and you had four of the last six posts on that thread!!

  11. “I think Gingrich has a real chance, if he enters the campaign.”

    You really think so? I think he is too much of an odd ball in some ways and has a bad habbit of telling the truth in public. Makes him a good interview, but not such a great candidate. Also, he really does have some ethical baggage from the 1990s.

  12. No fan of Gore, I, but this quote is the frickin truth.

    “I don’t think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas. It’s multiple overlapping games of gotcha, and who can read the polls and the focus groups most skillfully and discern some new manipulative option that can be quickly parlayed into a couple of percentage points in the next poll and parlay that into greater fund-raising totals by the end of the next reporting period.”

  13. See, humans are adaptable. When they are in a campaign they act and talk one way, when they are not in a campaign, the are different.

    Step outside and observe the inside.

  14. “Enough already with pretending Gore and Gingrich are prophets or above politics.”

    I haven’t really followed Gingrich’s public life too closely, and I agree with Weigel that Gore probably isn’t above politics so much as just bad at it, but face it: In the Bush era, Gore has been more “prophetic” about some of the major issues of the day than many Reason staffers.

    Nick Gillespie had mixed feelings about the war and only came to his senses fairly late in the game. Ronald Bailey was spectacularly wrong about global warming for years and supported the Iraq War at first. Michael Young probably still thinks the war was worth it. And Cathy Young, well, I’ll let her idiocy speak for itself:

    “It is certainly true that the war in Iraq has been mishandled; it may have been misguided in the first place. It is, regrettably, true that the cavalier attitude toward prisoner abuse has undermined our moral authority in the war on terror. But acknowledging our mistakes and misdeeds should not undercut moral clarity when it comes to terrorism. The jihadists are driven primarily by hatred of Western civilization and its freedom; their primary targets are innocent civilians; and they cannot be defeated except by force.”

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/32032.html

    And in words that should be etched forever in the libertarian Hall of Shame:

    “It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes; perhaps there are no true libertarians in times of terrorist attacks.”

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/31970.html

    So by all means, Weigel, mock Gore for being pompous. He probably deserves it. But the truth is the country would probably have been better off with his ideas over the past six years than with those of some of your colleagues.

    Better to be harmlessly arrogant than dangerously wrong.

  15. “I don’t think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas.”

    jesus fucking christ welcome to earth enjoy your stay.

    holy fucking shit are we ever screwed when a 5000lb rock called “THE INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS” falls out of the sky and we give this fucking bozo points for saying “hey dudes! it’s a rock! rock rock rock rock rock!”

    give me a fucking break.

  16. BTW, Gore has won several campaigns for Congress, the Senate, Vice President, and the Presidency (if we’re defining “winning” at the ballot box).

    He has lost exactly one campaign, the 1988 Democratic Primary. Pretty good for a guy who can’t win an election.

  17. It is certainly true that the war in Iraq has been mishandled; it may have been misguided in the first place. It is, regrettably, true that the cavalier attitude toward prisoner abuse has undermined our moral authority in the war on terror. But acknowledging our mistakes and misdeeds should not undercut moral clarity when it comes to terrorism. The jihadists are driven primarily by hatred of Western civilization and its freedom; their primary targets are innocent civilians; and they cannot be defeated except by force.”

    In the hall of shame? In bizzaro world maybe. What do you think the barbarians who destroyed the mosoque in Samara yesterday are doing so to fight the Imperialist Americans? Do you think the people who use their children to infiltrate suicide bombs are just peaceful people driven to violence by poverty? Oh I know, it is all the US’s fault for suporting Israel. If you can’t see the evil of some of the people we are fighting in Iraq and Afganistan you are not a libertarian you just a fucking nutcase.

  18. Joe,

    If Clinton had resigned in 1998 like he should have, Gore would probably be President right now or certainly would have been so in 2000. He didn’t used to be a bad politician at all. He just fell off a cliff after he lost the 2000 election.

  19. John,

    I recognize that Gingrich has weaknesses as a candidate, but he also has formidable strengths. Look at that word, “formidable.” Name me one leading Republican contender who you would apply that to.

    As for Gore, yeah, he probably would have won easily under those circumstances.

    But as far as, “He just fell off a cliff after he lost the 2000 election,” I guess you haven’t seen much polling. Lemme guess – you’re basing this conclusion on the press he got after his big anti-war speech just prior to the Iraq War, right?

    Times have changed, buddy. The hook on which the Gore-bashing was hung is now gleaming in a prominent spot in his trophy case.

  20. John,

    Let me make a point that might be useful to you in the next thread about Venezuela: Even if I knew that Clinton’s resignation in 1998 would have led to 10 years of a Gore presidency, I still would have opposed it.

    The damage to our democratic system that would have been done by allowing that partisan lynch mob to hound a president out of office would absolutely not have been worth having “the right person” in charge, because such a “coup” would have brought similar undemocratic actions into the workings of our political system, for a long time.

  21. John–
    I realize empirical evidence isn’t your thing since the last time I provided some you exited the thread rather than bothering to stay and defend your opinions, which have all the logical rigor of a Tourette’s Syndrome victim’s exclamations without any of the thoughtfulness. But for your enjoyment:

    “The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign-over 95 percent of all the incidents-has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.”

    http://www.amconmag.com/2005_07_18/article.html

    Yes, a lot of these people are evil. But that’s quite different from saying they hate us because we are free.

  22. He has lost exactly one campaign, the 1988 Democratic Primary.

    Ya know, anytime I start thinking that joe isn’t at least as partisan as the next guy, something sets him off on the Great Stolen Election of 2000.

    Give it up, joe. He lost. By every count, under the Electoral College rules that actually apply, and as reviewed by the Supreme Court.

  23. such a “coup” would have brought similar undemocratic actions into the workings of our political system, for a long time.

    Good thing there haven’t been any Democrats baying for a Bush impeachment, eh?

  24. Gore can come across as pompous at times, but I thought the point of reason was to attack the substance of candidates’ ideas and to refrain from personal insults.

  25. On the Internet, a lot of people think “ad hominem” means saying, “You’re gay!” But Weigel’s post here is actually the classic ad hominem: asserting that an argument is implicitly flawed because of its presenter.

    Who cares if it’s being made by Gore or Gingrich? It’s valid on its face. Indeed, Weigel’s instinctive focus on personality gets at PRECISELY what the two are complaining about in modern politics.

  26. “Yes, a lot of these people are evil. But that’s quite different from saying they hate us because we are free.”

    Why do they want the Democratic state to withdraw? Because the last thing they want is for a democracy or freedom to occur where they are. To take Al quada at its word, the goal is to create a universal caliphate over all of Islam and then use the power of that caliphate to destroy the west and enforce Islam over the entire world. Not that they will ever do that in my lifetime or that that isn’t a pretty cracked goal, but that is what they want to do. They hate us because we are not Islamic and because of our culture. In other words they hate us becuase we have freedom.

  27. “Why do they want the Democratic state to withdraw? Because the last thing they want is for a democracy or freedom to occur where they are.”

    Please provide academic citations for this bold(by which I mean absurd) claim. If you cannot, you are just speaking out of ignorance and should just head back to Townhall.com where you will be praised as a sage.

    It you had bothered to read my link, you would have come across this…

    “RP: Osama bin Laden’s speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.

    In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States-that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

    TAC: The fact that we had troops stationed on the Arabian Peninsula was not a very live issue in American debate at all. How many Saudis and other people in the Gulf were conscious of it?

    RP: We would like to think that if we could keep a low profile with our troops that it would be okay to station them in foreign countries. The truth is, we did keep a fairly low profile. We did try to keep them away from Saudi society in general, but the key issue with American troops is their actual combat power. Tens of thousands of American combat troops, married with air power, is a tremendously powerful tool.

    Now, of course, today we have 150,000 troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and we are more in control of the Arabian Peninsula than ever before.

    TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

    RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

    If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people-three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia-with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.

    Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

    I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

    Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.”

  28. Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never.

    Sure. Why would the terrorists attack one of their biggest state supporters and “enemy-of-their-enemies”? What would they gain by attacking Iraq?

  29. R C Dean,

    “By every count…”

    Um, no, he won the popular vote by over 1/2 million votes. And since the question at hand is his ability to appeal to voters and win elections, that would appear to be the relevant count.

    Why are you bringing up the legitimacy of seating Bush? Defensive much?

    John,

    “Why do they want the Democratic state to withdraw?” Why does any group want a foreign occupier to withdraw? Haven’t you ever seen Red Dawn?

  30. R C,

    “Why would the terrorists attack one of their biggest state supporters and “enemy-of-their-enemies”?”

    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask bin Laden why he VOLUNTEERED TO ORGANIZE AN ARMED RESISTANCE TO SADDAM HUSSEIN IN KUWAIT IN 1991?

  31. Also, “one of their biggest state supporters” is bullshit. Most Americans have realized this for years.

  32. After 20 years of redneck hell, I hope and pray (well, I don’t pray) that snootiness, or as it is more widely known, intelligence, reoccupies the White House.

  33. “Our politics are too small and petty” is the most trite, tired possible critique you can make of a presidential election-the doctrine of whiners who know they can’t win.

    I would like to point out that H&R has been pushing a book lately which apparently states that most American voters aren’t particularly bright.

  34. “‘Our politics are too small and petty’ is the most trite, tired possible critique you can make of a presidential election-the doctrine of whiners who know they can’t win”

    Blamed if I’m not one of those whiners. Back in 1999 I always whined about how George W. Bush was a petty frat-boy unfit for the White House. And now look at the huge success he’s been. Guess I’ll stop whining, you know, buy a truck.

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