Friday, December 16, 2005

Sore Loserman, Two

I'm not ready to jump on the Al Gore bandwagon, although over the last couple years he has sure sounded like a President.

But I can't forget how he booted the 2000 election.

Yes, the Media Elites were hostile to him and, determined to punish him because they couldn't punish Bill Clinton and bring him down, did their best to make the most important issues of the campaign Gore's supposed lies about inventing the Internet and modeling for the character of Oliver in Love, Story.

The first "lie" was a Republican twisting of a legitimate claim by Gore and the second was a harmless bit of vanity, but the Media Elites repeated them over and over as if the one was true and the other important, contending that taken together they told us something vital about Al Gore's character.

Meanwhile, with all their attention focused on their invented flaws in Gore's character, they neglected to notice or point out that George Bush didn't have any---character, that is, not flaws. Flaws he had aplenty.

But although the Media Elites didn't help Gore they didn't undo him.

Neither did Ralph Nader.

Gore undid himself.

It's fun to point out that Gore actually won the election. Not just fun, it's true, and it's necessary to keep pointing it out because the Media's willingness to ignore the fact has helped create the mess the country's in now by legitimizing George W. Bush's stolen Presidency. Gore won more votes across the nation. Gore won more votes in Florida. An honest recount would have proven that, but even without that only a fool or a tool believes that Pat Buchanan won all those votes in Palm Beach County. Even the most diehard Right Wing lickspittles for Bush don't question that one. They just make fun of little old ladies and claim that the people who can't read the unreadable don't deserve to have their votes counted.

But the reason the Bush Leaguers were able to steal the Presidency was that Gore's margin of victory was absurdly small.

Bush squeeked out his re-election, and it was laughable when he claimed that he had any kind of a mandate after that.

Al Gore's mandate would have been even more laughable.

And that should not have happened.

Gore should have won in a walk.

Gore didn't need Florida. He needed New Hampshire. He needed Arkansas. He needed Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana---all states that Bill Clinton won in 1996, all states that Gore lost in 2000.

If Gore had picked up even one of those states, he'd have been President---assuming the Bush Leaguers didn't find another way of stealing the election.

I don't know if he could have won all of them (Clinton lost Illinois; Gore won it. So it goes.) but he should have been able to win a few of them, and I believe the reason he didn't was Gore's own vanity.

In 2000, Al Gore forgot that the reason he was the Democratic candidate for President was that Bill Clinton couldn't run for a third term.

He forgot that Bill Clinton was currently the most popular President ever.

He forgot that he was Bill Clinton's Vice-President.

He forgot that the main reason most of us were voting for him was because we expected him to pick up where Clinton left off.

He decided that what America wanted was an Al Gore who had nothing to do with Bill Clinton.

So he wouldn't let Clinton campaign with him, even though Gore should never have appeared in any Southern state, including his home state of Tennessee, without Bill Clinton glued to his hip.

And he chose for his running mate the one and only Democratic Senator who had distinguished himself as a critic of Bill Clinton during the Impeachment Crisis, the one and only Democratic Senator who had gone out of his way to help give a veneer of bipartisan respectability to the Republican attempt at a coup.

He chose the Quisling from Connecticut and thereby announced to the country that he, Al Gore, wanated nothing to do with Bill Clinton.

Which was essentially the argument, "Don't vote for me if you want the policies of the last eight years to continue."

Since the Republican candidate was making that same argument, the choice came down to picking between two anti-Clintons.

No surprise that people faced with that choice decided that if it was time for a change from Clinton they might as well go the whole way and vote for the anti-est anti-Clinton.

Understandably, Al Gore wanted to be seen as his own man, and to be elected President for his own qualifications and achievements. But that wasn't what the rest of the country wanted and a smarter politician---one with more humility, a virtue that is not incompatable with outrageous ego, which is why I'd argue that Clinton has humility, FDR and JFK had it too, and perhaps Al Gore has finally learned it---would have recognized that and accepted it and used it.

The time for Al Gore to be his own man was during his Presidency. His re-election campaign in 2004 would have been about his achievements.

There was somthing else Gore forgot.

That he wasn't a Southerner.

At least not one other Southerners recognized as one of them.

He'd been too long in Washington.

He'd been too much a member of the Club.

He was seen for what he was, a representative of the Northeastern Liberal Establishment.

A view of himself he confirmed when he chose another member of the Club as his running mate.

Nevermind what we know Lieberman is now, when he and Al Gore appeared together on posters, in commercials, and on the stump, what a lot of Southerners saw---Southerners, hell. What most people saw---was a pair of smug, pointy-headed, Northeastern, Liberal elitists running against a Texan and a Westerner.

Republicans at the time tried, and they're still trying, to paint Bill Clinton as the exact same sort of smug, pointy-headed, Liberal elitist, but what most people saw when they looked at Bill was one of them, a Bubba.

When it came time to choose his own Vice-President, Al Gore forgot that Bill Clinton hadn't chosen him to shore up Clinton's image as a Southerner, but to reassure the Democratic establishment that he was a serious would-be statesman.

Gore needed his own Clinton.

He chose his own Al Gore.

In doing so, I believe he wrote off all those Southern states that Bill Clinton had won.

So as much as I like what Gore has been up to, I still haven't gotten over the way he fumbled the ball in 2000.

I can forgive him for that, if he shows he's learned from his mistakes. But I'm not sure I can forgive him for what else his chosing Lieberman did.

It made Joe Lieberman think he was important.

It made the Media Elites think Joe Lieberman was important.

It made Joe Lieberman what he is today.

The darling of the Right Wing blogs, the White House's pet Democrat, and the future Republican Senator from Connecticut.


Post a Comment

<< Home