The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 01, 2007

Ready to feel depressed?

Everyone knows I'm a longtime fan of Al Gore (and by everyone I mean this site's limited readership). And I could go on for hours about the tragic irony of the 2000 and 2004 elections, with G-Dub's carefully calculated and utterly insincere regular guy/compassionate conservative
schtick winning over a frightening number of people, and Gore being hammered mercilessly for his attempt to play the same game in spite of his actual sincerity-- which are obviously a hell of a lot better for the nation than what we've gotten. Followed by John Kerry's colossally unwise decision to follow in Gore's footsteps. Yes, the man who more Americans would infamously "like to have a beer with" was a real charmer, in a Ted Bundy sort of way. And the stiff, uptight guys mocked as out-of-touch were just what Americans profess to want: genuine people uncomfortable with elections playing out like high school popularity contests-- biggest phony takes all. With the press playing the role of 'sneering hipster secretly dying to be part of the in crowd' the whole time. But I'll just leave it at that and move on to the interview.

No, no, Gore demurred, that's not what he meant. Then he retreated to the safer ground of his new book, "The Assault on Reason," a sermon on Bush’s hubris and the decline of public discourse. "I would hope that whoever becomes the nominee in both parties would recognize that American democracy is in trouble," he said. "We need more than just 30-second ads. We need more than nostrums and bromides and palliatives and these buzz words that are poll-tested."

One reason to take the former vice president at his word that he does not expect to again be a candidate for national office — as he was for four consecutive elections from 1988 to 2000 — is that he is more comfortable as preacher and professor than he was as politician.

Over the course of a 30-minute conversation, Gore traversed the war, climate change and the evolution of modern media (his own voracious media appetite, he said, ranges from The New York Times to Daily Kos and the Drudge Report). When the inevitable question came — his intentions about 2008 — he said politics "rewards a tolerance for artifice, repetition, triviality that I don't have in as great supply as I might have had when I was younger."

The tone of the piece is too smarmy by half for my taste, but that seems to be the standard MO for the hotly anticipated and spectacularly disappointing Politico. It's as if 'journalists' are gentically programmed to include smirking condescension into anything involving Gore-- in spite of everything from the farce of Bush v Gore all the bungling, corrupt, scandal-plagued, murderous way to the present.

Highly recommended reading-- everything in quotation marks, that is.