by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
October 18, 2007
LIFE IS NOT WRITTEN BY AARON SORKIN
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- I started writing this column because I wanted Al Gore to run for president. Halfway through, I talked myself out of it.
Like so many after the crooked 2000 election, I calmed myself by watching "The West Wing," in which Jeb Bartlett, a brilliant, well-read, courageous, deep-hearted, far-thinking economist with - you see where this is going? - a Nobel Prize was our television president.
But now that former Vice President Al Gore, the loser in that election, has - along with the worthy scientists of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - won the Nobel Peace Prize, I find to my surprise that I would not support him in 2008.
There are many reasons to admire Gore. He is intelligent, insightful, well-travelled, respected at home (except by Wall Street Journal readers) and abroad. "His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change," said the Nobel citation. "He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."
Gore truly deserves to be honored for his achievements.
In addition to his own achievements, a Gore presidency would give a big finger to the entire Bush family, which foisted George upon us. And you could build a house with all the bricks the Clintons would be manufacturing in their nether regions if Gore even considered a run.
As I thought back to 2000, however, I remembered my problems with Gore. First, I will always carry a little bit of contempt in my heart for Tipper Gore's attempt to censor rock lyrics. Then, I thought Gore was a wimp for distancing himself from the still-popular Bill Clinton and anointing the uber-moralistic (except when it comes to killing Middle Eastern people) Sen. Joe Lieberman as his vice-presidential running mate. It looked like Gore would sell his soul to avoid even a whiff of controversy. He seemed to sway from poll to poll as if he didn't have a mind of his own. There was the scent of sanctimony.
Then-Gov. George Bush, however, was far, far worse. He had failed at every job he had held, most of them given to him by cronies of his father. As governor of Texas he had already, with a smirk, killed over 150 people unlucky enough to have landed on his death row. Clearly, empathy was not his strong suit. One of his brothers had ripped off the country in a banking scandal. I smelled sheer incompetence at every turn.
I was not wrong. As he leaves office, President Bush has come close to destroying this county by draining it of its resources - among the most precious, the men and women of our armed forces. He has left us vulnerable to attack. Hundreds of thousands of people have died because of his policies. Many more have been wounded. He has created a refugee crisis in the Middle East as well as a war that will be difficult to end. And with his almost certain bombing of Iran, he could easily start World War III. With Russian President Vladimir Putin in Iran this week, Mr. Bush might not only have succeeded in reanimating the Cold War, but in making it burn white hot.
You'd need a garbage man to clean up Mr. Bush's mess, and that's not Al Gore. He's too well-mannered for to get down and get dirty.
In 2000, Gore backed down from a fight over the corruption of the Florida ballot. He meekly accepted it when the Republican U.S. Supreme Court paid off its debt to '41 by anointing Bush as '43.
"George Bush is my president," Gore said, and I wanted to throw up. According to Tom Friedman in The New York Times this past Sunday, "in the dignity and grace with which [Gore] gave up his legal fight, he united America." Bat hooey! Gore didn't have the courage to fight for what was legally his in 2000, and he didn't even try to protect our country against an Administration that was clearly dangerous. He didn't deserve the job.
So far, Gore has declined to consider running. "For me personally, [the Nobel] means the chance to be more effective in trying to deliver this message about the climate crisis and the urgency of solving the climate crisis," he said.
On Tuesday, a Gallup Poll found that found that there was no significant rise in support for a Gore run.
We still need a strong candidate. Right now I'm sick of what comedian Stephen Colbert calls the "white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting" candidates on the Right. I'm also sick of the wooden candidates in the center. There is no viable candidate speaking truth or standing up for what's right anywhere on the political spectrum. It's just one after the other, bleating "Me! Me! Me!" .
So maybe I'll vote for Colbert, who brilliantly spoke truth to power at last year's White House Press Association dinner. This week he announced that he's throwing his hat into the ring as both a Democrat and Republican in the South Carolina primary because that way, "I can lose twice."
History seems to write itself, as Karl Marx said, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." The 2000 elections were a worldwide tragedy. Then we had Aaron Sorkin writing "The West Wing" as a drama. Maybe Colbert is the farce.
With "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore has found his calling, and it is a high and worthy one. But it should not lead to the White House. Even with a Nobel, an Academy Award and an Emmy to his credit, Gore is no Jeb Bartlett. He should not run.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at email@example.com.