Monday, September 26, 2005



A few days ago I ran a little interview with "D" the Depeche Mode fanatic from Dallas (via Normal, IL) in a piece called "MORE WINDS THAN KATRINA AND RITA ARE BLOWING." It struck me as odd that even after all we've been through as a nation, "D" was still harkening back to GOP propaganda about Bush being good for business and being a swell guy who one ("D") could enjoy a beer with. Even if Bush HAS fallen off the wagon again and is back to being an uncontrollable lush, it's unlikely that he'll be drinking any brewskis with the "D"s of this country who have been so thoroughly suckered by his down-home image (complete with stage set homestead/KKK pig farm-turned-reality-show-backdrop). It still surprises me that "D," given the chance, would vote for Bush again instead of Gore. 27-year old "D," while acknowledging the U.S. is in the midst of tough times, is still regurgitating the impressions Limbaugh and O'Reilly and the rest of the Far Right Noise Machine etched into his mind. "Gore is like a robot...a president should have charisma...I feel like I could have a beer with Bush...with Gore...very stiff....very scripted." (All those "....s" were what he wrote to me, not me making him look like an idiot.)

One thing "D" and I agree on, though, is that Hillary Clinton is not a good idea for president. To him she's too far to the left. To me, on the contrary, she just seems a bit too corporately-oriented and kind of like a finger-to-the-wind opportunist, NOT A LEADER. I'm sure she'd be a better president than ANY Republican. But that doesn't do much for me. And I have no doubt that I'd vote for her in a general election, not just against a neo-fascist like Brownback or Barbour or Allen or Frist (RIP) or Gingrich, but even against a so-called "moderate" like McCain or Hagel or Guiliano. (How bizarre would it be for the Republicans to field someone like Hagel, talking sense about getting out of Iraq, against Clinton babbling in a mindless-macho manner that over-consulted/DLC Democrats like her think is de rigeur about "staying the course," as she does now?)

So what are progressives to do? I was kind of excited about Wisconsin reformer/Iraq-sensible Russ Feingold-- until he voted to confirm Bush's nomination of Roberts last week. I hope he has a long career in the Senate-- and that when he learns the lesson about what that vote for Roberts meant it isn't a lesson too costly or catastrophic for ordinary Americans. A funny little tinge has been percolating in the recesses of my cranium over the last few months. The tinge-- don't twinge-- is named Al Gore. Look, I wasn't all that excited about him either. I positively detest that vicious censorious wife of his and it rankles me no end to think of that pious hypocrite as First Lady. And his selection of Joe Lieberman as his running mate was one of the worst betrayals of progressives by a Democrat in recent years. But... I really believe that Al Gore has gone through a gigantically character-building crisis in fire since the 2000 election was stolen from him by BushCo. EVERYTHING points to him being a very much better man and a very much better candidate.

Andy is another blogger ( and this week he did a couple of pieces on why he feels Gore may wind up our next president. Almost as though he were answering Dallas "D" he points out that "Back in 2000, to many, Al Gore was an uptight, wonkish bore. But the events of the last 5 1/2 years have greatly enhanced Gore's image. What Al Gore represents today is honesty, integrity and a continuance of the peace and prosperity of the 1990's that he and Bill Clinton masterminded. Bush may still be the guy some want to have a beer with, but Gore's the guy you want running the country... Since 2000, Gore's become an extremely passionate and rousing speaker. He's dropped the stiff wonkish routine and found his mojo. Plus, he's rested, he's confident... He's also squeaky-clean, with no skeletons in his closet, as 2000 proved." Andy feels Hillary appeals to the left of the Democratic Party (though every left-leaning Democrat who hears her positions on Iraq backs away from her really fast). He thinks, probably correctly, that Gore would unite the entire spectrum of Democrats and that he would be overwhelmingly embraced by independents. I think he's right. The only letter I ever had published in the L.A. TIMES was an explanation of why I couldn't vote for Gore in 2000. (A perceived, albeit untrue, tightening of the race forced me to vote for him-- and worse, Lieberman-- in the end.) Now I'm feeling fairly enthusiastic about him.

Unlike most of the other candidates-- including Clinton, the hapless Kerry, and arch-corporatist Biden, all of whom voted in favor of the war against Iraq, with Clinton and Biden still STRONGLY supporting it-- Gore, like Howard Dean, opposed it from the beginning, and for all the right reasons, reasons that have proven prescient (and should disqualify those who supported Bush). Over 60% of Americans now say attacking Iraq was a mistake and way more feel the occupation is a disaster and should end immediately. For many Democrats, Gore, a kind of president-in-exile who at minimum won the popular vote (and to virtually every person who pays attention also the electoral vote, before BushCo was able to steal Florida), is looking like a comeback kid. It plays into a piece of American mythology that voters will respond to very positively.


At 7:14 AM, Blogger David W. Shelton said...

Well, the last time there was a President's son in the White House, he was replaced by a Democrat from Tennessee. Maybe history will repeat itself.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am running a social experiment to see how well the "crowd" on the Internet can predict the winner of the 2008 Presidential Race of the United States. Make your prediction at the link below. Please enter one name only.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned Al Gore needs to stop acting like an Ass. Thinking he is God and wants to save the world. Maybe you should pray more to God and let God handle your issues, then you might have a chance. If you would stop dreaming and wake up.


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