The Self Made Pundit
Thursday, November 21, 2002
MORE GORE: Democratic critics of Al Gore who do not want the winner of the popular vote in 2000 to make another run for the presidency in 2004 should pause and just listen to what Gore has been saying lately. In his recent media forays plugging his new pair of books (as well as reintroducing himself to the voters) Gore has been uttering plain-spoken common sense like a latter day Harry Truman.
Under Bush and the Democratic opposition, political discourse in America has devolved into an unprecedented combination of mendacity and timidity. While previous presidents have lied, members of the opposition party have usually not been timid in responding to political duplicity by the president and his party. Fearing Bush’s popularity as a wartime president, however, today’s Democrats have largely failed to confront an unabashedly partisan leader who has not been timid in engaging in such reprehensible tactics as misleading the public about his economic policies titled toward the super rich and attacking the patriotism of Democrats.
As articles in today’s New York Times and Washington Post illustrate, however, Gore is now engaged in a flurry of truth-telling that should put the Bush administration to shame. As the Post reports:
Gore said in an interview here that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network pose a greater immediate danger than does Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Bush's decision to shift attention to possible war with Iraq, he said, represented "an historic mistake" that has left Afghanistan facing chaos and U.S. intelligence agencies without some of the resources needed to carry out the war against terrorism.
At the same time, he urged Democrats to speak more boldly than they have done in the past. Exhibit A, he said, is health care. He argued in favor of a politically risky single-payer national health insurance system, saying incremental approaches cannot solve the problems of rising costs, bewildering bureaucracy and a steady increase in the number of Americans without health insurance.
Gore had stern words for Bush's economic policies, calling the administration's tax cuts, energy policy and approach to regulation of corporate America "payback and greed" that reward wealthy Americans and big corporations at the expense of middle-income families and individual investors.
Instead of offering tough regulation of the accounting industry, he said, the administration caved to lobbyists for the industry who demanded of administration officials "that they kneel and kiss their ring -- and they do." The average investor "was essentially told to go to hell," he said.
These are far stronger words than any other leading Democrat has used to discuss the Bush administration. There is also more honesty in these words than this administration has expressed in its nearly two years of existence.
Gore should run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. The Democrats discovered in the midterm elections what happens when you’re shy about expressing your beliefs. Whatever else he is, Gore is not shy.