May 27, 2004

Left like Nader, nuts like Dean
Posted by Jon Henke

Yesterday, Al Gore gave the Speech Fisked round the World before a ("nonpartisan" - ha!) Moveon.org crowd. I'm torn about whether it represents the leftward drift of Al Gore, or the mainstreaming of moonbattery, but a few sections are worth attention....

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind."
Quite an accusation, coming from a fellow whose administration was accused of precisely the same thing, on many occassions. You will, perhaps, remember that the Clinton administration paid no heed to the UN, international treaties and courts when they proceeded with an invasion of Haiti, or the bombings of the former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Afghanistan or Iraq.
He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq.
Unlike, for example, Somalia, where the Clinton administration ignored basic military doctrine when they changed the mission from feeding to fighting. And, to be fair, Bush didn't "ignore the advice" of military leaders...he chose among a variety of options. If that means some advice was discarded, that is hardly the same as "ignored".
And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
The Pentagon has barred news organizations from photographing caskets since 1991. That covers, let's see, gosh the entire period during which Al Gore was Vice President. You'd think he would know that. And he probably does....

In addition, as has been well-documented, Presidents simply do not attend individual funerals during war. Not Bush, not Clinton, and etc back through history. They have gone to the funerals of friends, and to memorials, but not to individual soldiers funerals during wartime.

And here's my favorite bit....

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people.
And here is a passage from the 2000 Democratic Party Platform: "Al Gore and the Democratic Party know that we must be able to meet any military challenge from a position of dominance."

And contrast this passage from yesterday's Al Gore...

With this passage from Gore's 2000 DNC platform...


How quickly we forget. Or, at least, how quickly Al Gore forgets....

And finally, the remark that disgusted me more than any other...

What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.

Got that? The abuses at Abu Ghraib - contrary to the conclusions of General Taguba, who said a "few soldiers and civilians conspired to abuse and conduct egregious acts of violence" - were the result of Bush's (per Gore) moral failures. I guess that's a bit like how "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians" helped make 9/11 happen.

What a despicable contribution to political discourse.

UPDATE: Robert Tagorda finds more objectionable hypocrisy.

See also: Protein Wisdom; The Argus; Outside the Beltway; and Obsidian Wings.

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Comments

Can we question his patriotism NOW?

Posted by: shark at May 27, 2004 09:00 AM

Certainly NOT! Feel free to question his sanity, however.

Uh, when did he become so... animated?

Posted by: W at May 27, 2004 09:13 AM

As fun as it is to laugh at Gore's vein-popping rant, this was the most irresponsible, dangerous, harmful speech ever given by a former high-level official in the United States. WE ARE AT WAR!!!! Tokyo Rose was arrested for treason for saying less during World War II. This is the definition of giving comfort to the enemy -- and it is telling that those most comforted and pleased were the hundreds of lefty Democrats in attendance who clapped like trained seals the louder he screamed these invectives.

Let we remember that this man, saying all these lies and enemy-comforting things, was a sitting vice president for 8 years. He twice ran for president and was his party's nominee in 2000. Where is the media outrage over this? I remember when a minor media player, Pat Buchanan, gave his infamous "Culture War" speech at the 1992 Republican convention. The networks and the major dailies pounded on Papa Bush and the Republicans for weeks about how the speech was so "extreme" and used it to paint Bush and his supporters as total whack-jobs.

Where are the articles asking whether this former vice president -- no minor player -- and top-tier surrogate for Kerry has gone over the line? Where is the parsing of the speech to ask readers to contemplate the wisdom of accusing Bush of setting up "American Gulags" in Iraq? Where are the stories asking whether this speech helps or hurts the war on terrorism -- asking what kind of impact this will have on troop morale (it kills it), and terrorist morale (their hearts are soaring this morning)?

There is a difference between civil disagreement with a president's war policy and undermining the effort and our national security. Gore WAY crossed the line. Considering his stature, this was the most disgusting, vile, speech I've ever heard. If it is not clear to "swing voters" that Democrats can't be trusted to protect this country, they will now be convinced. If I was the RNC, I'd just run clips of Gore's speech for 25 seconds, then freeze the frame showing his Hulk-like scowl. The words would read: "This is the face of the Democratic party, and those words are their idea national security policy: Blame America First."

Posted by: Jim at May 27, 2004 09:44 AM

Minor nitpick, Jon: the invasion of Panama was during the Bush 41 administration. I don't remember the exact date, but it was late December, 1989. Unless we invaded Panama again while Clinton was President....

What bothered me most about Gore's diatribe was his calling for the resignations of so many of Bush's cabinet. That's an outrageous thing for a former VP to do, and I'd like to see some people outside the Blogosphere taking him to task for it.

Posted by: Steverino at May 27, 2004 10:08 AM

Oops - sorry about that...I meant Haiti. It's been corrected. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: Jon Henke at May 27, 2004 10:17 AM

I don't believe you all quite appreciate how clever this is.

Left and Right each hold about 45% of the voters. Those of us in the mushy middle 5% are enjoying the prospect of courtship this season. I'd really prefer that the Democrats came to me rather than attempt to make me believe that the Republicans have moved away. But I'm not seeing that.

Instead of trying to make Kerry "move to the center" and attract my own and other middle-ish votes, the effort is to make the center see both 'alternatives-to-Kerry' look farther off and more extreme. Gore is painting Bush as an extreme right-ist, of course, but he is in the process making himself (and Dean) look even more pronouncedly left-ish. So the swing voters in the mushy middle start to wonder if the candidate closest to their own outlook is (only slightly) left of their own position.

And, by moving the Left leftward instead of moving Kerry to the center, the Kerry campaign is trying to step away from the dangers of appearing to "flip-flop" from left-in-March to center-in-September. Kerry can spin his positions as nuanced-leftish-center-in-March and STILL nuanced-left-in-September as principled-steady-consistant-perpetual-(if-slightly-left-of-center) best alternatives to either the right-wing-wacko Shrub or the raving lunatics (whose support he includes in his admirably diverse "big tent" ) of the extreme-Left.

Shorter Pouncer: Gore's role at this point is to make Kerry appear moderate by comparison.

IF this is correct, the smart counter-spin is not to make fun of how left Gore is, now. The more profitable counter-spin would be to compare Gore's voting record in the Senate with Kerry's. IF, as I believe, Kerry was "left" of Gore on all issues in which they shared Senate tenure, then it is rational to project that a Kerry/whoever administration would be leftward of the Clinton/Gore administration.

I'd like to see the Right prove itself smart.

It isn't happening yet...

Posted by: Pouncer at May 27, 2004 10:27 AM

Shorter Pouncer: Gore's role at this point is to make Kerry appear moderate by comparison

Disagree. They're not that smart. Maybe they're TRYING to do that, but unless Kerry strongly and quickly condemns Gore, he will be linked with him. Democrat, Democrat, Democrat. Gore is a former VP and Nominee for Pres- NOT a minor dipshit like Dean or Clark. Believe me pouncer, the people won't look at this and say "wow, Kerry is a moderate, I should vote for him" rather they will look at it and say "wow, look at the scum that supports Kerry. Do I really want to vote with these guys?"

Posted by: shark at May 27, 2004 10:32 AM

I think this could also be an attempt to convert some of the Nader votes over to Kerry.

Posted by: Curt Mitchell at May 27, 2004 10:34 AM

actually, I think it's an attempt to swing Naderite support....to Al Gore.

He knows he can never be an kind of power broker in the party again, his only chance is to try to tap into this moonbat anger and try to resurrect himself as some sort of firebrand.

It won't work of course. Everything this man touches turns to shit.

Posted by: shark at May 27, 2004 10:55 AM

Shark: If everything Gore touches turns to shit, wouldn't that include the far-left "Democrat wing of the Democratic party" -- leaving the Zell Miller / Joe Lieberman / Martin Frost Democrats standing shit-free nearer the center?

Posted by: Pouncer at May 27, 2004 11:43 AM

Pouncer, as a former resident of Connecticut, Joe Lieberman is about as centerist as Michael Savage. He is not as far out of the middle as the wackos that represent the People's Republic of Taxachusettes. He's probably closer to a Joe Biden or a Carl Levin.

Posted by: Curt Mitchell at May 27, 2004 01:01 PM

If everything Gore touches turns to shit, wouldn't that include the far-left "Democrat wing of the Democratic party" -- leaving the Zell Miller / Joe Lieberman / Martin Frost Democrats standing shit-free nearer the center?

Well, look at what he did for Dean....and yes, by the time the election is over, I truly believe the Gore/Dean/Kennedy/MoveON/Pelosi wing of the Dem party will be destroyed.

Posted by: shark at May 27, 2004 01:27 PM

Gore was once a respected politician. Now he's become a self parody, a bloated elvis whipping out karate moves while wearing a sequined jumpsuit, a Pat Boone recording heavy metal songs in a vain attempt to stay hip, an aging wrestler still flexing his muscles for the crowd, an obese Marlon Brando trying to ape Don Corleone.

I see a million cases like this in the city. Sad wallflowers desperately trying to reinvent themselves someway, somehow. Aging failures stinking of desperation and flop sweat trying something, anything that can get them one success in their lives, one taste of nectar and ambrosia. Successful, powerful men, now laid low by age and circumstance, grabbing, grasping for that magic elixar that can somehow get their power and fame back. You look in the eyes of these sad people, these normal looking people who suffer wretched inner existance, these haunted masses who make up the annonymous grey-brown backgrounds of the cities and subways back alleys, and you see that look.

The same look you can see in Al Gores eyes now. His lips may be sneering, his teeth may be gnashing, but his eyes are crying out, for he knows deep in his heart that the solace he seeks will not be coming.

They are the eyes of a bitter man who would diminish himself unto nothingness to reclaim the superficial glories he measured himself by once upon a time.

Or maybe he's just an asshole.

Posted by: trump at May 27, 2004 04:29 PM

Heh - "Guy Noir, Pundit Eye".

Posted by: Jon Henke at May 27, 2004 05:24 PM

by the time the election is over, I truly believe the Gore/Dean/Kennedy/MoveON/Pelosi wing of the Dem party will be destroyed.

Hey, shark? You just jumped yourself.

Why's Gore angry? Because of the millions of Americans who think, as Bush lurches from one catastrophe to the next, 'I wish that Gore was President for this', the one who feels it most deeply, in the squandering of respect and the evaporation of both moral and military authority for the US, is Gore himself.

Posted by: luther blissett at May 28, 2004 12:45 AM