Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Cranky Blogging 2

Oh, I assume everyone found something to be annoyed by in the Sunday Times Style profile of Al Gore and his family, written by Patrick Healy. Or maybe not; maybe part of it is that I find all things Gore pretty annoying. But here goes:

First, I find it either baffling or very annoying that we're repeatedly told that Al Gore is done with politics...except that he's obviously very active in politics. I mean, "No family member has moved on from the political world more than Al Gore"??? That's what we're told, when we aren't being told about how politically active he is. Or this:

As for rubbing shoulders with the Washington elite, it is so unappealing that Mr. Gore has chosen to skip the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, N.C., and will instead spend the next two weeks on his cable channel, Current TV, leading the coverage of both major-party conventions from New York.
Offering color commentary in a television studio is a lifetime away from another August convention, just 12 years ago, just before the decline and fall of the House of Gore began. But for Mr. Gore, Current TV is about living in the present; the cut and thrust of politics is the past.
You know what's really far away from the conventions? Playing golf. Going to a ballgame. A business career, perhaps. Jumping out of airplanes. Watching Cheers reruns. Spending two weeks in a TV studio talking about the conventions and orchestrating coverage of the conventions? Not really so far from politics. Far from accepting the nomination, of course, but that would be true no matter what Gore was doing.

On to the second thing that got to me: the premise of the article isn't just that Gore has moved on from politics, but that his family has unexpectedly done so as well. But why should we find that surprising? We're told (by Stephen Hess) that "The Gore family’s move away from politics is a rare one." Really? Where are all the Roosevelts? The Rockefellers, after Jay leaves? The Goldwaters? All of those were multi-generational political dynasties of a sort...until they weren't. And, you know, even with the Kennedys (soon to return to Congress), there are far more Kennedys that haven't entered politics than those who have.

We're also told that "In recent decades, government has been replete with fathers and mothers and their grown children and grandchildren coming in and out of elected office," but in fact dynastic succession has overall declined in Congress -- recent GOP national tickets notwithstanding. Oh, and those national tickets are actually, for better or worse, the norm; they're not some newfangled thing. Just ask Adlai Stevenson, FDR, Taft, B. Harrison, and many, many more.

I suspect that some of this (on all these points) is Al Gore's fault rather than Healy's, but even in the Style section he should still be getting it right. I'll tell you -- it just makes me cranky.


  1. Gore's an interesting politician, since his creaky woodenness leads to assumptions about how un-politician-like he is; assumptions that are not otherwise borne out by his narrative.

    Gore after all was careening into the 1992 Presidential primary cycle, disorganized, no real support, when he announced in August 1991 that he wouldn't seek the Presidency. Because his campaign was in a shambles? No, no, cause his little boy was in a terrible auto accident two+ years earlier - in typical fashion, the Goracle disregarded his son's privacy by sparing us few details of how awful, and Presidency-denying, the experience was.

    Sometime later the Goracle was busted for taking money from Big Tobacco. That time it was his sister Nancy's grueling, lost fight with cancer that stood between Gore and accountability.

    Which isn't to say that Gore is a "terrible" guy; as politicians go he's probably about par for the course. The problem is that you assume he's above all that because he's not interpersonally greasy (his greasiness is a little subtler). So he rubs the wrong way in overpromising and underdelivering on the "not like a politician" factor.

    1. He's very, very far from being my favorite politician. I don't really remember the specific details of either of these stories, so I won't speak to them, but I will say he's been running this "poor me, my dad made me have to be a politician" junk for decades now, and it's just awful, in my book.

    2. In the context of the gossip pages, its hard to conceive of Gore-the-wooden-everyman ending a 40-year, Ward-and-June-Cleaver marriage around the time he was accused of groping a lady in a hotel room (or that he's now involved with a woman who's a long-time, major donor of his).

      See him instead as a cheesy excuse-mongerer, and the latest developments in his personal life pretty much play to type, imo.


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