Robert Scheer's "Bush Rules, Gore Drools" (Commentary, July 17) correctly chronicles the slow decline of Al Gore.
In 1992 he was hailed as the perfect antidote to Bill Clinton. Where Clinton made a name as a philanderer, Gore was the devoted family man; where Clinton avoided Vietnam, Gore went directly; Clinton was smooth, Gore stilted.
For eight years Gore balanced Clinton's faults. Though he played such an anti-Clinton well, Gore failed to turn this into a political success. The Comeback Kid capitalized on bad boy behavior; Gore could only satirize his good-boy antithesis. Ultimately, Gore was not made for the telepolitical age. With politicians now shaped by and for sound bites and cameras, that which lacks gloss loses. It's the image, stupid.
I agree with Scheer on almost all the points he makes about President Bush in his commentary except one: that Gore should not be silent on the issues. At this point, Gore is too open to the criticism of being called a crybaby if he speaks out. Bush is doling out more than enough of his own rope to hang himself. Let him.
Thanks to Scheer for expressing exactly my feelings about Gore. He appears to be a pop-up political leader, who bursts forth when the book "Presidential Campaign" is opened and then obediently folds away when it's closed.
Scheer castigates Gore for his lack of outrage and continued silence over the Florida election results. To make his argument, Scheer cites a recent New York Times investigative piece that documents, according to Scheer, that the "Florida election was distorted by the partisan miscounting of absentee votes." He then draws the conclusion that "it's obvious that Gore won both the national popular and electoral votes and should be president."
For the record, what the New York Times article (July 15) actually said was, "The Times study found no evidence of vote fraud by either party." The same piece went on to say that its investigation "found no support for the suspicions of Democrats that the Bush campaign had organized an effort to solicit late votes."
That sound you hear in the background is Scheer torturing the facts again.