Shocking Announcement: Al Gore is Still a Loser

A link on Hugh Hewitt‘s site points out something funny: a NY Times article by Al Gore about how to debate Dubya. You’re not the only one who finds this ironic, Hugh.

Imagine some of the ingenious things Al might say. A shining example:

“…notwithstanding the president’s political skills, his performance in office amounts to a catastrophic failure.”

Thanks, Al. We all know that you would be doing so much better.

Then there’s this:

“A clear majority of Americans believe that we are heading in the wrong direction. The reasons are obvious. The situation in Iraq is getting worse. Osama bin Laden is alive and plotting against us.”

The usual mainstream media bleakness, stretched to an entertaining degree. And don’t forget the obligatory mention of “Mr. Bush’s colossal tax break for the wealthy,” as well as some less-than-good-natured ribbing about Bush’s problem with alcohol 30 years ago.

The entire column is completely factual, well-cited, and not the least touch hatefully bitter, might I add. Read the gloriously insightful Gore op-ed piece on the New York Times website.

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Minor Locomotive Collision

I’ve decided I’m just not going to cut my hair until Christmas break. When else in my life will I be able to get away with looking like a bum for a couple of months? It’s not like I need to look presentable, since I don’t have a girlfriend and don’t see myself acquiring one before… ever. And it should be at least February by the time I start doing job interviews and stuff. Why make an effort to look important when the fact is, I am anything but?

Nothing screws over a perfectly good week like spending the first half minus the ability to breathe through your nose. I came home one evening thinking, “boy, good thing grandpa sent this tin of tea, that’ll feel perfect on the ol’ throat!” I opened the Lipton Assorted Tea container to find… a hamburger bun bag filled with peanuts. Which come in awful handy for watching football, but I sure was let down at the time.

And there’s something about watching the leaves turn in Oxford for what you realize is the last time that makes you wonder if you’ve accomplished anything worthwhile in the last three years. College students have no business reading Ecclesiastes; what seem like 300 repetitions of “Everything is meaningless” are less than invigorating for someone whose average day involves nine hours of sleep, three hours of trying to stay awake in class, and two cereal-based meals. Then again, reading the Bible too much is not a particular problem for someone so poorly dedicated as myself.

Two solid sources of joy during a stressful stretch:

Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop your anger!
Turn from your rage!
Do not envy others —
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will posess
the land.
[Psalm 37:7-9]

Well there’s a football in the air,
across a leaf-blown field.
Yeah, and there’s your first car on the road,
and the girl you’d steal.

So go on with yourself
If there’s a feeling that there’s something else
Seems like it’s always understood
This time of year.
[Kevin Griffin – “This Time of Year”]

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Dual/Duel

The two party system really is an amazing thing. Elected officials have hundreds of different issues to cover during the course of a term, and if consideration of an issue simply cannot fit into their schedule: vote the party line. It sounds pessimistic but we all know this is the way it works – having two parties gives voters the necessary amount of choice without overwhelming the legislature. Can you imagine if there were several major parties, each with a similar amount of power? Every single bill would be filibustered or amended to death. Nothing would ever get done.

At the same time, the two party system is an awfully frightening thing. What if one party drops the ball? I think that’s what we have in America today: the Democratic Party has dropped the ball. I really think it started after their loss in the 2000 Presidential race. I don’t know the big players very well, but was Gore the best they could do in 2000? It seems like a stretch to me, but I guess I can understand; sure the guy was weird and unlikable, but he had been Vice President for 8 years. At any rate, November came, the weirdness trumped the experience, and Al lost.

Now, I would argue that I’ve made only one questionable statement thus far – namely, that the Democrats have dropped the ball. This one I’ll try and justify over the next few paragraphs. A serious part of the problem is that many Democrats would point out a second questionable statement I’ve made: “Al lost.” This is where the breakdown begins. Whether or not Al Gore was the best man the Democrats had to run for President, their reaction to his loss was devastating – not because it was harsh, but because it has lingered in the party for so long. The evidence? John Kerry.

Why, unless they thought Bush was a complete idiot who could not possibly be re-elected, would the Democratic Party run such a straw man? When it comes down to it, there are three issues Americans vote on:

1) The economy. People want money, and they think the President holds all the strings to the stock market and the keys to the vaults.
2) Integrity. Hard-line partisans will vote for their party regardless, but everyone in between wants a candidate they feel they can trust.
3) Iraq. No one wants to send our troops across the ocean to die, but no one wants to live in fear at home.

With Bush’s first term winding down, all of these issues were up for grabs. The economy (1) seemed to be turning around, but not as quickly as anyone would like. The Texas National Guard questions or Haliburton issues (2) could easily be refreshed in voter’s minds. And Iraq (3)… wow. The current situation in the Middle East is probably the most difficult situation any leader has ever faced. How do you address a situation where entire civilizations want you dead, in a time where technology could easily make that wish possible? Certainly, a Democrat could have adopted a convincing anti-war stance.

But now, with October on the horizon, two of the three major issues have effectively been ceded. Can anyone present an argument as to how Kerry might salvage issues (2) and (3)? I certainly cannot. Kerry will and should continue to attack the economy. If he presents something that resembles a plan – it doesn’t have to be fancy, so long as it sounds mildly logical – he can win voters on (1). Integrity, on the other hand, is not Kerry’s strong suit. Why in the world did he spend the summer campaigning on his 4 months in Vietnam? WHY? Kerry’s most notable achievement is his 1971 testimony accusing the American troops of war crimes. Making the generalization that American troops committed atrocities and then basing a Presidential campaign on having been one of those troops is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Regardless of what Bush/Cheney mistakes and indiscretions the Democrats bring out in the next month, the best they can hope for is a tie on (2).

Finally, Iraq. Regardless of whether Saddam was convincingly connected to al Qaeda, regardless of whether the benefits prove worth the cost, Kerry has no position on Iraq. How can he defend his latest stance when it directly contradicts numerous statements he has made over the last several years? Kerry cannot argue with Bush about Iraq without also arguing with himself. This is linked tightly with the integrity issue; whether you are a hawk or a pacifist or somewhere in the middle, Kerry has shifted around far too much to be trustworthy. No matter how many people hate Bush, and no matter how many people will reflexively vote Democrat, I think Bush will win in November because of Kerry’s horrible inability to win votes on issues (2) and (3).

Recent polls have Democrats angrier still. Why is Kerry behind? Kerry should not be behind! Bush is a liar and a moron and Kerry has much better hair! But if their prescription for Gore failure is to throw in a waaaay left washed up hippie, the Democrats have problems bigger than two consecutive Presidential defeats. Where are the reasonable moderates to straighten these guys out? As much fun as it is laughing about the ridiculousness of Kerry, Edwards, McAuliffe & Co., and as much as I like having a Republican majority in D.C., in the long run nobody benefits from an ineffective Democratic Party.

See, having two and only two major parties is a double-edged sword. Things get done in the federal government, and knowing that the Democrats are watching keeps the Republicans sharp (and vice versa). But when the underlying theme of a Presidential campaign is “Our Candidate: At Least He’s Not Their Candidate,” we’ve got a problem. When we stray so far from the issues that Americans can hardly hear the name-calling under the layers of spin, we’ve got a problem. Earlier in the year, Kerry was proud to be traveling on a platform of issues and values… unfortunately, Kerry appears to lack a human grasp of either.

As much as I want Bush to win, I want to see a competition. I want debates where there are actual thoughts and ideas involved, not arguments over who said X on Tuesday and then insinuated Y on Thursday. I don’t want the major issue in the fall to be one candidate’s flimsiness on the issues. With two parties, there should be intelligent discussion of topics. With two parties, there should be pressure for honesty and excellence coming from the other side. I hope there are sane, respectable Democrats waiting to step into power when the current batch burns out, because a single-party country is not a place I’d like to inhabit. I am proud to be a Republican, but Republican politicians make mistakes and there are some of them who downright scare me. Please DNC, find someone better than Hillary for 2008…

Inspiration for this entry partly from “Profiles In Self-Destruction,” a far better article by Evan Maloney that makes a similar point.

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In Conclusion, Anger makes you Stupid… Back to you, Dan

I don’t know if many people have been following the whole CBS-Bush-Nat’l Guard-memos fiasco as closely as I have… as in, checking the most involved sites (LittleGreenFootballs.com and Power Line, to name a couple) about 6 times a day. If you have, you know just as much as I do and have no reason to read this entry, unless you’re banking on the off chance that I’ll say something funny. If not, I’m in the mood for some summarizing right now — it’s been done better, I’m sure, but that’s rarely stopped me before.

First, I’m a Republican. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on the site before, but if not… it was bound to get out eventually. So yes, I am biased, and yes, I like George W. Bush. I don’t think he’s perfect, but I also don’t think he’s an incompetent conspiratorial dictator with world domination in his twisted heart. And the sad thing is, there seem to be a lot of Americans who feel there is no room for in-between: either you are an adoring lapdog, or a valiant opposer of Dubya’s fiendish schemes. I understand that people hate the President – part of being a leader is being unable to please everyone – yet I continue to be baffled by the degree to which this hatred overshadows any hint of reason.

But, there’s the ultra-concise version of our current political environment, in case you’ve been in Canada for the last 3 years. Bush “stole” the election in 2000, and there are plenty of people who still insist Al Gore is our rightful leader. Thank the Lord that Dubya is such a wily “thief,” because have you been paying attention to Al for the last few years? He’s gone from odd and creepy to clinically, violently out of control (just look for any recent Al quote at Yahoo! News or anywhere else). His supporters either share in his out-of-check anger, or choose to overlook it.

This, ultimately, is the point: no leader is perfect, but how do we as individuals decide which aspects to focus on and which to overlook? President Bush’s Texas National Guard service comes to mind, and although I am not confident about his service (probably as a result of hearing about it from every major network since 1999) I am confident in his recent decisions and current abilities. More importantly, the Bush campaign has not made this an issue… the Guard story had its run, and petered out once before, and simply is not relevant. CBS had to bring out their newest “Bush Is A Liar” story nonetheless, and while they should be hiding at this point they are instead using the publicity to push their accusations ever onward.

The foundation for CBS’s story? Memos allegedly from the files of Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, deceased, support the media’s pre-2000 election assertions that George W. Bush shirked his Guard responsibilities and received preferential treatment. Within a day, a handful of online journals posted evidence indicating that the memos were not written in 1972, but with Microsoft Word. Faced with mounting evidence that either 1) they had been fooled by a novice fraudster or 2) they had knowingly used fraudulent documents, CBS lashed out at the online community while refusing to apologize for an obvious mistake.

Finally, after most of their supporting cast of “experts” had distanced themselves from the mess, CBS admitted that the documents might have been forged. They have not given their source. They insist that the content was still accurate, now shoring up their story with the feelings of an anti-Bush elderly woman. If this is the best the liberal media can do at painting a negative picture of President Bush, Nov. 2 should not even be close: It is an election year, and a major news network rushed out a story that would make the President look bad, and although the story’s basis has been proven false they use its momentum to continue bumbling along. Too many people will still see only the 60 Minutes side and take it at face value, assuming Bush is in fact a man who cannot be trusted (funny how the Swift Boat Vets stories didn’t get as much consideration), and this is unfortunate.

Nonetheless, I am cautiously optimistic about the sitation. I don’t think anyone important will be fired over at CBS, but the floodgates have been opened. So long as there are competing networks and online experts utilizing their free speech, dishonestly motivated stories like this will be similarly shot down in the future. Stupid people will continue trusting Dan Rather and Co., and crazy people will continue believing that every little thing is a Republican conspiracy. It is my hope… if maybe too wishful of a hope… that the spread of truth will ever marginalize the lunatics who refuse to see it, however loud said lunatics might be.

Update: Terry McAuliffe is an ass.

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Sadly realistic

I like girls who are out of reach
but you know — just can’t reach them.

I’m sure that they would like me, too
if somehow I could teach them.

The crazy ones are best because
they sort of pay attention.

Attractive and insane? That’s more
lost hours than I could mention.

Now when I talk to a cute girl
to find out what she’s into…

I’m almost starting to expect
“I’m married, and I’m hindu.”

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neutral

i am going nowhere
sitting in neutral,
angrily pumping the gas

frustrated my steering
is so unresponsive
and wond’ring how long this could last

i will not shift back into gear,
for that would take too long
i’d rather whine while sitting here
listening to pointless songs

and always changing
stations til
the battery runs dead

distracted, caught
in neutral by
the poisons in my head

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