What Gore Doesn't Get
Al Gore's bogus defense of his populist message.
And they were right. Buried in their survey report and separated by nine pages were a pair of findings that underscored the failure of Gore's business-bashing. Given a list of 15 reasons to vote for Gore, of which each respondent could choose three, 12 percent of respondents chose "his willingness to stand up to the HMOs, drug and oil companies." Meanwhile, given a list of 16 reasons to vote against Gore, 17 percent chose "his attacks on HMOs, drug and oil companies."
Gore is wrong. His angry populism helped cost him the 2000 election. He doesn't understand this because he can't see the differences between Clinton's populism and his own. He's still arguing about it because he thinks fighting is noble. And he's doing it in such a pious way, quoting himself and selectively quoting others, because, as the 2000 presidential debates demonstrated, his driving imperative is to prove that he's right and his opponents are wrong. Any one of these flaws would be sufficient to justify denying him the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Take your pick.
Will Saletan covers science, technology, and politics for Slate and says a lot of things that get him in trouble.
Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.