John Kerry, Al Gore Agree That Republicans Made America Look Weak by Shutting Down the Government

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 24 2013 3:48 PM

John Kerry, Al Gore Agree That Republicans Made America Look Weak by Shutting Down the Government

93023423
He's one wild and crazy guy!

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The organizers of the Center for American Progress's conference made much of how Secretary of State John Kerry arrived straight from an international junket. His spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, tweeted as much on the way to the airport. Kerry took the stage, made a Red Sox reference, then used most of his speech to denounce those who had shut down the government—a decision that canceled a larger planned Obama-led Asian junket.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

"A self-inflicted wound like the shutdown we just endured can never happen again," said Kerry. "I'll tell you, apart from the jokes at some of these summits about whether, because we weren't being paid, one country or another could buy our meals, there were real consequences to our not being there. None of what occurred was irreparable, or irreversible, but being a responsible democracy requires we don't ever do that again."

Advertisement

Kerry read through the local news clips, British broadsheets saying America was "recklessly throwing away its future" and German newspapers outright mocking us. "The shutdown and the dysfunction and the simplistic dialogue that came with it did not impress anyone," said Kerry. "They took no interest in 2016, who'll win the Senate, who won the news cycle ... it has entered into the calculation of leaders, as we negotiate with Iran, as we secure the peace of Israel."

This was followed by a speech from Al Gore, who was also, according to moderators, coming off "24 hours without sleep" after flying around the globe. If that was so, Gore compensated by exploding with energy, charging around the stage, at one point imitating the old Dan Aykroyd/Steve Martin "Wild and Crazy Guys" sketch to describe how excited he'd been about the first cellphones.*

"What happened with this shutdown is pathetic!" said Gore. "There are great people there trapped in a bad system." What trapped them there? "Democracy has been hacked. Corporations are not people. Donors should not be anonymous. Apathy isn't irony."

There was an irony: The Center for American Progress is also structured in a way to protect it from revealing the identity of donors. But the point was that Democrats want the shutdown to define the GOP for as long as humanly possible. 

*Correction, Oct. 24,  2013:This post originally misspelled Dan Aykroyd's last name.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.