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Jewish World Review March 18, 1999 /1 Nissan 5759

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Reinventing AlGore

(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
AS RECENTLY AS LAST DEC. 29, Vice President Al Gore praised President Clinton as "one of our greatest presidents.'' But as Gore nears an official announcement of his candidacy for president, not only has he ceased to praise Clinton -- he has stopped mentioning him.

Responding to polls showing him trailing both Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Elizabeth Dole, Gore said, "Polls don't win elections. Ideas do.'' But ideas -- if they are bad ones -- can also lose elections.

In New Hampshire last week, Gore said, "We face new challenges, and we need new answers and new approaches, and that's what I represent.'' Among those "new challenges'' appears to be warehousing children at earlier ages, since a "top priority'' is to make preschool available to all children. He also thinks public education should undergo "not evolutionary, but revolutionary change.'' But Gore opposes education vouchers, which would give parents the freedom and power to shake up the public education monopoly by deciding where they think their children can get the best education.

Gore continues to cling to the creed of his fellow Earth-worshippers that the unproved theory of global warming will vaporize us all unless government steps in and forces us to reshape our lives and lifestyles. Under Gore, we'd trade in our SUVs for the transportation equivalent of Yugos. Unemployed people could be absorbed into environment-related positions that would promote the secular dirt gods with the zeal of Buddhist temple fund-raisers.

Like his boss, Gore also has problems with the truth. He one-upped the Soviets, who claimed to have invented baseball, when he said the other day in a CNN interview he was responsible for "creating'' the Internet. In 1997 Gore announced that his college romance with wife Tipper inspired the writer Erich Segal's book "Love Story.'' Segal responded that Gore was wrong about that; in fact, Gore's Harvard roommate, actor Tommy Lee Jones, was the model for the male hero in the book, "the tough, macho guy who is a poet at heart.'' Segal said that Gore served as inspiration for the side of the character that was controlled by a domineering father who pressured him to follow in his footsteps.

AlGore the party animal
Gore has tried to reinvent himself from a man of privilege into an average Joe. In an interview with The Des Moines Register, Gore criticized his only rival for the Democratic nomination, former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. Gore, noting that he never played professional basketball, portrayed himself as a regular American: "My work experiences were a little less glamorous. I was a small-business person, a homebuilder. I lived on a farm. I was a journalist for seven years. After I got out of college, I volunteered for the Army and went to Vietnam.''

Gore added that his father, the late Sen. Albert Gore Sr., taught him about service. "He taught me how to clean out hog waste with a shovel and a hose. He taught me how to clear land with a double-bladed ax. He taught me how to plow a steep hillside with a team of mules. He taught me how to take up hay all day long in the hot sun and then after a dinner break go over and help the neighbors take up hay before the rain came and spoiled it on the ground.''

In fact, Al Gore Jr. attended elite private schools in Washington, where he has delivered a lot more rhetorical hog waste than he ever shoveled in Tennessee. His Vietnam service consisted of six months as an Army journalist, and his journalism "career'' lasted only a little longer than a Bill Clinton promise. He claims to be outraged over big tobacco corporations but accepted their money and has repeatedly praised them in the past. At the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Gore shamelessly told the story of his sister who died of lung cancer to boost his credentials with anti-tobacco enthusiasts, even while he raked in political contributions from the industry.

The biggest problem Al Gore faces is how to defend his defense of President Clinton. In 1987, Sen. Al Gore, then running for president, said he wanted to "restore the rule of law and respect for common sense to the White House.'' He added that Americans of both political parties "have been shaken by the betrayal of public trust ... and the dishonesty of public officials .... Any government official who ... lies to the United States Congress will be fired immediately.''

Gore made those comments about the Reagan administration, but claims his own is honest and ethical. What Segal said about love could be said about Gore: He never has to say he's sorry -- his ideas are sorry enough.


Up

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