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Jewish World Review Sept. 14, 2000 / 13 Elul, 5760

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly
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Consumer Reports

Down AlGore's Memory Hole -- MEET AL GORE, the memory hole candidate. He is running for president as the man who wasn't there. You never saw him before today. He yam what he yam, not whatever he used to be. There is a breathtaking quality to the act.

Gore spent most all of his life in Washington, born and raised in the upper reaches of the nation's ruling class. He spent most of his professional life as a Washington politician; most of his close advisers are creatures of political Washington. He has been Bill Clinton's vice president for 7 1/2 years, and for 7 1/2 years, the Gore office never stopped reminding us all that this wasn't the Clinton administration but the Clinton-Gore.

Down the hole with that old Al. The new Al is, stranger than truth, an anti-Beltway populist, the new broom that sweeps clean. "Let others argue the case for the Old Guard," declared Gore in Los Angeles. "We're the New Guard."

And now, of a sudden, comes Al Gore, scourge of Hollywood. To be fair, this is not entirely a new identity for Gore. It is an old identity that he rejected when that became advantageous, and which is now advantageous to assume again. In 1985, Tipper Gore launched a campaign to battle against sexually explicit and suggestive language in songs popular with teenagers. Mrs. Gore's husband, then-Sen. Gore, was a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. The committee held hearings on the issue of concern to Sen. Gore's wife.

In 1987, presidential candidate Gore needed Hollywood's money. So, in October of that year, the Gores went to Los Angeles and humbled themselves before the almighties of the industry. In an unheralded and closed-to-the-press luncheon, the Gores apologized to a group that included television producer and liberal activist Norman Lear and music industry executive Irving Azoff.

"I understand that the hearings frightened the artistic community," said Mrs. Gore, quoted in a detailed account that appeared shortly afterward in Daily Variety. "If I could rewrite the script, I certainly would." Mrs. Gore said the hearings had been "a mistake." Her husband joined her in obeisance and regret, saying that he thought the hearings in which he had participated were "not a good idea," and that he had only been "a freshman minority member of the committee," powerless to oppose this not-good idea.

But Daily Variety reporter Henry Schipper checked the record, and he reported this about Gore's participation in the hearings: "Gore was among the first to arrive and the last to leave, he questioned, often vigorously and at length, every witness or group of witnesses to come before the panel, and in his opening statement he explicitly 'commended' committee chairman Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., for convening the meeting." Well, to the memory hole with that.

Gore went on to join Bill Clinton in what is certainly the most Hollywood-friendly administration in history, a lovefest that has produced a bonanza of propaganda benefits ("The American President," "The West Wing"), endless celebrity campaigning and buckets of cash (more than $13 million so far this cycle) for Clinton, Gore and the Democratic Party. During these years, the Clinton-Gore administration was the entertainment industry's successful ally in limiting the government's policing of Hollywood to toothless "self-regulation." B

ut what's this? A report Monday from the Federal Trade Commission. It shows, conclusively, that the entertainment industry aggressively targets kids as young as 12 as major consumers of violent and raunchy R-rated flicks, songs and electronic games. Oh, no! Right in the middle of an election too! And with polls showing swing-vote moms really care about this! What to do?

Quick, get the hole! Goodbye to Al the pal; hello to William Bennett Gore: "We believe that this is a serious matter for our country, . . . " Gore assured the New York Times in an interview scheduled for maximum benefit to Gore. "If necessary, we will support strengthening of the current laws that cover false and deceptive advertising."

Gosh, tough talk. Oddly, Hollywood didn't seem too terribly concerned. "Frankly," yawned Motion Picture Association president Jack Valenti, "if I were running for office, I'd be trashing the movie industry myself."

Out in 90210, they know their Al. The man who dragged his wife to bow and scrape before them is not going to sock them with anything that really hurts. This is just for the benefit of the moms, and it is just for this silly season. And then it's for the hole.

Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


08/24/00: AlGore's Flex-O-Joe
08/17/00: The Joyful Clinton Nation
08/09/00: A Calculated Risk
08/03/00: New Hope for Nice Guys
07/27/00: But What About Dad?
07/20/00: U.S. Handiwork In Sierra Leone
07/13/00: President With a Porpoise
07/06/00: The Importance of Being Earnest
06/29/00: A Press Obsession With the Death Penalty
06/21/00: Gore and the Goodies
06/15/00: Network Snooze
06/01/00: Sunshine on My Shoulders
05/24/00: Last Chance for a Hardened Prevaricator
05/17/00: Cuomo's Thought Police
05/10/00: Hammering DeLay
05/04/00: Some Closing Thoughts
04/28/00: Endangering Elian
04/19/00: Imitation Activism
04/12/00: Why they hate Bubba
04/05/00: Census and nonesense
03/29/00: The Stiffs and Their Statuettes
03/15/00: Anarchy in Kosovo
03/08/00: Reform joke
03/01/00:The Pinhead Factor
03/01/00: The Christian Right: Past Its Prime . . .
02/24/00: McCain's Majority
02/16/00: Sharpton's Supplicants
02/09/00: The GOP Pilgrims' Sad Tale
02/02/00: Fodder For the GOP
01/26/00: Million-Dollar Mediocrity
01/19/00: Campaign Reform: Let's Pretend
01/12/00: Never Again? Oh, Never Mind
01/05/00: Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop In
12/22/99: Gore's TV Gambit
12/15/99: Campaigns Do Clarify
12/08/99: Kosovo's Killers
12/01/99: Not Ready for Prime Time?
11/24/99: The Company He Keeps
11/17/99: Republican Illusion
11/10/99: The Know-Nothing Media
11/03/99: Necessary Partisanship
10/27/99: Buchanan's Gift to George W. Bush
10/21/99: Who are the real friends of the poor?
10/14/99: Gore's 'courage'!?
10/08/99: Republican Stunts
09/23/99: Buchanan's folly
09/16/99: Beatty and Buchanan: That's Entertainment!
09/09/99: Puerto Rico Surprise (Cont'd)
09/02/99: Puerto Rico Surprise
08/12/99:The Age of No Class
08/05/99: Assessing Welfare Reform
07/29/99: On the Wrong Side
07/21/99: Mass Sentimentality
07/15/99: Blame Hillary
07/08/99: Guide to the Arts: For Your Summer Reading . . .
06/30/99: A Perfectly Clintonian Doctrine
06/25/99:Smorgasbord by the Sea
06/16/99: A National Calamity
06/09/99: Stumbling Forward
06/02/99: Commencement '90s-Style
05/26/99: Will we ever learn? Clintochio is a lying ...
05/19/99: Comforting Milosevic
05/13/99: Short-Order Strategists
05/06/99: Four Revolting Spectacles

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