This is a multimedia diary. It contains several video and audio clips for your enjoyment. The video clips cannot be embedded in this website because Dkos understandably does not allow java scripts. To see a diary with the videos enabled, visit Deny My Freedom; otherwise, follow the links provided to the webpage containing the video.
UPDATE: Second video now contains the correct link.
Cross Posted at Deny My Freedom
, The Gore Portal
, My Left Wing
Somehow, seeing Al visiting his mother, having dinner--it gets to me as I travel home to see my own mother today.
We've all done our fair share of chatting (analyzing, guessing, hoping...) about what has become known as The Colbert Effect--the resounding response felt throughout the liberal community via both the blogosphere and networks such as MySpace. With almost no coverage in the mainstream media, the sensation has traveled nearly exclusively by word of mouth, the effects of which Daily Kos's NYCO has been following with impressive regularity and unsurpassed analysis.
But what about Al Gore? Isn't this diary supposed to be about him? Well, let's consider the fact that last Saturday he appeared (nearly unannounced) on Saturday Night Live, to give an opening address by our "president"--Al Gore. It was a painfully true meditation on just what the world might be like, if he had actually been sworn in as president and served honorably. It's as painful as it is hilarious.
More analysis below, but if you haven't seen the video yet, it's great, and I highly recommend you watch it now (UPDATE: I posted this diary and then went to sleep all snuggly in my bed. Little did I know that you guys would take to it like this, nor that I had posted the wrong video link! I apologize and you may enjoy the correct one now.)
Actual SNL Video!
His carefully timed appearance lends itself to two things--one fact, the other reasonable conjecture. It certainly has to do with the fact that his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is coming out in a little over a week. But is there more to it? Perhaps he is continuing his slow but steady increase in time spent in the public eye, to both gauge public interest in a presidential run and to shore up support and name recognition for that prospective run.
But it's the methodology that caught my attention. It seemed incredibly reminiscent of Stephen Colbert. Here we have Al Gore, putting himself on the line and criticizing the president. Only... he doesn't criticize the president. He uses something called "satire" (known to confuse people inside the beltway) to make his point. He sits there, in a suit and tie, and pretends entirely to be representing something completely different--to be speaking about his accomplishments as President. Only he's not talking about his success as president; he's talking about Bush's Failures.
It has always seemed to me that Al has been the clear favorite when it comes to politicians who have their finger on the pulse of the grassroots progressive community. I mean, why should'nt he be: he is one of us. For years, he's worked with unglamorous PACs and public interest groups to help protect the environment.
And no one responds to the netroots vibrations better, it seems, than Al Gore. We have certainly seen Evidence that he's hearing the groundswell of populist support here in the blogosphere--no one has pushed harder for him to throw his hat in the presidential ring than we have.
It doesn't actually matter whether or not Al Gore is responding directly to Stephen Colbert's success--and I think he and the SNL writers were--the point is, he gets it. He gets humor, he gets satire, and he gets how to be close to the people. He always has. In 2002 he also appeared on SNL. During the nineties, as sitting Vice President he had two cameos in Matt Groening's animated satire Futurama.
It was the easy-to-swallow GOP assassination of this outstanding, humanizing personality that hurt Al the most in 2000 (*that, and a stolen election), but it's something he's working past, and I think that more and more people are seeing that now. I know I am.
The Salt Lake Tribune's Wayne Madsen reminds us that an Al Gore victory in '08 is as possible as it is revolutionary:
He served two terms as vice president under a popular president. He then lost the presidency in a razor-thin election. After eight years, he repackaged himself and won the race for the White House and was re-elected in a major landslide.
That person was Richard Nixon. What Nixon did in 1968, Al Gore could repeat in 2008. Like Nixon, Gore faces a nation divided by an unpopular war. And like Nixon, Gore could transform anti-war anger and general public malaise into votes. [snip]
A number of Americans strongly believe that Gore was unfairly robbed of the presidency in 2000. Two terms of George W. Bush have demonstrated that almost every point Gore raised in the 2000 election - the dangers posed by global warming, the criticality of alternative fuel sources, the foolishness of tax breaks for the ultra-rich, the need for international diplomacy and consensus building, prudence in Supreme Court nominations, and a commitment to civil liberties - were right on target.[snip]
There is no doubt that Gore made a drastic mistake in selecting a neoconservative Democrat, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, as his running mate in 2000. Gore understands his mistake more than anyone else in America.
Gore, who has made no secret of his distaste for neoconservative policies at home and abroad, will be extra careful to ensure that his next running mate reflects the true values of the Democratic Party and not those of the pro-big business and neo-conservative aligned Democratic Leadership Council. [snip]
Who better could use the White House as a bully pulpit to demand fair and fraud-free elections? That is something that would benefit democracy and every political party and candidate.
We'll never find a politician more capable of being a human being, or with our own interests closer to his or her heart in the next two years than Al Gore.
Another treat after all this reading:
The New Yorker recently posted this song, written about Al Gore, by his neighbor--and it is as funny as it is true.
While Hillary Clinton consorts
with her pal Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, Gore has been back in the habit of grassroots reform and environmental protection.
The fact that the GOP and the entertainment industry's personality propaganda was his downfall in 2000 is one of the most painful ironies I've ever experienced, and this diary is in large part an effort to stress that emotion as much as I possibly can.
I hope you enjoyed reading this Gore profile as much as I enjoyed making it.
PLS has an excellent personal story in the comments section:
I maybe the proverbial canary in the coal mine. I am a formerly apathetic liberal pushed into active citizenship by Bushco. I got on the Dean bandwagon in May '03 when I attended my first meet-up, way ahead of most of the pack. I have been passionate about Gore since his MLK speech which I was lucky enough to see. Since then there has been a growing groundswell for Gore.
If you'd like to read a little more about Al's sense of humor, with a tinge of personal experience, check out this Daniel Kurtzman article. Thanks to TeresaInPA for the catch:
Staff Anecdotes about Al Gore's Office Mischief
Super Simian brings us this excellent article from the LA Times. If you haven't read it, I recommend it. As SS says, it really gives you a sense of what Al went through after the election, and how he's moving past it.
Let's email it via their website to everyone we know, and get it to shoot up to the top of their "most emailed story" list--
of course, it will help spread the good word about our favorite patriot, Al Gore:
LA Times: Al Gore Warms Up