Was on the treadmill yesterday afternoon watching the end of the exciting Kansas-Davidson game saw a preview for 60 Minutes. Decided to stay on the treadmill and watch the show for one story in particular, a profile on Bill James. Bill James is the statistician that changed the way many people, including myself, looked at baseball (more on opening day in MLB soon to come).
But as I watched 60 Minutes I couldn't get off the treadmill and it figured the James story would be the last of the three they did. I thought about writing an article about the tragic and wrongful imprisonment of Murat Kurnaz by the US Defense Department. But decided to instead stay a little more positive and not fit my reputation of jumping on all the massive failures of the "War on Terror." Check out the story for yourself and see what our government did.
The story of Kurnaz was followed by a profile of Al Gore. Readers of this blog know my thoughts on Gore. I was so angry with him in 2000 when he ran a safe campaign and did not talk about some issues I had always respected him for, like 'climate change'. Readers also know I think that he should be in this race for President and that if he ran, we would be talking about how bad he would beat John McCain in November.
With few exceptions there is no one I respect in the world of politics more than Al Gore. Is he the most charismatic? Not even close. Is he the funniest guy? Not at all. But Al Gore had the Presidency ripped away from him and has responded by becoming the one thing our country has lacked for about 40 years, a true statesman.
As discussed in the report, he raised eyebrows when he put on weight and grew a beard around 2003-2004. What wasn't mentioned in the report was that other people blasted him for his opposition to the Iraq War. Some said it was political suicide to question the President and the War when Gore made his statements. This was because he made his statements before the Iraq War was the utter and complete disaster that it is today. When support for the war was in the 60-70% range, Gore raised reasoned arguments that were dismissed as the ramblings of a sore loser.
He was thought of as joke and many thought he would fade away in the shadow of a "Great Wartime President. Well, the actual "joke" got reelected and the country has reaped what it sowed. An eight year stretch of ineptitude, unprofessionalism, and corruption.
If you watch the piece of Gore on 60 Minutes you may ask yourself the same question I did.
"How the hell did we not elect this guy President?"
The Florida debacle in 2000 and politically motivated decision by the Supreme Court (I'll say it if Gore won't) really set this country on a different course. I remember being told, "Thank God Al Gore wasn't President on 9/11, he probably wouldn't have defended us."
I remember being told, we have an 'oil crisis and need an oil man to fix it. Not some 'environmental wack-job.'
I remember being told, 'we need to restore dignity to the Oval Office.'
Many of those people may still say the same thing, but they would be as blind now as they were ignorant then. Other than Chelsea, Gore was the victim of the Clinton years. He lost because the right wing held the scandals of Bill Clinton over the head of Al Gore and wrapped it around his neck.
He was blasted by Republicans for showing loyalty to Clinton and not condeming him. Which I always find ironic, because Republicans are the party that demands loyalty above all others. In fact the reason that most Republicans hate John McCain is that he had the guts to call out Republicans and they think he is not 'loyal.'
Well 8 years later I was watching Gore with Leslie Stahl and thought to myself, "THERE'S a President."
Haven't seen one in Washington for quite some time and sure as hell haven't said that to myself during this campaign as confidently as I did last night.