Regular (long-suffering, indulgent) readers of Shakespeare's Sister are all too well aware of my huge crush on Al Gore. Not the kind of crush that would, say, lead to his impeachment, ahem, should he ever find his way into the Oval Office, but a deep and enduring admiration which has spanned so many years, seen such dizzying thrills and disappointments, that it does, at this point, have the capacity to make me blush and babble endlessly about the object of my political affection, as if it were, indeed, a crush of another sort.
A tale I've told before comes from my 18th year—and my first opportunity to vote in the '92 election. I took the presidential campaign very seriously, convinced as I was that my measured contemplation of the issues would result in my casting not only a wise and discerning vote, but most assuredly the deciding vote that would singly hand the president to my chosen man. (Yes, ever the geek, I was more excited about voting for the first time than I had been about getting my driver's license.) I was discussing the campaign with my dad one day, very early on (maybe even as early as '91), and I said that I liked Al Gore. He looked at me with a knitted brow. "Al Gore?"
"Yes," I enthused. "He's a Senator from Tennessee, and he's very pro-environment and he's well into technology and—"
"Shouldn't you be going on dates or something?" my dad said, approximately.
Dates schmates. I had candidates to pay attention to.
When Clinton chose Gore as his running mate, I was on the moon. You see, I never found Gore to be the stiff, stuffy, robotic doofus that he was supposed to be. Okay, he was a bit shy and awkward, and kind of a nerd, but I never figured Lincoln or FDR to be the first on the dance floor, either. I liked him. I admired him. The entire Clinton presidency was, for me, about one thing—getting Gore into the White House. So you can imagine how I felt in November of 2000. Inconsolable is, perhaps, inadequate.
Nonetheless, I hoped we hadn't seen the last of Al Gore. And we hadn't.
Gore's been up to lots of interesting stuff lo these past few years—much of which is chronicled in a new cover story by Ezra Klein in The American Prospect. Jan Frel, also giving it a review in The Mix, describes it as "a gush on Gore's best hits since he left office," which, considering our current dearth of gush-worthy politicians at the moment, is certainly not a bad thing, as it also reminds us "about why he's among the more compelling nationally known politicians we have." A taste:
As it has turned out, Al Gore as presented by Al Gore is infinitely more electric and attractive than the anodyne stiff the media popularized and the voters remembered.There's lots more where that came from. Gore lovers—well, you'll love it, as any hint that The Man may return for another go at the big time is enough to send us into a dither. As for you agnostics or full-on Gore-aphobes—do yourselves a favor and check it out. There may be something there to convert you yet.
Since his loss, Gore has undergone a resurrection of sorts, shrugging off the consultants and the caution that hampered him during the campaign and--aided by new distribution technologies--evolving into perhaps the most articulate, animated, and forceful critic of the Bush administration. And now, with Democrats taking a fresh look at a man they thought they knew and speculation mounting around his ambitions in 2008, it seems that the man much mocked for inventing the Internet is in fact using the direct communication it enables to reinvent himself.
(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)