The Gore watch

If Al Gore doesn't want the talk to be about politics, why is he talking about politics?


Tim Grieve
May 31, 2006 5:34PM (UTC)

Here's a thought for Al Gore: If you're serious about "not trying to feed" or "stimulate" talk of a presidential run, if your "whole objective is to change the mind of the American public so all the presidential candidates in both parties will want to talk about global warming," if you're going to bristle when reporters try to push the conversation toward 2008 -- well, you might want to stop giving interviews like the one you just did with the Guardian.

The Guardian asked Gore if he has moved to the left over the past six years. His answer: "No! If you have a renegade band of rightwing extremists who get hold of power, the whole thing goes to the right. But I haven't moved. I'm where I've always been."

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Let's be clear here: There's nothing wrong about referring to the Bush administration or the Republican leaders in Congress as "rightwing extremists." With George W. Bush kowtowing to the religious right on judicial nominations and just about everything else, with Bill Frist pushing constitutional amendments against gay marriage and flag burning, with House leaders locked into a hard-line position on immigration, "rightwing extremists" seems like a pretty apt description from here.

But if Gore really wants people to focus on polar ice caps rather than on his own political ambitions -- if he wants to persuade people that "An Inconvenient Truth" isn't a partisan film -- then he'd probably be better off not throwing out the kind of red-meat political lines that are going to make their way into newspaper headlines and the cable chat shows.

Of course, maybe, just maybe, Gore knows exactly what he's doing. If you want to keep a "draft Gore" movement growing, wouldn't you go about firing up the base with exactly the sort of language Gore just used?

The Guardian put the 2008 question to Gore, and he responded with the latest iteration of his not-quite-a-denial denial. "I don't expect to be a candidate," Gore said, adding that he couldn't see any event coming down the pike that might change his mind. But pressed further, Gore made it clear that he's not making anything so clear. "I haven't made a Shermanesque statement," he said, "because it just seems odd to do so."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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