Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Election Year DNT Parable -- The 2nd Part

In 2000, Al Gore was running for election as president. As a sitting vice president, he too lacked the luxury of running against the current administration. In Al Gore’s years in Washington he had been many things: a VP, a senator, a congressman, the son of a prominent senator … and a killjoy. Tennessee-bred and Harvard-educated Albert Gore Jr. had a well established (and earned) reputation as a policy wonk. A nerd. A worry ward. I could go on.

Cut to: A casual conversation with reporters on a campaign plane. Gore mentions that the novelist Erich Segal – a professor at Harvard during Gore’s college years – based his character of the male lead in the screenplay-cum-novel-cum-screenplay Love Story on … Albert Gore Jr.

Obviously, in a desperate attempt to make himself less of a square, Gore had latched onto a pop culture icon from his youth in an attempt to make himself seem less of a nerd. The pressure of the election had made him a fabulist.

Cut to: An impromptu speech Gore gives to some supporters in which, asked about the “information superhighway” (remember that?) he says he invented the Internet.

Torrents of laughter. He’s a politician for pete’s sake! A nominal lawyer, but inventing the Internet?


A combination of Clinton fatigue and the lack of any overriding national issues (plus some well-placed social referenda and a few shenanigans in ballot-counting) would cost Gore that election. But the image of Al Gore, Fabulist played a large part. Even after an Academy Award (screw ‘em, I’m not putting the trademark on it) and a Nobel Prize, it dogs Gore’s reputation to this day.

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