I just want to say that I liked Al Gore even when Maureen Dowd and her ilk mocked him relentlessly. Here he is explaining why he will not, not, not run for President ...
The Passion of Al Gore - Bob Herbert - New York TimesI liked his comments on the strategic, moral, political, economic and social catastrophe of our Bungler in Chief -- aka the occupation of Iraq. I am easily persuaded that there's no simple exit.
... But while leaving the door to a possible run carefully ajar, he candidly mentioned a couple of personal reasons why he is disinclined to seek the presidency again.
“You know,” he said, “I don’t really think I’m that good at politics, to tell you the truth.” He smiled. “Some people find out important things about themselves early in life. Others take a long time.”
He burst into a loud laugh as he added, “I think I’m breaking through my denial.”
I noted that he had at least been good enough to attract more votes than George W. Bush.
“Well, there was that,” he said, laughing again. “But what politics has become requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I find I have in short supply.”
Mr. Gore is passionate about the issues he is focused on — global warming, the decline of rational discourse in American public life, the damage done to the nation over the past several years. And he has contempt for the notion that such important and complex matters can be seriously addressed in sound-bite sentences or 30-second television ads, which is how presidential campaigns are conducted.
He pressed this point when he talked about Iraq.
“One of the hallmarks of a strategic catastrophe,” he said, “is that it creates a cul-de-sac from which there are no good avenues of easy departure. Taking charge of the war policy and extricating our troops as quickly as possible without making a horrible situation even worse is a little like grabbing a steering wheel in the middle of a skid.”
There is no quick and easy formula, he said. A new leader implementing a new policy on Iraq would have to get a feel for the overall situation. The objective, however, should be clear: “To get our troops out of there as soon as possible while simultaneously observing the moral duty that all of us share — including those of us who opposed this war in the first instance — to remove our troops in a way that doesn’t do further avoidable damage to the people who live there.”
Update: My wife suggests we conspire to create a romance between Brooks and Dowd, in the hopes they'll run off together and perhaps go to work for Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. A terrific win for the NYT on every front ...