Nobody would say of Al Gore what Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska once
said of Bill Clinton: that he’s “a good liar — unusually
good.” Gore’s notorious stiffness is due to his discomfort
in presenting a false public image on all the occasions when he feels
it’s required of him. If the secret of success is to be able
to “fake sincerity,” Gore is a failure. Relentlessly wooden
in demeanor and formulaic in verbal expression, he has made it nearly
impossible to imagine him in a spontaneous moment.
Democrats are supposed to be “people people.” In the
days of Hubert Humphrey, they were known for kissing babies. This habit
has fallen into disuse since supporting abortion became party orthodoxy.
The incongruity would be a little too blatant.
Now Gore has been caught out in a naked lie. Faced with his own anti-abortion
votes and pronouncements during his years as U.S. senator from Tennessee,
he insists doggedly that he has “always” supported “a
woman’s right to choose.” In the Democratic Party, it’s
now considered shameful to have protected unborn children and to have
called abortion “arguably the taking of a human life.” “I
would not use that phrasing today,” he says.
No, he wouldn’t. As far as Gore is concerned, it’s just
a matter of “phrasing” — changing verbal formulas
to suit a change of position. He doesn’t feel obliged to explain
why he changed his mind, because he didn’t change his mind — just
How do you go from believing that an unborn child is a marvel of God’s
creation to believing it’s only a worthless piece of disposable
tissue, even on the verge of birth? Such inconsistencies don’t
bother a man who has no convictions and who will say anything dictated
by his calculations of political convenience. This, after all, is the
same man who has called Clinton one of our greatest presidents and
has dismissed Clinton’s alleged rape of a woman (while attorney
general of Arkansas) as a “mistake in his personal life.”
Gore’s recent attacks on Bill Bradley have been called “ruthless.” Why
should his mean streak come as a surprise? He wants to win, and his
charges against Bradley are no more ruthless than his defense of Clinton
or his smearing of abortion opponents as “extremists.” You
can be wooden and unscrupulous at the same time — or for that
matter, at once stiff and spineless. Inflexibility is not to be confused
True, Gore lacks the facility that enables Clinton to speak tearfully
about “our children” while supporting the late-term abortion “procedure” that
drills a hole in the child’s skull, sucks out the brain, and
crushes the skull to make it easier to extract from the birth canal.
As a prevaricator, he’s still the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
But he’s working on it. Practice makes perfect.
What does Gore mean when he says he has “always” supported
abortion? That he read the Constitution before the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled on the matter, and became independently convinced that abortion
was constitutionally shielded? Hardly. Before the Court made its totally
arbitrary ruling, not even the most liberal justice had ever gone on
the record as saying the Constitution protected abortion. The thought
simply never occurred to anyone. And a thought that has never occurred
to anyone, you can be sure, is not going to occur to Al Gore first.
But a funny thing happened. Once the Court had decreed that all the
abortion laws of all 50 states were somehow unconstitutional, countless
people suddenly developed the conviction that abortion was a “right,” just
as Henry VIII’s novel views on royal prerogatives immediately
proved persuasive to his courtiers, with the cranky exception of Sir
Thomas More. And nobody likens Gore to More.
That is the key to Gore: he has the soul of a courtier, one who,
in another age, would have flattered Caligula without compunction.
He is to power what an iron filing is to a magnet. Ambition aside,
he has never shown a will, let alone a conscience, of his own. But
there is something odd about a veteran courtier, and an especially
sycophantic one at that, aspiring to be king.
Copyright © 2012 by the Fitzgerald
Griffin Foundation. All rights reserved. This column was published originally
by Griffin Internet Syndicate on February 1, 2000.
Joe Sobran was an author and a syndicated columnist. See bio
and archives of some of his columns.
Watch Sobran's last TV appearance on YouTube.
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