Man Without Qualities

Sunday, November 17, 2002

A Mere Being

There are several remarkable passages in this profile of Al Gore from the Washington Post. Mistaken for Dan Quayle in an airport, revealed as a college stand up comic, described as taking "a part-time job with Metropolitan West, a financial services firm, as a roving rainmaker" without comment on whether he has made any rain for the substantial amount of compensation he is reported to receive - and, if so, where it came from. There's the new White Housey home - his hoped for jar - in a tony Nashville suburb

Some consequences from his earlier compromises are described: hiving off principles, replacing them with Bill Clinton's artifices of political manipulation in the service of personal self indulgence - with Monica Lewinski swaying, the palm at the end of the mind. Angry words post election defeat. Dear me.

There is discussion of the 2000 campaign, but it seems historical, remote - like reports from the Indian Wars. Friends and former aides speak, but their comments have the quality of reports in those worthy academic projects whose purpose is to reach and record aged witnesses before they all die off: "A downright fire-eater, and no mistake. Showed that, I should say, to some purpose, in the late tremendous swamp-fight, away down South ...."

But perhaps the most striking aspect of this profile is the sheer overwhelming exhaustion it finds in the man that was used up.

Thanks to reader Mike Daley.

UPDATE: More Gore exhaustion:

Gore is on the offensive. Bush's economic agenda, he says, is "catastrophic," his foreign policy "horrible," his environmental stance "immoral." "Our country is headed for very deep trouble," he says. He diplomatically refrains from saying if there is a "national malaise."

TIME says: This is the New Gore, a man who no longer speaks as if every sentence has been preapproved by his pollsters and handlers.

Sometimes it's better to have pollsters and handlers. TIME also reports: [I]f Gore ran today against Bush, the poll shows, Bush would win handily, 57% to 40%. - which is about the margin by which Jeb Bush just carried Florida.

FURTHER UPDATE: Bill Quick finds more Gore howlers.

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