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Monday, June 4, 2007

Al Gore at Town Hall

posted by on June 4 at 19:38 PM


The place is packed—sold out, SRO… except, of course, for the press seats, which are roomy. Seattle’s blog elite is here: David Postman from the Seattle Times, Dan Gonsiorowski from Seattlest, Goldy from HorsesAss, Northwest Progressive (also live-blogging), and others.

Gore is going to speak for a half an hour, and take a few questions, and then sign copies of his new book, The Assault on Reason. He won’t be signing any memorabilia, we’re told, just his new book. As soon as Gore is on I’ll start typing like mad. Hopefully he’ll announce that he’s running for president—and hopefully someone will ask him to if he doesn’t announce it during his speech.

Okay, Gore’s on. Standing ovation—naturally. After his opening remarks, thanks to Town Hall, Karen from Elliott Bay Books… Gore opens with…

“I’m a recovering politician, on about step nine. You win some, you lose some, and then there’s that little known third category.”

The big question: How thin does he look? Everyone seems to think that Gore’s weight is the chief indicator of his intentions—if he’s taking off the pounds, he’s running. If he’s still packing ‘em on, he’s not. Well, he looking thinner—much thinner, actually, than he has been recently. So he’s running, right? Well, maybe. He could be losing weight to keep his options open—he has to lose weight to keep his options open. Because Americans, as fat as we are, would sooner vote for an idiot anorexic than a beefy genius. Or something. Anyway, for all you Gore Weight Watchers, the former VP is lookin’ thin. Make of that what you will.

Al seems a little low on energy, and he’s hoarse—perhaps he’s book-tour hoarse. But the crowd is eating him up, laughing at jokes they no doubt heard in An Inconvenient Truth, and on Letterman, and SNL. We’re getting the enviro chunk of Gore stump speech, for openers, all about climate change. But it’s well-rehearsed and, shit, in front of this crowd? Al Gore could lose control of his bowels and crap his pants and the place would go wild.

Okay, we’re on Iraq now.

“What do the climate crisis and the invasion of Iraq have in common? … We shouldn’t have invaded Iraq, we should respond to the climate crisis. We did the exact opposite, despite the evidence. Do the facts matter? Is the truth irrelevant? …. The idea that one can create one’s own reality—I understand the philosophy but it’s just wrong….

George Orwell [said] when leaders create their own realities they eventually have a collosion with reality, usually on the battle field.”

Six LaRouchies, everyone immediately presumes, dressed like Christmas elves or something just interrupted. No, wait. Their supposed to be those chanting monks from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—they’re chanting something and hitting themselves on their empty heads with their idiotic tracts.

“That’s the LaRouche cult,” says Gore, as Town Hall ushers rush them out of the auditorium, to applause. “For some reason they’ve taken a liking to me.”

Here’s a terrible picture of Gore…


We’ve got a photographer here, so we’ll have some decent pics later.

Okay, I love Al Gore… I want him to run for president… I’ve been a Gore/Obama man longer than just about anyone else out there. But I have to say: Gore seems exhausted. He’s on a book tour, and I know from personal experience that book tours can be exhausting. But anyone that came here tonight expecting a slashing, barn-burning, raise-the-roof, motherfucking speech is going to leave disappointed.

We’re on to the invention of human speech, the earliest attempts at communication, the flooding of the Nile, the invention of the printing press, the Protestant revolution, Copernicus, the movement of the planets…. Gore is walking us through the “evolution of communication systems” on his way to a no-doubt salient point about the how badly we need to evolve a “new information ecosystem.” It’s esoteric stuff… hard to tell how it’s going over… and I can’t keep up. And while the crowd is listening politely I can’t help but think they’re secretly hoping for another LaRouchie interruption.

“The migrants that came to North American brought the seeds of the Enlightenment to North Amiercan and planted them here…. Our founders designed a system that enabled individuals without wealth, without power, to use ideas and knowledge as a source of power to mediate between privledge and wealth.”

You can hear the LaRouchies singing outside the building.

“Before the Iraq war, 70% of people believed that we were attacked by Saddam Hussein.”

Saddam was getting uranium from Africa, making nuclear weapons, threatening to share them with his good friends in Al Qauda, mushroom clouds over American cities…

“None of that was true. But none of it was challenged to the point where it could no longer be used as the point for an invasion of Iraq. 150,000 American troops are still trapped in a civil war in Iraq. That was a big mistake. What this book is about is how we can avoid making more mistakes like that.”

We are in a bad state. Locking up American citizens without charges, torturing people, ignoring the climate crisis….

“Candidates gather on a stage and express their support for torture, and the audience applauds…. Who we are, as citizens of this country, depends not just on what we learn in school or what our parents teach us. It depends on how we communicate with one another. Whether we trust one another…. Whether we believe we have a shared obligation to seek out with each other, as best we can, the truth.”

Man, it’s hot in here. I’m sweating like a pig and I’m wearing a t-shirt. Gore must be dying up there.

“We have to dis-enthrall ourselves and shed the illusions that people urge upon us because [they] feel the truth is our enemy…. We have to tend to the cracks in the foundation of our democracy.”

The press has been corrupted by the profit motive, our leaders are corrupt, radio was exploited by fascists, and television is just fucking toxic—but the Internet, man, the Internet! So long as we keep it free, and we simply must fight corporate and political efforts to constrain the Internet or seize control of the Internet. We have to fight it as passionately as our founders fought to protect the freedom of the press.

I’m not being snarky in the above graph—I agree with everything Gore is saying.

“The survival of American democracy depends on protecting the freedom of the Internet.”

Agreed, Al, agreed.

Gore is wrapping up his remarks—having gone on a bit longer than his promised half hour. And he ends with a compliment, sucking up to the crowd…

“What a great city this is. You read, you think, you talk, you communicate. The rebellion lives… and one of the centers is right here.”

Okay, it’s question time!

First question: How do you argue with people who don’t believe in global warming?

Buy them my book, says Gore, buy them my movie.

Second question: Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal, pro or con?

Kinda pro, kinda con. Hate the WSJ op-ed pages, love WSJ reporting.

Third question: Why so little movement on global warming during the Clinton administration?

I was vice-president, not president, and we lost control of Congress. And scientific consensus was far short of what it is today.

Fourth question: How do you change people’s actions and not just their minds?

Great question, says Gore. Uh… not really. Kind of a suck-ass question, actually, and not the question everyone wants to hear someone ask Gore. For fuck’s sake, someone just shout it out!

My god, is he wrapping up? Is no one going to ask him if he’s fucking run for president? Gore thanks us, waves, and strides from the stage! Fuck! No one asked! Christ! It’s all anyone cares about, it’s all anyone can talk about, and no one in this thinking, talking, communicating Seattle audience thought to ask Gore to communicate with us about the only thing anyone really wants to talk about? Jesus!God, I hate bullshit Seattle audience questions about chit-chatting with people who disagree with us about their feelings and changing hearts and minds and blah blah fuckin’ blah.

Sigh. What a waste—because I’m sure if someone had asked him, Gore would have announced his candidacy. Gore/Obama ‘08!

Okay, here’s two final craptastic pictures…

Al Gore brings it home at Town Hall tonight…


Al Gore signs some books…


Hopefully someone in the book-signing line thought to ask the man if he’s running for fucking president.

And that concludes our live-Slogging for this evening. Thank you and goodnight.

UPDATE: So after cleaning up this post and going downstairs… I saw that Gore was finishing up the signing line. He looked exhausted—the book tours, the heat, the wool suit. A couple of people told me excitedly that Gore is definitely dieting, and we all know what that means. Town Hall’s Susie Tennant handed me a book and Frizzelle and I joined the line at the end. Gore signed our books and when we asked him if he was going to run, Gore said…

I’m not going to reveal what Al Gore said. You can read about it in Frizzelle’s column this week. I can reveal, however, that while Al Gore was answering our question his eyes drifted down to my t-shirt…


…and Gore gave me a very queer look. Before I could say, “I voted for you and Bill in ‘96, Mr. Vice President,” Gore was up, out the door, whisked into a car, and quickly driven past a clump of die-hard LaDouchies.

RSS icon Comments


Al Gore well nown my plase of live, Stuttgart. I agree globel warmng big probleme. If Al Gore dosnt run as presadent, he can come Germany and be alected by landslid. By way, Al' wieght probleme not handykapp here. But if he dosnt drink bier for ocktoberfest, it polittikal lieabilitie. It true.

Posted by Joseph | June 4, 2007 8:35 PM

Forget Obama...

Gore/Savage 08!!!

Posted by Jeff H | June 4, 2007 9:04 PM

The remarkable thing about Gore is that he defies easy political categorization; he transcends left and right. And by doing so, he keeps getting proven right by history.

  • He opposed the Iraq War from the outset, not as a pacifist but for national security reasons. Meanwhile, Hillary was arguing Iraq on Karl Rove's terms -- that we just need to give the UN weapons inspectors more time. Like anyone would have dreamed of invading Iraq if not for 9/11, which of course Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with. And yet because of an unrelated event, Saddam became a threat to us? Gore saw through this charade.
  • He has refused to pander to protectionists. This is the guy who defended NAFTA against Ross Perot on Larry King Live.
  • He has refused to descend to Wal-Mart bashing, unlike a lot of Democratic politicians these days.
  • He was way out ahead of just about every other politician in sounding the alarm over climate change. And the solution he has been championing the hardest is the kind of market-oriented, small-government approach you wouldn't expect from your garden-variety environmentalist -- namely, replacing the payroll tax with a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

I could go on. But I can think of three things all these political stands have in common: intellect, wisdom, and courage. There's only one presidential candidate out there who isn't dwarfed and eclipsed by Al Gore, and that's Obama. And yet, Obama has been anything but courageous.

For all these virtues, I'm not sure running for president is the most effective thing for Al Gore to do -- even though I'm sure Gore would make a great president. Sorry to say, America deserves George W. Bush; America doesn't deserve Al Gore.

Posted by cressona | June 4, 2007 9:19 PM

Many have asked him if he's running. His answer is: no. Not right now.

And, for now, that's a good thing. Not running leaves him free to say what he thinks. He doesn't have to obsess about raising money (and that's a major part of what a candidate does). He doesn't have to worry about spin or focus groups or offending someone somewhere with some misstatement.

If the field self-destructs, Gore will be there, ready to go with no primary campaign baggage to weigh him down. The best move for him is not to seek the presidency but to let it seek him.

Posted by Prospero | June 4, 2007 9:24 PM

Gore/Savage? Uh, no. I'm disqualified for the same reasons Hillary and Edwards oughta be disqualified--that and those videos I made when I was young and foolish.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 4, 2007 10:01 PM

God I hope he doesn't run. He lost/barely-won-and-didn't-fight-for-the-win an unlosable election in 2000 with eight years of peace & prosperity under his belt and a dipshit opponent. Because he was afraid of being associated with Bill Clinton's penis.

He isn't any less of a mainstream, establishment candidate than Hilary. He got the war right? Of course he did. He was a private citizen at the time and didn't have to respond to his constituents very real concerns about the war (constituents like our faithful reporter at Town Hall.) and was free to rip the shit out of Shrub without consequence.

I want a candidate who, when punched by the Republican machine, will punch back twice as hard. Someone who will *dust* the Swift Boat fucks and their descendents. So far Hilary seems like the only one I'm *confident* will do this. Edwards was part of the ineffectual Kerry campaign in 2004 and hasn't yet gotten out from under that (for me at least). Obama has not yet said anything other than platitudes.

I want a bunch of great choices. I will be happy if Edwards or Obama or Richardson or somebody else shows they won't pout or go quietly superior when the Republican dogs impune their honor or integrity or what we Democrats hold dear- that all Americans should have access to the American dream, and that we will enact tax and legal policies to make that vision a reality.

Until I see otherwise, I'm sticking w/ Hilary.

Posted by Big Sven | June 4, 2007 10:01 PM

* America deserves George W. Bush

What the fuck? That's the kind of absolutist, "either we get Denny Kucinich or I'm not voting" mentality that kept my socialist friends from voting in 2000 and 2004 and handed our country into the hands of a MORON.

Posted by Big Sven | June 4, 2007 10:07 PM

"He lost/barely-won-and-didn't-fight-for-the-win an unlosable election in 2000."

Excuse me? Gore won the popular vote by 500,000+. HE WON! It wasn't even that close. As one news story I read pointed out, both Gore and Bush had seen five presidential elections in their lifetimes that were CLOSER than the 2000 race was.

And he was fighting the Floriday result in the courts and every other way when the Republican appointed Supreme Court shut it down. If the recount in Florida had been allowed to proceed, he might have become president.

Give the man his due.

Posted by Prospero | June 4, 2007 10:16 PM

Prospero, he lost his home state! I like the guy, but come on... even Mondale carried Minnesota.

I. Want. A. Badass. Candidate. I'm tired of losing to Republicans. Yes Gore is smart, smarter than I am (like Clinton) and that's a start. And I caucused for Gore in MN in 2000, and I gave him money, but there was never a moment in the campaign where I thought "yeah! Kick ass! Now he's shown those bastards how a *real* Democrat does things."

You bring up good points about his stands on the issues. If he gets in the race, and kicks ass, then I will reconsider. There's a lot of time between now and Oct 2008. But I think it unlikely based on his track record.

Sorry about the f-bomb. It's late.

Posted by Big Sven | June 4, 2007 10:28 PM

Gore/Obama 08!

That said, I agree with his answer about the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 4, 2007 11:13 PM

You know, I like the current Al Gore the author & environmental activist a whole lot more than I liked the old Al Gore the ineffectual boring ass presidential candidate. While I would love to see him as president, I sometimes wonder if he is a little bit like Jimmy Carter. Most people will agree that Carter wasn't a stellar president, but has been an awesome former-president. Carter has done far more good since he left office than he ever did in the White House. Nobel Peace prize, independent ambassador, Habitat for Humanity, and all that good shit. All other former-presidents for the last 40 years have more-or-less disappeared from the scene once they left office. Maybe Gore would do more good and be more effective as a former-Vice-President than he would as President. Or maybe he'd be better in a different post, like oh, say, the head of the EPA or something.

Posted by SDA in SEA | June 4, 2007 11:26 PM

dan, can you get a nicer camera? your camera sucks.

Posted by brad | June 5, 2007 12:12 AM

Why does he have to wear a suit at these things? It's Seattle, we like casual!

I'm in the first pic in the background. I was towards the end of the signing line too but didn't see you, Dan.

Most Seattlites are probably too polite to ask him about running when he has already answered several times in the press.

Posted by Lloyd Cooney | June 5, 2007 12:20 AM

From across the room your t-shirt looked like Beavis and Butthead. I wasn't too far off!

Posted by Lloyd Cooney again | June 5, 2007 12:24 AM

That was the most refreshing blog of a political event I've ever seen!

Can you get to any of those friggin' debates? They could sure use the Savage touch

Posted by Ayden | June 5, 2007 1:28 AM

He is dieting...last night was a campaign stop. He is campaigning under the radar where he should be until Oct/November.

Posted by EG | June 5, 2007 6:51 AM

Umm, so what was the point of the t-shirt, Dan? To be contrary? To show the world, that dude, you need to update your tshirt wardrobe?

Posted by Brad | June 5, 2007 7:22 AM

caught his appearance on Cspan this weekend, read his book and after last night's performance I am left with the inescapable conclusion that he is interviewing us the american public for the job of accepting his candidacy..

Are we ready for a ready to accept a candidate who will discuss and analyze the issues of the day? We say we are yet we are also quite willing to accept a media portrayal of Al that doesn't reflect the man or candidate.
I do believe he is presenting his thesis: his candidacy would require a systematic shift in our democratic system - one that would require an honest and open discussion of the constitutional crisis, global crisis, etc. When he runs, it will be a different candidacy. I do believe we are ready. Al is seeing this first hand and the discussion is happening in red state america. He is selling out big venues, he is making his case - one town at a time and getting exceptional news coverage in those local areas. He would not be able to do this as a confirmed candidate.

Posted by EG | June 5, 2007 8:18 AM

The point of the t-shirt: No point. I found that t-shirt when I moved recently, in the bottom of a box, and put it back in regular t-shirt rotation. Yesterday AM I put it on and went to work, but I wasn't going to the Gore event for us--Chris and Annie were. At the last minute I decided to go. It was a coincidence that I had that t-shirt on. I actually didn't even think of it until I got to Town Hall -- and it wasn't my intention to rub Gore's nose in it, as I didn't intend to line up and get a book signed.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 5, 2007 8:36 AM

I'm late to this party, but Big Sven is the first person to say what I'm thinking. If Gore runs, I'm not opposed to voting for him, but he's got to grow some. He DID lose in 2000 because that should have been a slam dunk and it shockingly wasn't. Popular vote, schmopular vote, he didn't get a seat in the oval office and he fucking should have and I blame him. Not Nader, not Florida, GORE. No sense reliving the past, I just want a Dem who can step up and bite back when it gets dirty.

Posted by Amy Jo | June 5, 2007 9:17 AM
It’s all anyone cares about, it’s all anyone can talk about, and no one in this thinking, talking, communicating Seattle audience thought to ask Gore to communicate with us about the only thing anyone really wants to talk about?

Dude, can I just ask you this: as a journalist, why the fuck did you think this was the important question to ask? I mean, you're aware that he gets asked that question 50 times a day on the record. I know you know that. And I know you know what his answer has been and is likely to continue being. So why? I'm honestly interested in your journalistic rationale for this.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 9:23 AM

Man, you guys need to give it up. Gore would have been/would be a fine president, but there's no way in hell that most Americans would vote for him; he's just too wonky smart. Wasn't Bush II's campaign slogan "I'm real dumb, just like you."

See, we choose presidents the same way we choose real estate agents: We go with the biggest liar who tells us exactly what we want to hear, and don't you bring us no bad news.

Posted by Original Andrew | June 5, 2007 9:36 AM

What a wretched excess and waste of electricity is this - merely to promote a book (and of course for Dan to play reporter). Gore's old news.

Posted by braindead | June 5, 2007 9:38 AM

Simple, Judah: I want the question put to Gore at every opportunity because I WANT HIM TO RUN.

And sorry, Original Andrew, but Gore won in 2000--popular vote and in Florida--so I don't think Americans truly wanted the idiot. Not in 2000, anyway.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 5, 2007 9:41 AM

I have reluctantly come around to Big Sven's thinking with this one.

Gore won't run. But if he does, I don't think he'd get my primary vote.

Clinton/Richardson 08!

Posted by arduous | June 5, 2007 9:49 AM

My biggest concern is that a Democrat will be elected and nothing will change because the Dems have largely signed on to the Big Business agenda: Massive tax cuts for the wealthy combined with a race to the bottom for workers’ wages and benefits.

It’s no secret that the middle class is in serious trouble. Huge increases in the cost of housing, energy, healthcare and education have sapped most people’s ability to save, while our salaries have lost ground during an economic boom (and yet we’re told that there’s little to no inflation – how about that?).

I read the paper every day and I’ve yet to see one candidate explain how they’re going to bridge the growing class divide, except for John Edwards of course, but he’s *ahem* hazy with the specifics. Can we say “progressive taxation?” Massive class inequality is a major threat to our democracy, not to mention fixing Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, rebuilding our crumbling civic infrastructure and extricating ourselves from disastrous foreign wars.

Are any of the candidates seriously and specifically addressing these issues?

Posted by Original Andrew | June 5, 2007 10:35 AM

I wasn't there, but I could offer a perfect recap of last night:


Posted by Gomez | June 5, 2007 10:49 AM

Also, since you keep echoing the lie, Dan, I have to keep echoing the truth: Gore did more to lose the 2000 election than Bush's cronies in Florida did to win it. If Gore ran anything resembling a decent campaign, and displayed marginally more charisma than a pet rock painted grey... the 2000 election never comes down to Florida.

Notice that neither of Bill Clinton's elections ever came down to Florida or Ohio. He never needed them, because he was a good candidate who won over the nation at large and took so many other states.

50.5 to 49.5 is only a win in technicality.

Run a candidate who doesn't behave like a liberal sock puppet or a lawyer on sedatives, and maybe Bush never takes office.

If Gore runs in 2008 and somehow snags the nomination, he will not only succeed in boring the public to death, but use the global warming issue to further polarize the left sociopolitically, and widen the ridiculous red/blue rift... while handing the presidency to Giuliani in 2008.

And he's not going to save the world, whether or not he's president.

Get off it.

Posted by Gomez | June 5, 2007 10:57 AM

Gomez: horseshit. The Republicans illegally purged minority voters from the rolls in a state run by George W. Bush’s brother where the person in charge of protecting voter rights was also heading Bush’s Florida campaign. It was the most appalling example of vote fraud since Kennedy took Chicago. None of Gore’s mistakes-- which were all essentially cosmetic --compare to that blatant malfeasance on the part of Katherine Harris and others.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 12:31 PM


There are 49 other states in the United States, and Gore lost most of those.

Arguing the corruption of Florida belies the larger point, which is that Gore didn't do enough to convincingly win over the rest of the nation, when facing a candidate so clearly batshit crazy that it would've been easy for any reasonable charismatic individual to do so.

The elephants stole Florida because Gore did so badly that it came down to Florida.

Posted by Gomez | June 5, 2007 12:49 PM

Yes, Gomez. But Gore still won. Are you seriously pinning the blame on Gore for his loss because... the election was sooooo close that the Rs just couldn't resist stealing it? Please.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 5, 2007 1:01 PM

Of course, Dan, I've seen you use pretty much that exact logic to pin the blame for the 2000 election on Nader voters, but I agree with your point here.

Gore didn't do enough to convincingly win over the rest of the nation, when facing a candidate so clearly batshit crazy that it would've been easy

Also, Gomez, you seem to be conveniently forgetting that a significant portion of the American electorate is also batshit crazy; they don't believe in evolution, they do believe in the rapture, and a shocking number of them believe-- even now --that there were WMDs in Iraq. Those people are crazy and stupid, they want nothing more than to elect one of their own to high office and they're becoming more strident about that with each passing year. Barry Goldwater wouldn't stand a chance in today's Republican party specifically because he was neither crazy nor stupid enough to pass muster.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 1:30 PM

Gore couldn't carry his own state.
Gore endorsed Edwards way too early last election.
Gore conceded too early last time, then called Bush back and took back his concession, then called and conceded again, too early.
Gore gave a speech about loving tobacco and then gave a sob speech about dead sister and the evils of smoking.
Gore let his VP mansion be remodeled with old growth timber.
Gore lives in a hugely energy inefficient house and is too arogant to move to something more green even though he has enough money to do so without hardship.
Gore's book,Earth in the Balance, while accurate about environment dangers is wacky about solutions - the environmental Marshal Plan to third world countries when we're the big polluters?

The sooner this guy gets off the stage the easier it will be to get rid of the right wing nutcases now in charge.

Posted by Mikeblanco | June 5, 2007 2:08 PM

Dan, "Gore still won" is semantics. Whatever. He didn't make it into office.

Posted by Amy Jo | June 5, 2007 2:09 PM

Also, Gomez, you seem to be conveniently forgetting that a significant portion of the American electorate is also batshit crazy

Well, if you say so ::eyeroll:: You don't seem too sane yourself.

Their votes still count. Maybe we should outlaw elections if everyone is too batshit crazy to be trusted.

Posted by Gomez | June 5, 2007 2:22 PM


There are a lot of crazies in the US, I'll grant you. But Bill Clinton was able to gain clear electoral majorities not once but twice- including the second time against a reasonably sane "moderate" Republican.

He was able to do this because (1) on the one hand, he spoke to indepedents' concerns about jobs and the economy and (2) we Democrats united (the way the Republicans normally do) because an imperfect but articulate and passionate candiate.

Normally what we do is a circular firing squad to remove the articulate and passionate candidates. Not 100% on choice- OUT! Not 100% on GLBT- OUT! Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry were safe, bland, inoffensive candidates. Did any of them, while running for President, ever say one thing passionate? Gore's attempt to be passionate- the big kiss at the convention- was laughably staged.

He's *gotten* passionate since running for president, but again, he'll have to prove to me that he would run a genuinely energetic campaign before I'll get on board.

And now the circular firing squad is going after those who are not sufficiently anti-war. Clinton- like Danny S- supported the war at first. She was lied to, as we all were. And because she's not going to issue a fake, manipulative appology people are hoisting her from the yardarm. Fifteen years ago she was our darling ("Is Hilary too liberal for Bill?" was the quote at the time) but now we find a million reasons to not elect an articulate, smart woman that a plurality of Democrat-leaning voters support as our first woman President!

Posted by Big Sven | June 5, 2007 2:44 PM


Questioning your opponent’s sanity, that’s nice. Are we on Hannity and Colmes?

The irrationality, incoherence and general stupidity of the American voting public is well documented:

“…after analyzing the results of surveys conducted over time, in which people tended to give different and randomly inconsistent answers to the same questions, Converse concluded that “very substantial portions of the public” hold opinions that are essentially meaningless—off-the-top-of-the-head responses to questions they have never thought about, derived from no underlying set of principles. These people might as well base their political choices on the weather. And, in fact, many of them do.”

Posted by Original Andrew | June 5, 2007 3:13 PM

I fucking hate America. What is wrong with you all?

I'm appalled that so many of you aren't even bothered that an elected body was in place by fraud, destroying the democracy you are so keen on parroting. The democracy that the Republicans claim they want to deliver to Iraq. How can it not make you furious? It isn't a semantic argument that Gore won in 2000, it's the truth and it is so damn important that the man who rigged that election is still in power today. What the hell is wrong with all of you?

Posted by Rebecca | June 5, 2007 3:14 PM

Yeah Gomez. Just because I say so.

Their votes still count. Maybe we should outlaw elections if everyone is too batshit crazy to be trusted.

You need some help propping up that strawman there slick? I never said they shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I said they vote for their own, and who we get as president is going to reflect that.

And Big Sven, I appreciate your circumspect approach to the question of Clinton, but I disagree with your conclusions, particularly as regards my point about Republican insanity. The reason Dole didn’t get as much support as he needed from the Republican base was specifically because he was so sane. He was in the Goldwater camp of Republicans who didn’t believe religion had any place in politics, and that cost him the support of a lot of crazy-ass fundamentalist voters.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 3:21 PM

Rebecca @ 38,

The answer is shockingly simple: We put out propaganda that tells everyone the US is a liberal democracy, when in fact we’re a right wing country currently governed by our worst citizens.

From that angle it all makes sense: The militarism, the open hypocrisy, the wars, the constant flouting of international laws, norms and the diplomatic process not to mention kidnapping, torture, etc.

We also have the largest population of psychotic religious fanatics outside the Middle East, so you can see it’s not going to be ice cream and puppies over here.

There are many of us that are progressive liberals, but we’re by far the minority and really have no voice in the federal government.

Simple, right?

Posted by Original Andrew | June 5, 2007 3:27 PM


If Gore runs (and loses) again will all the retarded democrats find a way to blame it on Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign?

Just asking. I like to anticipate the next blame-game.

Posted by Real | June 5, 2007 3:35 PM

Judah, let's say I buy your argument that there's a sizable portion of the conservative voting base is bonkers. O.k., now what? Do we flee to Canada (or my fave, New Zealand)?

How do we use that fact to choose our candidate for next fall?

Posted by Big Sven | June 5, 2007 3:48 PM


Original Andrew wrote:

We put out propaganda that tells everyone the US is a liberal democracy, when in fact we’re a right wing country currently governed by our worst citizens.

From that angle it all makes sense: The militarism, the open hypocrisy, the wars, the constant flouting of international laws, norms and the diplomatic process not to mention kidnapping, torture, etc.

Take that analysis a few steps further and it gets disturbing.

Lawrence W. Britt wrote an article, "Fascism anyone?" for Free Inquiry Magazine (vol. 23, nbr. 2) that begins:

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.


For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia.


Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

The 14 characteristics of fascism that he came up with are:

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
  5. Rampant sexism.
  6. A controlled mass media.
  7. Obsession with national security.
  8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
  9. Power of corporations protected.
  10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
  12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
  14. Fraudulent elections.

Someone else took Britt's article and annotated it with specific examples of each of those characteristics found here in the United States. It's worth reading.

Posted by Phil M | June 5, 2007 4:07 PM

Sven: I’m sorry. Did I say anything about having answers? No I did not, because I have none. I mean, to use someone else’s comparison, recognizing that politics in the Middle East are dominated by crazy religious zealots doesn’t necessarily suggest a solution.

That said, I imagine that a candidate who was actually going to be effective would need to begin laying the groundwork at least 4 years out, attempting to duplicate the sea change in popular thinking about global warming-- but in this case affecting a change in popular thinking about import replacement. Most manufacture-dependent regions in the U.S. recognize the importance of local manufacturing, but a majority of American voters are nervous about it because the business sector constantly issues dire warnings about the disasters that would befall the delicate American economy if we actually adopted a responsible foreign trade policy. An effective candidate would build a coalition of business interests with a stake in domestic manufacturing and labor rights and then direct that coalition to invest in advertising and entertainment (think FOX) that would push a labor- and human-rights foreign trade policy. This would give domestic manufacturing a moral imperative while simultaneously diversifying our economy and feeding the interests of a sector of voters that’s totally underserved right now. That kind of thing would be win-win because I believe that a lot of the reason that rural populations have been so radicalized is because they’ve been getting fucked in the ass by all branches of the government since the ‘50s. Giving them some good jobs and rebuilding a market for their agricultural products would, I believe, substantially reduce the crazy factor out there in the long term. But that’s just off the top of my head. I haven’t got anything solid worked out.

I fucking hate America. What is wrong with you all?

And where are you living? I just got back from a year and a half in the UK, and I found it no better over there.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 4:09 PM

PhilM: Godwin's Law. Look it up.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 4:16 PM

Judah, my point is that we have a choice to make in the next 18 months. Bemoaning the state of democracy in America or figuring out 5 and 10 year plans is only so much crying in our beer. We have an election to plan NOW. Stop the bastards! And step #1 is finding a quarterback.

Posted by Big Sven | June 5, 2007 4:30 PM

My point is that we can't change the past. The past that allowed all kinds of bad stuff to go on to let Bush be sitting in the White House. I am absolutely horrified by what happened in 2000, but I don't know what to do about that except try to make a difference this time around. I participate in local Democratic activities and contribute to civil rights organizations to protect what we still have left. I want a candidate who can win and my other point is that yes, bad stuff happened, but Gore didn't perform well during debates because he was too timid. He didn't use Clinton and he should have, blah, blah, blah. There are better points above re: his part in his loss - it can't all be explained away by the fraud. Gore is older and has the gift of hindsight just like I do, but I need some convincing that he's the best choice. He's made an impact as a citizen. Would it be better that he remain a citizen during the next election? That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Posted by Amy Jo | June 5, 2007 4:34 PM

Judah, I never said the UK was good either. Our leadership was elected in practical terms (despite having a monarch symbolically in place. All she does it talk for 15 minutes on Christmas while I walk the dogs), which is more than you could say for America in 2000 though.

But if you want complaints about Blair, I got 'em. One place being bad doesn't mean it's okay for the other to be bad as well.

As for "no better," it's better for some groups. We have civil unions across the country, and Catholic adoption agencies are forced to accept gay parents. Our most recent leader equalised homosexual ages of consent, as well. That's one of the few things he did right, but it's something.

Posted by Rebecca | June 5, 2007 4:37 PM


Yeah, I know that one. I'm old enough to remember Usenet. I wan't making a specific coparison to Nazis or Hitler, though -- just quoting someone who mentioned them as examples of fascists. It's like if this Britt guy had made a list of men with narrow mustaches, including Hitler and Chaplin, compiled the similarities, then compared the situation here in the U.S. to that list of similarites and implied that we're becoming a nation of small-mustached-men. Or something.

Back to the point. Things aren't looking so good here, and people are too busy with their sports and celebrities and American Idol to notice. Media consolidation has ensured that the press aren't going to wake us up. I'm afraid it's going to take a major depression to snap people out of it.

Posted by Phil M | June 5, 2007 4:39 PM

Oh, and Phil M, that's fascinating. I'll be looking that up. "Goodwins" as Judah mentioned is an internet "law" that says once a comparison is made to Hitler/Nazi Germany, the argument is over and the person who didn't make the comparison won. The idea is that such a comparison is a desperate emotive tool in a debate. What Judah is missing is context - for one thing, the rule was created on journalfen and generally applies to "You stole me shoes! You Hitler!" type situations, and not where there is a legitimate, evidenced discussion of similarities put forward.

Posted by Rebecca | June 5, 2007 4:43 PM
We have an election to plan NOW. Stop the bastards! And step #1 is finding a quarterback.

Whatever, dude. The Democrats are still bastards, they're just our bastards. I'm in favor of our bastards because I see the Republican pre-emptive invasion kick as a real problem, but I have no illusions that any of these Dems is going to restore honor and integrity to my government. Any candidate I could get all fired up about would lose. So I'll take what I can get. You go ahead and get excited about it if that makes you feel better.

As for "no better," it's better for some groups. We ...(snip)... but it's something.

Whatever. Does the phrase "McLibel" mean anything to you? The fact that something like that is even possible is an artifact of British civil process. And while I congratulate you on your legitimately elected government, I have to point out that at least the dickhead who took my country to war hadn't been elected. Your guy followed my illegally appointed president to Afghanistan and Iraq with popular support. Meanwhile, I'll be sure and recommend your country's glowing civil right record to the Guildford Four. Or maybe to Jean Charles de Menezes-- next time I have a ouija board handy.

But we could trade these back and forth all day. The fact is that the citizenry of both our countries have a long history or letting horrible shit happen in plain sight. You have the luxury of hating America because you're not an American, and America currently has the power to make the biggest mistakes. I have the luxury of not caring what you think because you're British, and the only meaningful mistake your country can make anymore is legimizing an illegal war by supporting my country. Which, as it happens, is exactly what you all did. So good job there.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 5:15 PM

That wasn't a strawman, Judah. That point was made in jest in response to the obvious inferrence of your previous point:

Also, Gomez, you seem to be conveniently forgetting that a significant portion of the American electorate is also batshit crazy

Batshit crazy, as in 'can't be trusted'. You went from blaming Florida to blaming the 'batshit crazy' electorate for refusing to vote for a bad candidate and making it come down to Florida, the same electorate who decides who the president is going to be, because they didn't want to vote for some blue blood milquetoast Democrat. Uh huh.

Way to make a strawman while calling someone else's remark in jest a strawman. That was brilliant.

Posted by Gomez | June 5, 2007 8:50 PM
That point was made in jest in response to the obvious inferrence

I think the word you're looking for is "mistaken", as in "mistaken inference". I never implied it, you inferred it, and you were wrong. Moving right along--

Batshit crazy, as in 'can't be trusted'.

And there's another angle on the same strawman. I never said batshit crazy meant "can't be trusted" and even if I had-- which I didn't --what the fuck does being trustworthy have to do with being able to vote? Even liars and morons get to vote. I'm aware of that, even if you're not.

You went from blaming Florida to blaming the 'batshit crazy' electorate for refusing to vote for a bad candidate and making it come down to Florida

Gomez, there are so many unsupported assumptions and misstatements in that passage, I barely know where to begin. The Florida election was stolen. When you couldn't dispute that fact you fell back to saying that Gore sucked because he couldn't carry the rest of the country against a batshit crazy candidate; I responded by stating that Bush's particular brand of batshit crazy is an asset in right-wing American electoral politics. Both of those statements can be true at the same time. I never "went from" one position to another; I can hold both those opinions from a single position.

You know, I see you wandering around the Slog acting like you're some kind of common sense contrarian with an incisive realpolitik perspective but-- and I know you've heard this before because I've seen other people say it to you, but I'll go ahead and add my voice to the din --the real reason you rarely lose an argument is that you're evidently too stupid to follow one to its conclusion. That's unfortunate, because you clearly have the moral courage to offend people in the service of honest dialogue, and that's a useful thing in a certain kind of debater. But the evidence definitely suggests that, beyond a kind of shallow intellectual honestly, you're just an enormous dumbass.

Posted by Judah | June 5, 2007 11:15 PM

Judah is another obsessed internet nutball. That is all.

Posted by Gomez | June 6, 2007 12:13 PM

Judah, you seem to be missing the point that I hate England too. I have no patriotism, all being a citizen means is that I was born here, and nothing more. I have a critical eye for my country, and for America. I don't even know what point you're trying to make with my nationality, except perhaps that I am biased as to my own countries faults - in which case you shouldn't be commenting on America.

And disparaging the British public for voting for the man who took us to war? I believe my original comment here was my disbelief that anyone would vote for a man after knowing they rigged an election; unfortunately, the second time around Bush really did win.

Posted by Rebecca | June 6, 2007 1:25 PM

Nice writeup of the evening Dan; but maybe too nice. I am Gore's (second) biggest fan (after yourself apparently)-- Gore/Obama '08!-- but the talk was disappointing. Exhaustion, maybe, but he was rather incoherent-- lot of non sequiturs and trailing off into cliche. And there we all were waiting to love everything he said; we weren't given much opportunity.

The new book is excellent. But in person he meandered at great length through some suspect "evolution of democracy" then repeatedly stressed how free communication is the solution to US democracy's problems. I just don't believe this. Dumbasses abound communicating freely on the internet and they are not getting any closer to being the well-informed citizenry we are supposed to be in order for this democracy to make good decisions. The problem is not a lack of information, it is information overload, so that ALL of us resort to predigested versions of the truth (in whatever fields we are not professionally engaged in) that have been coopted to one cause or another. And I don't see any way around that.

Posted by Gore fan, but | June 6, 2007 11:26 PM

Anyone still reading? Think this fascism talk is hyperbole?

A reporter was arrested after the last Republican debate for asking questions Giuliani's staff didn't want to answer.

Giuliani told Peter Jennings in a live interview on September 11, 2001, that he was warned that one (or both? unclear) of the twin towers was going to collapse. He has since denied this. When a reporter asked about this after the debate, he was ejected and arrested for trespassing.

Giuliani told Jennings:

I went down to the scene and we set up, uh, headquarters at 75 Barkley Street, which was right there with the police commissioner and the fire commissioner, the head of emergency management. And we were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse.

Here's the ABC interview:

Last month, Giuliani was confronted by a young lady who said she was family of a WTC collapse victim and wanted to know why, since as he reported to Peter Jennings, he knew the towers were going to collapse, the people inside weren't notified, and who else knew about this.

Giuliani responded:

The fact is, uh, I didn't know the towers would collapse.

video of the confrontation:


Posted by Phil M | June 7, 2007 9:36 AM

After the recent Republican presidential debate, a reporter -- with press pass -- was arrested for trespassing upon demand of Giuliani's press secretary after the reporter asked about Giuliani's foreknowledge of the collapse (no answer, of course).

video of the encounter:

report at Raw Story:

Posted by Phil M | June 7, 2007 9:37 AM

Here's video of the reporter, Matt Lepacek, talking to other reporters after being arrested and released:

Note that other reporters say they were warned not to ask any more questions about 9/11.

A reporter gets ejected from a press conference and arrested because a Presidential candidate's staff doesn't want to hear questions about that candidate's publicly-admitted foreknowledge of a disaster that resulted in thousands of deaths -- foreknowledge that the candidate now denies -- and our news media are too busy covering the release of Paris Hilton to cover the story. Nice work, free press.

Posted by Phil M | June 7, 2007 3:05 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:09 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:10 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:10 PM

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