If the MSM actually cared about past statements by possible presidential candidates, this clip would be among the juiciest on earth. The MSM would get Al Gore on camera to explain his transformation from reasonable hawk to hard left anti-war screecher. But the MSM won’t. We will.
Let’s set the stage.
The year is 1992. Sen. Al Gore had been picked up by Gov. Bill Clinton as his running mate for the White House. The pair of Southern Democrats were up against President George H. W. Bush, who had seen his 90+% approval rating after the Gulf War plummet thanks to a souring economy and a tax increase that Bush had told us –“read my lips”– would never get past his desk. Gore had been picked to offset Clinton’s obvious bimbo weaknesses and relative inexperience in foreign policy. Clinton’s most notable achievements in that field up to that point had been decrying the Vietnam war while on British soil, making a trip to the USSR in 1969 that he never quite explained, and deploying the Arkansas National Guard to help out in local crises.
Gore, by contrast, had served in Vietnam. He was a stable family man. He was regarded as a centrist Democrat, a foreign policy expert and a Blue Dog hawk on national security. And at that time, in that campaign, he delivered the following speech to the Center for National Policy on September 29, 1992. The point of the speech was to dent Bush 41’s unrivalled foreign policy credentials by making him look weak in the face of threats. That was no small task, given that the Gulf War was just about 18 months in the past and the US was still enforcing the no-fly zones over Iraq. Bush 41 had also ordered the 1989 invasion of Panama to deal with dictator Manuel Noreiga, a successful military operation that went off almost without a hitch.
The thesis of the Gore speech: Reagan-Bush had looked the other way and let Saddam Hussein become a terroristic menace and a WMD developer. They had ignored Saddam’s many operational ties to terrorists over the years so they could maintain relations with him and offset the threat from the mullahs in Iran. Reagan-Bush and then Bush 41 on his own had shown weakness in the face of the threat from Saddam’s Iraq, a weakness that was not offset even by the 1991 Gulf War victory. Gore’s speech was intended to make an issue of Republican weakness in the face of terrorism, and in the face of Saddam’s hard and verified connections to terrorism in particular.
Just so we’re clear on this, the 1992 version of Gore accused Bush 41 of lying by minimizing the threat that Saddam posed to the US and the world. The current version of Gore accuses Bush 43 of lying by overstating the threat that Saddam posed to the US and the world. A competent MSM would ask Gore to explain why he’s such a Goldilocks on such a difficult issue, if naked politics can’t explain it.
Now some of Gore’s charges may even be true. The pre-9-11 world was very different from ours with respect to how we view countries that harbor terrorists. President Reagan had even decried Israel’s 1981 raid on the Osirak reactor. But this is Al “he played on our fearrrrs” Gore we’re talking about. This is the same man who, in February 2002, promoted a “final reckoning” with Iraq only to turn against that same reckoning on the eve of its launch. This is the same Al Gore who in 2004 intentionally conflated the abuses at Abu Ghraib with official US policy to confuse the issue and undermine the war. This is the same Al Gore who denounced US war policy in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last year. This is the same Al Gore, 1992 and 2007, only…totally different. He’s grown into his own bizarro doppelganger as political sands have shifted from Democrats positioning themselves as credible hawks to isolationist doves.
This is, in short, Al Gore: a craven opportunist who will say whatever he deems to be the most useful thing for the political moment, without regard to truth or principle or consequences, other than one — that the consequences include making Gore relevant. That’s the one principle that he obviously cares about a great deal.
(h/t Rush Limbaugh)