I read recently somewhere how he’s still complaining about the media focusing on his theatrical sighing during his first debate with Bush in 2000 instead of their respective stances on the issues. How could they not, though? The guy exudes condescension and always has; it’s the big smelly elephant in the room no matter what room he’s in. It’s his defining character trait.
Looks like he’s finally decided to own it.
“It may be easier to fix it from the outside,” he said. “Again, I haven’t ruled out for all time thinking about politics again. It’s just that the way it works now, I don’t think that the skills I have are the ones that are most likely to be rewarded within this system. It’s like a washing machine that is permanently set on the spin cycle. It doesn’t stop spinning. That creates real problems for a politics based on reason.”
Friends have urged him to run for president again, but he wants to see a “transformation of this conversation of democracy” that de-emphasizes imagery and spin-doctoring.
“I expect it will take a lot more time,” Gore said. “I’m grateful for those who have a good opinion of me, to the point where they think I ought to run again, but I am not convinced myself that’s the best way for me to serve.”
Despite what he sees as problems in the political process, Gore said he still respects the system and the influence of the presidency. While he won’t completely dismiss a 2008 run, he doesn’t expect to re-enter politics “because I don’t think I’m very good at some of the things that the modern political system rewards and requires, and I’ve found other ways to make a difference and to serve the public interests. And I’m enjoying them.”
In other words, he’s still the same smug, preening douche he always was, but that’s only because he’s so reasonable and ahead of his time. And so it follows that anyone who votes for him is voting symbolically to replace our benighted style-over-substance ethic with a new golden age of rule by philosopher kings. That’s why Alterman likes him so much in a campaign against Fred! and his beat-up ol’ pick-up truck. It makes the substance versus style meme that much more potent for liberals and left-leaning independents, whose belief in their own enlightenment is their defining character trait.
Exit question: If our system values style to the exclusion of all else, how is it that the charisma sinkhole known as Hillary Clinton is way out in front in the Democratic polls?