Share

Opinion: Columnists

Noemie Emery: What if Al Gore had won?

By |

It started with reports that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Connor had second thoughts on the court's decision to rule on the issue of George W. Bush v. Albert G. Gore, followed by dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Texas.

Together, those events brought on a flutter of Gore nostalgia, a longing of sorts for his alternative presidency; the dream one that never took place.

Since 2001 it had been the destination of choice in liberal fantasies, wherein Saddam Hussein was contained without bluster or bloodshed, terrorist attacks were derailed without Gitmo or "torture," science was served with no mention of stem cells, and Earth, once more in the balance, had cooled.

No one can prove these would not have happened, but certain events make it seem unlikely. If we look at Gore's life since the decision, the record appears rather mixed.

Gore's first move after he lost was to gain weight, grow a beard and sink out of sight for months altogether, wearing dark glasses and a cap pulled down low on his eyes.

Returning, he introduced himself as "I used to be the next president." As titular head of his party entering the 2004 presidential campaign, he endorsed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the most unhinged of the Democrats, at the height of Dean's fortunes, which quickly deflated.

"In an angry, sweaty shout, that recalled the second coming of Huey Long" (as a story on Slate described it), Gore compared Bush to Richard Nixon in Watergate, screaming "He betrayed this country! He played on our fears!"

He won the Nobel Peace Prize for not being Bush (akin to the reasons that netted the same prize for Obama and Carter), and gave many speeches about global warming (sometimes delivered in the middle of blizzards) marred by the fact that he himself had a carbon footprint the size of Lake Erie, with the power bills for his boat and his many large houses being 12 times those of the average citizen.

There was also the contretemps with the masseuse in Seattle, the news of which followed by several weeks the announcement that he and his wife had decided to separate. And then he sold Current TV.

Gore started Current TV in 2002 to counter Fox News, spread the liberal cause and push his crusade to end global warming. So, of course, he sold it 10 years later to Al Jazeera, the Muslim news outlet based in Qatar, home of the world's greatest fossil fuel mogul. Gore did so, he said, to "speak truth to power, encourage diversity, and give voice to those who are not typically heard."

One could say Gore ran Current into the ground, but it never got off it, as he misread the market for more than one left-wing channel and his talking-head lineup of failed and disgraced liberal governors failed to draw viewers in sufficient numbers.

He had a channel that nobody watched: Qatar wanted his spot on the cable-show lineup and his channel in order to kill it, and the bargain was struck. The man who could have been president on Sept. 11, 2001, gave the Muslim world access to 40 million American voters and helped those whose fossil fuels he believes are killing the planet.

On the other hand, he made off with a cool $100 million, some of the taxes on which (the Bush tax cuts, which expired at the end of December) he tried his best not to pay.

Did the Supreme Court of the United States do the right thing when it stopped the Supreme Court of Florida from making Gore president? Gore might have run the country with the distinction and brilliance his allies see in him.

Or, he might have run it like Current TV.

Washington Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Noemie Emery

Columnist
The Washington Examiner