Friday, May 26, 2006

The New New Al Gore

Jonah Goldberg reminds us of how many times since 1987 there has been talk of the new Al Gore. Now, the myrmidons of the Huffington Post and others on the left are all excited about the thought of the newest Al Gore taking on Hillary Clinton to be the last, best hope of the Democrats in 2008. Environmentalism is supposed to be the vehicle that will transport him to the White House. Somehow, I don't think that getting the enthusiastic backing of the Daily Kos and Huffington readers is the winning ticket for defeating Hillary in the primaries.

Meanwhile, Jonah casts doubt on one Gore anecdote.
Gore told Huffington that this was his second trip to Cannes. "The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists - Sartre, Camus. ... We were not allowed to speak anything but French!" This, gushed Huffington, "may explain his pitch-perfect French accent." Perhaps. Though according to David Maraniss' biography of Gore, the former vice president's 15th summer was spent working on the family farm. Remember those stories about how Al Sr. said, "A boy could never be president if he couldn't plow with that damned hillside plow"? That was the same summer.

Apparently, Poppa Gore thought a boy who couldn't both plow a field and parlez French existentialism could never be president either. Then there's the fact that young Al got C's in French at his tony Washington high school, St. Alban's. That's some school if a kid who can intelligently discuss Sartre's "La Nausée" and Camus' "Betwixt and Between" in apparently pitch-perfect French still can't earn a B in French class. Mon dieu!

But let's be fair. Maybe he misremembered the age at which he studied existential philosophy in France (though I could find no mention of such a trip in a quick search of his biographies). Why not trust him? After all, he's not running for anything, right?
Maybe the story is true - does it make Gore more lovable to know that he rivals Kerry in speaking French and knowing the existentialist writers and is the hit of Cannes? Is that what it takes to win over a red state, the goal of any victory-seeking Democrat in 2008? I doubt it.

(Oops, I've fixed the link.)