Gore Story. (Comment)

Article excerpt

"Debacle 2002" is already in reruns but has been replaced by a new dramatic series called "Zero 4," which chronicles some familiar characters and a few new faces running for President. Despite the tired premise, the show opened with a punchy plot twist--Al Gore is running to the left. He attacks the popular President's strategy for the faltering economy, even criticizes the Bush plans for war in Iraq. Then Gore (last seen in "The Mis-Making of a President") announces he's for single-payer national health insurance--the leftish idea he and ex-Prez mentor Clinton used to scorn. What's going on here?

This time Gore promises he'll "speak from the heart and let the chips fall where they may." The mixed metaphor is unfortunate, but his story line sounds promising and adds suspense. What will the other candidates make of Al's surprising foray? Move left themselves, or attack him as a softheaded liberal (the way Gore attacked Bill Bradley back in 2000)? Do the media pick up the "new Al Gore" story line, or ridicule it? Or possibly this is actually the "old" Al Gore we used to know in his political youth and Earth in the Balance days--slightly nerdy but admirably intense, willing to champion the new, untested policy idea. Stay tuned. If Americans cared as intensely about politics as they do about TV shows, we'd have a robust democracy.

Al Gore's makeover (assuming he sustains it and does run) has a bittersweet subtext of what might have been. …