Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gore's Call for a More Active Democracy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gore's Call for a More Active Democracy

Article excerpt

After he won the popular election but lost the presidency in a fog of disputed vote counts in 2000, Al Gore seemed to be the model good loser.

He didn't claim (as many of his supporters did) that the election had been stolen by corrupt voting officials or by Republican- appointed Supreme Court justices who blocked a vote recount in Florida. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, Mr. Gore told a Democratic state convention, "George W. Bush is my president, and I will follow him, as will we all, in this time of crisis."

But that was before Gore came to believe - as have many Americans - that the war in Iraq had been launched under weak (or false) premises without adequate understanding of that country's history or culture, then conducted incompetently; that Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were failing to adequately address growing public concern over greenhouse gases and climate change; and that the growth of government secrecy constituted an unprecedented invasion of privacy.

The Assault on Reason reflects Gore's growing frustration at the way things have turned out for this country over the past six years. It burns with a pent-up rage that could be seen as highly personal.

Regarding the Iraq war, he writes of Bush: "He waged the politics of blind faith. He used a counterfeit combination of misdirected vengeance and misguided dogma to dominate the national discussion, bypass reason, silence dissent, and intimidate those who question his logic both inside and outside the administration."

On energy policy and global warming, he says, "Indeed, it seems at times as if the Bush-Cheney administration is wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility, and mining companies."

This is tough stuff, and it could be dismissed as the bitterness of a man who lost the presidency to a political rival for whom he apparently has little respect.

But drawing on the sweep of history, his expertise in national security policy (as a congressman and senator he was an early advocate of military reform), and the facts of science and technology, Gore builds his case steadily and thoroughly.

He can (and frequently has) come across as the smartest guy in the room - which many people don't see as a compliment. …

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