The Breakfast Table

Gore Has More Than Perfection as His Enemy

Bella Melinda,

I did enjoy the existential flair in Scajola’s non-denial denial, when he said, “I do not recognize myself” in the published quotes. What I don’t get is why the Italian press lets people off the hook so easily when they flatly deny saying things that they’ve obviously said. But I’m sure this makes government officials here the envy of politicians the world over.

I don’t know what trophies Steve Largent may have shown you, but the World Cup fallout here has been something to behold. One of my favorite stories of the last two weeks has RAI, the government-owned television network, considering a lawsuit against World Cup officials for lost advertising revenue, a direct result, naturally, of the incompetent officiating that led to Italy’s early exit from the competition. Then there was the poor South Korean player who scored the winning goal in the match that eliminated Italy. First, his regular-season team, which happened to be Perugia, said it didn’t want him back.

Later, they said it had all been a big misunderstanding. (Guess they didn’t recognize their quotes.) Last I read, he had elected, wisely, I think, to move on.

I also enjoyed the Clooney appreciations, although “Snow” was my favorite number from White Christmas, just for the sheer goofiness. Otherwise, there was this sadness about her in the film, or maybe that was just the role.

I’m afraid our friend Al Gore has more than perfection as his enemy. The story out of Memphis this weekend was painful to read. One more promise that this time we’ll see the “real” Al Gore. One more vow to let ‘er rip and give ‘em hell. If the goal is to inspire and rally his base, I’m not sure he gets there by telling them he was a stooge for his band of overpaid consultants in 2000. This whole business of vowing to tell it like it is next time has become a sorry Goreian ritual. His Memphis comments bear a dispiriting resemblance to passages in the introduction to Earth in the Balance. There he writes that he caved to his consultants in his 1988 presidential campaign and abandoned his own instincts, which were to focus on arms control and the environment. “I began to doubt my own political judgment,” he wrote, “so I began to ask the pollsters and professional politicians what they thought I ought to talk about.”

Now here’s a great ‘04 bumper sticker. “Gore: This Time, He’ll Have the Courage of His Convictions (Really).”

I agree he should run on the environment. Anxiety about global warming is only going to increase (Hollywood is even getting on board; I read in the Wall Street Journal the other day that there’s a global warming film in the works). But issue makeovers at this late date will just invite another string of snarky stories about how he’s trying to reinvent himself again.

A presto,