John Leo
1. Last week Al Gore, father of the Internet, revealed that he was in on the establishment of the strategic petroleum reserve. What else did he help create?

  • the Strategic Air Command.

  • Hubert Humphrey's 1968 acceptance speech.

  • the Olympics.

  • hip-hop culture.

  • six of the Ten Commandments, maybe seven.

  • the No. 1 hit song, "Look for the Union Label."

    2. Speaking of "Look for the Union Label," Al Gore says he recalls his mother singing him to sleep with that song, though it was not written until Gore was 27. Explain.

  • Union ditties are so catchy that many Democratic politicians can recall loving them before they were written, particularly in election years.

  • If some 27-year-olds still need lullabies, who are we to judge?

  • It was a simple mistake. His mother actually sang him a quite similar song by Britney Spears.

    3. Gore said that in Vietnam "I carried an M-16 ... I pulled my turn on the perimeter at night and walked through the elephant grass, and I was fired on," and "I was shot at ... I spent most of my time in the field."

    Gore served five months in Vietnam as a visiting military journalist, earning special protection as the son of a famous senator. He pulled occasional guard duty at a secure base. His best Army buddy said this was "the equivalent of being a school-crossing guard." Nobody seems to remember Gore being fired on. What can we conclude from this?

  • School-crossing guards lead dangerous lives.

  • A gun must have gone off in a Saigon hotel bar. While attempting to flee, Gore probably stepped into a container of elephant grass.

  • Republicans will stop at nothing in their despicable attempts to smear a genuine fighting hero.

    4. Al Gore gave Hollywood's moguls six months to stop marketing violent junk to kids, or else. This indicates:

  • A strong stand by a principled candidate.

  • One of his aides, shuffling some papers before Gore's speech, accidentally inserted an old op-ed piece by Joe Lieberman, which was on its way to the shredder.

  • Triangulation time. Two more big Hollywood fund-raisers were coming up.

    5. Gore said his mother-in-law pays nearly three times as much for the same arthritis medicine as he does for his ailing dog, Shiloh. But his staff could not confirm the tale. What's the story here?

  • Faulty memory.

  • Hey, nobody complained when Reagan quoted the last words of World War II pilots who crashed into the sea before they could be interviewed for presidential anecdotes. Why are we picking on Al and his dog?

    6. In 1999, Gore said he had co-sponsored the McCain-Feingold bill to reform campaign financing. Yet Gore left Congress before Russell Feingold ever arrived. Explain.

  • Faulty memory.

  • See lullaby options (above).

  • It's not Al's fault that McCain and Feingold thought up the bill after Al had already co-sponsored it.

    7. Gore says he was "always, always, always" a backer of abortion and Roe vs. Wade. Yet 11 years after the Roe decision, he wrote to an anti-abortion constituent: "I share your belief that innocent human life must be protected, and I have an open mind on how to further this goal." Isn't there a contradiction here?

  • What constituent? What letter?

  • Why are you trying to make it look as though Gore flip-flopped to please the abortion lobby, as did Jesse Jackson, Richard Gephardt and Bill Clinton?

  • Why can't we have a positive campaign, instead of quoting from old mail?

    8. Campaigning in Iowa, Gore depicted himself as Farmer Al. "I lived on a farm," he said. "(My father) taught me how to clean out hog waste ... He taught me how to clear land with a double-bladed ax ... He taught me how to take up hay all day long in the hot sun and then, after a dinner break, go over and help the neighbors take up hay before the rain came and spoiled it on the ground." Didn't Gore grow up in Washington, living in the Fairfax Hotel and going to a fancy private school, then Harvard? Explain.

  • Gore did not mean to imply that he grew up on a farm in Washington. There are no farms in D.C.

  • Maybe he vacations on his family's farm now and then.

  • Commuting from the Fairfax to a Tennessee farm isn't easy. It takes a lot of commitment. You have to work with the hogs all morning, attend school in D.C. in the afternoon, then go all the way back to the farm again before the hay spoils. Then there's the tobacco crop to worry about. Nothing but headaches. Maybe he should give up the rustic life.


  • John Leo

    John Leo is editor of MindingTheCampus.com and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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