"I'm good enough. I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me." That was Al Gore, in mock (or maybe not so mock) therapy on "Saturday Night Live" with a 12-step guru played by comedian Al Franken.
Who knew then that his recaptured confidence would one day make him a network television chief wannabe. He's trying to round up rich Democrats to establish a cable television network that Time magazine describes as a "liberal alternative" to conservative talk, radio and television.
Doggonit, if people like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, why won't they like Al?
One wag suggests Al could save himself a lot of trouble by buying National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting System and changing management without having to change content. Taxpayers would continue to pay for the same old liberal point of view.
When Jay Leno heard that the former vice president wanted to match the conservatives in the media, he agreed there's no outlet for the liberal viewpoint, "except for ABC, NBC, CBS, HBO, Bravo, BET, Showtime, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, National Public Radio and IFP."
"Other than that," he said, "there's nothing."
The last time poor Al was ahead of the curve, his wife Tipper was demanding that something be done about dirty-mouth music. Al stood behind his woman until he was invited to stand behind Bill Clinton and go with him to Hollywood to pander to the fat cats who feed Democratic candidates.
He's right, as he told the New York Observer in an interview, that conservatives at The Washington Times and Fox News are getting attention, and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly attract enormous audiences. He just doesn't understand why. It's certainly not that these organs and personalities dominate the media, but they speak with voices that a lot of people have longed for a long time to hear. The liberal media grew fat, lazy and dull in the Clinton years and lost its edge just as conservatives sharpened theirs.
The liberal mindset hardened in the '60s, and the radicalized demonstrators grew up, or at least grew older, and ascended to tenured dominance on campus, influencing succeeding generations of students. Over the years, the conservatives on campus, intimidated and isolated, were reduced to writing for underground newspapers. But working harder to be heard sharpened debating and writing skills, and the young conservatives developed intellectual breadth and depth.