Thomas Sowell

Effrontery is how. Chutzpah is how. Contempt for the public's intelligence is how. Gore's style is different from Clinton's but the substance is not. Square-jawed lies, told with Boy Scout innocence, are still lies.

Gore's ability to deny documented facts with brazen indignation goes far beyond his violations of campaign finance laws. He has categorically denied flip-flopping on issues ranging from gun control to abortion, even though his votes in Congress are part of the permanent official record.

As a Congressman from a conservative state, Gore voted against gun control laws -- again and again and year after year. But, after he moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate and now had national political ambitions, he began to vote in favor of gun control laws, knowing that he now had to appeal to liberal Democrats around the country in order to seek national office.

It was the same story on abortion. His votes and public statements in the House of Representatives were pro-life. Then, later, in the Senate, his votes and statements were pro-choice.

Gore is a chameleon. When he spoke in Harlem, he adopted the very style and cadence of a baptist minister. He sounded like a white Jesse Jackson. But he doesn't talk that way to white audiences in Hollywood or in Silicon Valley.

Nor can Gore or his supporters fall back on the claim that "everybody" does it. Neither Franklin D. Roosevelt nor Ronald Reagan ever sounded like anybody but FDR or Ronald Reagan.

Now we can see why Governor George W. Bush wanted a different debate format, with a more aggressive moderator like Larry King or Tim Russert to reign in Gore's time and Gore's lies. We can only hope that the public sees through Gore's tactics and realizes that they are getting a glimpse of the unscrupulous man that he is.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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