In the most recent issue of Vanity Fair, there is an article that touches on the unfair treatment Al Gore received from the media wayyy back in 2000 in his campaign against then-just-a-Presidential-candidate George W. Bush. The article sheds light on the fact that so-called serial exaggerator Al Gore was in fact a product of serial exaggerations by beat reporters. Gore’s claim to have taken leadership in creating the internet was corroborated by Newt Gingrich of all people, and later morphed into an alleged quote that he ‘invented the internet.’
Same goes for the Love Canal flop. At Concord High in 1999, while trying to impress the likes of students such as Angus Fredenburg, Gore told the story of learning about a superfund site in New York, Love Canal, and holding hearings on it in Tennessee that became the first of what would become a major environmental landmark case. Lazy reporters, at the ready to smear Our Man Al, took him out of context and purely misquoted him as saying that he “discovered Love Canal” and “I was the one that started it all". The list goes on for pages and pages.
True to the game, George Bush was all but given a free pass due to his apparent polarity to Gore. Where Gore was arrogant Bush was folksy. Where Gore was eager, Bush was cool. As the piece states, some of this blame lies with Gore’s media team for failing to define him. Bush was the Compassionate Conservative and ’nuff said.
But Gore never had a sticky slogan, and efforts by his opponents, quite talented at branding, to define him worked like a charm. MSM pundits and reporters, looking for an angle (if not a punching bag), and buying the faulty product coming out of the brains of Karl Rove and Matthew Dowd, found one easily. Well, caveat emptor.
I have heard a number of journalists this time around talk about how they regretted their failure to see Bush for what he was back in 2000 - a scoundrel. As well they should. Anyone who couldn’t see through George W. from the get-go, back when he was getting outclassed by John McCain and the Straight Talk Express back in 1999, and wasn’t disgusted by the South Carolina debacles of mixed-race babies and Bob Jones University deserved a government-subsidized Lasik treatment, or at least a leach to the nuts. Now that is health care reform that I can support.
Which brings me to a concept that has been bubbling up more and more lately in the chattering classes: Impeachment.
Folks like Dennis Kucinich and a number of grassroots activists have begun calls for impeachment of either Cheney (in the case of Dennis) or Bush (in the case of John Conyers, bloggers, and interstate sign-hangers) mostly for their deceit in the run-up to the war in Iraq. WMDs, 9/11 connections, and all the other falsehoods that stood as the paper tigers that scared America into this war, were evidently just that from the beginning.
I believe it was President Bush himself who said back in 2002, “There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” The actual saying goes like this, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
It is a wise nugget of truth, and I hereby submit it as my own reasoning for why impeachment is not justified. If memory serves me, George Bush has managed to fool America and/or it’s representative congress three times now. By my reckoning, that stands as a big fat Shame on Me, not a shame on you,.
Even if you cede the pre-election sham as a mulligan, the fact remains that our congress was fooled into the Iraq War by the Greatest Story Ever Sold. Sure, the Bush Administration was deceitful, but they sure as hell didn’t fool everyone. Plenty of us opposed the war from the start, not to mention Al Gore. I see it as more of a political victory than a lie. Well, on second thought it is still a lie, but whatever. Given the 23 Senators who opposed, I place a lot of the blame on the rest of the schmucks. But, keeping with the theme, the Iraq war stands as a Shame on You moment for George Bush.
Now here is the clincher, the Shame on Me moment for America was the 2004 election. Peep the time frame - UN speech, beginning or Iraq War, Authorization vote, all of these events happened well before November 2, 2004. By that time, even if it wasn’t as crystal clear as it is today, it was clear enough. Bush was a crook. And what did we do? We re-elected him. Has he improved since ‘04? No. But has he done anything impeachment-worthy since then? No.
As far as I can tell we as Americans had our chance to remove Bush from office. It was a pretty clear choice. Now, if you are one of the 30% of the people who agree with Bush’s world view, I’ll let you off the hook. You’re ready and willing to take the country to Iraq and beyond, on the Fed’s credit card, and so be it. I am not one to tell you that your long term vision is wrong. For all I know you could be our saviors. But for the 20% of people who voted for Bush in either 2000 or 2004, and don’t support him now, you are the reason it is a shame on us. For the 50% of us who stood complacently while the war happened without major protest and full-fledged congressional overhaul, we are the reason it is shame on us. No one bears the entire burden (well, maybe the “swing voters” who chose Bush in 2004) but we are one America, and we take it as it comes whether it is a budget surplus or a class 5 hurricane. And We are why George Bush should not be impeached for offenses committed between 2002 and 2004.
Now if we can only get Al Gore to run again.