No Associated Press content was harmed in the writing of this post
I’m on semi-vacation this week, so here’s a semi-post.
The worst case is not leaking until Christmas. The worst case is leaking until all the oil is gone. We ought to make that our default assumption and only adjust it in the face of substantial, verifiable evidence. BP is outright lying to us, the federal government is being selective with the truth it is willing to release, and so far all the optimistic scenarios spun for our benefit (and constructed with the intent of playing to our desperate desire for any scrap of good news) have been complete failures.
Once again: Oil from that well may continue to gush into the Gulf until there is nothing left in it. Prepare yourself.
Bloomberg: “Inflation is almost non-existent.” So: Mark Sanford is a dumbass, George Melloan is a dumbass, Bonnie Erbe is a dumbass, Ron Paul is a dumbass, Dick Morris is well on his way to being a dumbass and Dunstan Prial will be a dumbass. Now how about another stimulus bill to address unemployment, or would you rather seem so out of touch that the voters hand the reins over to the teabaggers in November?
Al Gore has been in the news because of his impending divorce from Tipper, and I’ve seen some commentary about their contrived-looking kiss after Gore’s 2000 convention speech. It certainly looked staged, but I remember it merely being of a piece with what went before it:
Big tobacco, big oil, the big polluters, the pharmaceutical companies, the HMO’s. Sometimes you have to be willing to stand up and say no - so families can have a better life.The presidency he was a part of - with NAFTA, WTO, welfare reform and so on - was not exactly an unqualified success for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Overall the economy was good, but even then there was a sense that the new jobs being created were either highly skilled positions that could not be learned on the job or near-minimum wage service positions. It was not a great time for unions, for the manufacturing base or generally for higher paying blue collar jobs. (The sense of trading down economically was reinforced in a cartoon that had someone watching a news report saying “Clinton has created 11 million new jobs” and responding “yeah - and I have two of them.”)
I know one thing about the job of the President. It is the only job in the Constitution that is charged with the responsibility of fighting for all the people. Not just the people of one state, or one district; not just the wealthy or the powerful — all the people. Especially those who need a voice; those who need a champion; those who need to be lifted up, so they are never left behind.
So I say to you tonight: if you entrust me with the Presidency, I will fight for you.
You could argue that a Democratic president in a period of conservative ascendance could only do so much, and having a Republican Congress for six of the eight years further restricted the options. Fine, fair enough. But then don’t come storming out of the blue with this fiery Working Man rhetoric. Sure the kiss looked bad, but it was just the last item in a list of things that came across as completely phony. Gore was a terrible campaigner because he never connected his lofty claims with anything he had been a part of, nor did he try to separate himself from Clinton in those areas (though as the kiss showed he subtly but firmly was trying to separate himself on moral issues). And I was a supporter, dammit - if it looked that bad to someone who voted for him imagine how it might have looked to an undecided!
Yes, he would have been an incomparably better president than George W. Bush, yes he won the popular vote, and yes it was only some fairly ugly politicking by Bush’s supporters and the Supreme Court (which included five of the former) that denied Gore the presidency. Still, he was not an effective campaigner because he never let you know what exactly he planned to do to fight the pharmaceutical companies or to speak for those who need a champion. There is a certain kind of vague populism that Democrats in particular succumb to when they don’t want to be on the hook for anything but want voters to think the right things. Gore engaged in that in 2000, and he might not have had to worry about hanging chads, earth tones or the Brooks Brothers riot if he hadn’t.