Al Gore’s Legacy

Al Gore’s decision to try to win the 2000 Presidential election in the courts after multiple recounts had confirmed President Bush’s victory in Florida continues to have baleful effects. Today Victor Yanukovich said that he would contest the result of yesterday’s election in the Ukrainian Supreme Court, notwithstanding what would appear to be a clear, eight-point victory for Yushchenko.
Al Gore’s elevation of personal interest and partisanship above the national welfare, in clear contrast to the conduct of former candidates, like Richard Nixon, who had far more legitimate grievances than Gore did, has echoes in the bare-knuckle Washington state “recount” which promises to install a Democratic governor. (Check out Sound Politics for continuing coverage of he situation in Washington.) Unfortunately, Gore’s influence is not limited to this country. The United States is widely regarded as the exemplar of democracy, and the conduct that Gore legitimized here will inevitably be seen by many politicians in other countries as legitimate.
In the end, notwithstanding a fairly long career in public life, the only thing that Al Gore will be remembered for is his abuse of the judicial system to try to reverse the result of the 2000 election.
DEACON adds: Well, that and inventing the internet.
UPDATE (by Deacon): This blogger took exception to Rocket Man’s claim that Gore won’t be remembered for anything other than challenging the 2000 election. He referred his readers here to learn about Gore’s other accomplishments. But the bio in question confirms Rocket Man’s judgment, devoting more time to trying to explain away Gore’s rather poor academic performance than to his legislative accomplishments. Indeed, no such accomplishments are listed, unless one counts his proposed legislation to fund a federal research center on educational computing. The bio does cobble together a list of Gore’s “accomplishments” as Vice President, but the list consists almost entirely of things that Clinton did (or takes credit for doing — low unemployment rates, etc.)
There is one important exception. Gore deserves great credit for crushing Ross Perot in their debate on NAFTA (and on free trade generally back in 1993). Rocket Man is still correct, however — few will remember Gore’s victory in this debate, in part because his well-modulated and economically sound presentation is so inconsistent with his current persona as a ranting would-be populist.


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