If History Repeats Itself...

I’m sure we all remember the 2000 mess of an election where for about a month we weren’t sure who the next President was going to be; one night it was Gore, one day it was W, and so on and so fourth until the Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favor making him the next President.

(Looking back, how this nation didn’t fall into a revolution at some point is amazing. We didn’t know for a month who was going to be the next leader! Yet we all just chilled out, went to hockey games, made some money, traded some stocks, got ready for Christmas… meanwhile the future of this nation was in doubt and we were just like, ‘sure whatever’… I’m still amazed about this. It goes to show how much we didn’t (and maybe still don’t) care about politics).

The election saw the Vice President, Al Gore, against the youngish governor from Texas from a famous family; George W. Bush. The election was close and outcome to the election down to one or two states and the balance hung in the air for a few days. Eventually the Vice President concedes the election to the ‘challenger’. It played out a lot like the 1960 election, expect replace Gore with Nixon, Bush with Kennedy, Florida with Texas and Illinois… And interestingly enough, both Kennedy and Bush began their Presidencies as two huge population waves began to mature, go off to college, and eventually enter adulthood (the Baby Boomers and Gen Y or whatever they’re calling me these days). Both Presidents escaladed/entered wars that would eventually become unpopular (JFK was assassinate before this ever really effected him as a politician; Bush has been feeling the heat for almost two years now). The policy and political similarities continue (the both cut taxes!), but that’s not my point in all this…

After the defeat at Kennedy’s hands, Nixon went on to run for governor of California in 1962 losing to Pat Brown. Nixon’s political career was all but over even remarking, "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more." In two short years Nixon had lost two elections, one for the Presidency and other for the governorship of the largest state in the Union.

Nixon went to New York City, became a senior partner a law firm, Nixon Mudge Rose Guthrie & Alexander. But then a funny thing happened, in 1966 Nixon went around the country stumping for GOP canidates and rebuilding a base within the Republican party. Still I’m sure that if you had said in Feburary of 1966 that Nixon was going to be the GOP canidate for President in 1968, everyone would have thought you were crazy. But it happened, Nixon secured the 1968 Republican nomination, and of course eventually was elected to the White House.

So could Gore be the second coming of Richard Nixon? It’s not as far fletched might think. Take these few parts of the current issue of the Economist:
Mr Gore, by contrast, has morphed into a more interesting figure [compared to John Kerry]. The youngest presidential candidate from a major party since William Jennings Bryan, he has now abandoned the life of a professional politician for a portfolio career as part-time businessman and part-time tub-thumper. He calculates that he spends three-quarters of his time running his cable television project, Current TV, a sort of “Wayne's World” for the digital age. Mockers may point out that most of Mr Gore's original backers were big Democratic donors, that he had to give up his original idea of founding a liberal alternative to Fox News and that the channel now relies on help from Mr Gore's political nemesis, Rupert Murdoch. But Current TV has developed into a genuine business rather than a political front.

Gore, remember, sort of disappeared for a while after the election and came back a good 40 pounds heavier and with a beard and eventually saying he wasn’t running in 2004 (and who could blame him, I’m happy he didn’t pull the trigger or something along those lines. I can’t imgine losing an election as close as he did to a man who found “My Pet Goat” more interesting and important than the burning World Trade Center…) Then Gore jumped aboard the Current TV project (never seen it, so who knows if it’s any good). And now he’s out there actually saying something, unlike pretty much every other Democrat that’s ‘running’ for President in 2008:
Mr Gore now delivers no-holds-barred broadsides against the Bush administration for everything from Abu Ghraib to warrantless wiretaps. But the former vice-president is at his most impressive on his old passion—the environment. Wrongly or rightly, Mr Gore believes that humanity has only about a decade to fix a “planetary emergency”; and he has spent the past few years roaming the world perfecting his lecture-cum-slideshow on the dangers of global warming, much as Ronald Reagan spent the 1950s roaming America perfecting his speech on the evils of government. Mr Gore was at Sundance to promote a documentary based on his speech.

Which points to an interesting paradox: Mr Gore is generating far more political capital by breaking the political rules than he did by obeying them. Mr Kerry's Alito ploy looked brazenly political. But Mr Gore's new persona (or perhaps, more accurately, his rediscovery of his hidden self) is causing something of a buzz. The party's cash-rich Hollywood wing increasingly sees him as a liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton; and he is persuading all sorts of people to take a fresh look at Dudley Do Right. None of this means that he is a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2008. But it does mean that he is far better placed than the junior senator from Massachusetts.

Now, no one is giving him the nomination and who knows if he’ll actually run. But it’s 2006, if Gore does some stumping and the Demcrats pick up seats on the Hill (which right now looks like a lock and the momentium is starting to roll to the point that that the Dems might even take back the House if things continue as they are). Then what? Considering that it looks like Biden, Hillary, and Warner will be the ‘front runners’ for the Dems in 2008 why not Al Gore too? Nixon defeated Rockefeller and Reagan in 1968 for the GOP nod… if Al Gore keeps this up, I could see him “pulling a Nixon”? Why not?

I was watching a movie this weekend made back in 1997 where this speech was given:
Say I'm working at the NSA, and somebody puts a code on my desk, somethin' no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, cus' I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in... North Africa or the Middle East and once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels are hiding... Fifteen hundred people that I never met, never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Oh, Send in the marines to secure the area" cus' they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number got called, cus' they were off pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie over there takin' shrapnel in the ass. He comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, cus' he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so that we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the little skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, of course, maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work. He can't afford to drive, so he's walking to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks because the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he's starvin' cus' every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State.

Almost scary how ‘spot on’ this analysis is four years prior to 9/11 and nine years prior to today. Gas is two-fifty a gallon, we’re in a conflict in the Middle East, I’m sure some kid from Southie has shrapnel in his ass, and odds are that job has been shipped off to China or India.

Anyway it’s from Good Will Hunting if anyone cares. I just found it interesting.

1 comment:

Denis said...

Your blog:
"The election saw the Vice President, Al Gore, against the youngish governor from Texas from a famous family; George W. Bush."
Bush was born in '46, Gore in '48.
(of course, you quote the economist saying Gore was the youngest to get the nomination of a major party, making it all the more baffling-- that article, by the way, is hard to take seriously with its first six words: "Mr Gore, by contrast, has morphed" ...another new Al Gore? Really?? This is news???