one of those "only in America" stories sure to moisten
every patriotic eye. A babe found wrapped
in tobacco leaves, Moses in the Tennessee bulrushes, a disadvantaged
lad if ever there was one, transformed, through will and
conviction, into one of history's great leaders. A boy who took
up arms for his country, fought
corruption as a young muckraker, studied divinity, preached
righteousness to power in the Senate, railed
against government waste as vice president, and almost won
the bully pulpit, now begins his most ambitious program of uplift
yet a televised
crusade against the demon right-wing media. This extravagant
prose surpasses my wont, brothers and sisters, but with justice!
For I present unto you the defender of misplaced faith, the
scourge of Rupert Murdoch, the Left Reverend Albert Gore.
Al is back, and more undead than ever. He's ready to deflate
Limbaugh, spin a tornado up O'Reilly's skirt, and, well, make
sure that, uh, Democrats
are heard. Which is important, because they really disagree
with the Republicans. Really. For instance, when the
president wrinkled his brow ever so slightly at Ariel Sharon's
contempt for the road map, the
Dems issued this radical critique of America's Israel policy:
darker reality is that were it not for the successful actions
Israel takes in defense of its people, terrorism against them
would increase tenfold. As Israel embarks on the difficult path
to peace, it is essential that her efforts to quell acts of
senseless terror have the full support of the United States."
Consider my paradigm shifted.
will the Gore channel look? Like the sequined vamp's dull twin
New Republic to Fox's Weekly Standard. I trust
that few of my readers follow this analogy, since your time
is far too precious to squander on The New Republic,
whose best essays exude the wit of an autopsy report. So, let
me elaborate a bit. When a "liberal" is in the White
House, The Weekly Standard supports
his every bombing campaign, but ridicules his lack of nerve.
There are never
enough casualties to please Bill Kristol. When a "conservative"
is in the White House, The New Republic supports his
every bombing campaign, but chides
him for thinking small. They ask, without a trace of sarcasm,
"Why stop at Iraq? Liberia
needs us, too!" War, war, and more war: they may hate
the sinner, but they love the sin. Thus, after running an unusually
incisive piece called "The
Selling of the Iraq War: The First Casualty," a rough
draft for a Bush impeachment, TNR's
editors rushed to assure us that the war itself was still
justified. Backpedaling from the WMD casus belli, they
invoke a moral imperative:
Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, and (unsuccessfully) Rwanda,
TNR supported military action in cases of moral emergency.
Clearly, Saddam's ongoing crimes which, we have argued
in these pages, were worse than Slobodan Milosevic's
met that standard."
course, one hears the
exact same argument from neocons, which begs a simple question.
Why is a Gore News Channel, TNR in pixels, necessary?
What will it offer that Fox does not? Certainly not a fundamental
reappraisal of U.S. foreign policy, the central issue of our
time. For one thing, the man who rode shotgun on Clinton's adventures
Yugoslavia, Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan would be foolish
to toss the term "war criminal" about casually. Brussels
might be listening. More importantly, though, the center-left
has no qualms about the mass destruction of lives and property.
They may bicker with the center-right about the girth of this
or that redwood, but both envision the same imperial forest.
don't expect much from a Gore News-Fox News dustup. Within a
month, it will degenerate into a who-loves-Israel-more contest;
the only interesting part will be betting on defectors. I pick
O'Reilly for first turncoat. His ego, not to mention his
of free enterprise and freedom
of association, makes him an ideal partner for the Internet
for a genuine alternative to Fox, even from the left, call me
Cockburn gets his own channel. Until then, I'll keep watching
beauty queens with the TV muted.