Al Gore claims the Bush administration is not helping
November 10, 2003 2:49 AM   Subscribe

Al Gore claims the Bush administration is not helping America, but hurting it by focusing on all the wrong things. Gore:The administration is still not investing in local government training and infrastructures where they could make the biggest difference. The first responder community is still being shortchanged. In many cases, fire and police still don’t have the communications equipment to talk to each other. The CDC and local hospitals are still nowhere close to being ready for a biological weapons attack. The administration has still failed to address the fundamental disorganization and rivalries of our law enforcement, intelligence and investigative agencies. In particular, the critical FBI-CIA coordination, while finally improved at the top, still remains dysfunctional in the trenches. The constant violations of civil liberties promote the false impression that these violations are necessary in order to take every precaution against another terrorist attack. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of the violations have not benefited our security at all; to the contrary, they hurt our security.
posted by skallas (29 comments total)
But the simple truth is that the vast majority of the violations have not benefited our security at all; to the contrary, they hurt our security.

Oh... I still don't get it.
posted by Witty at 4:17 AM on November 10, 2003

posted by quonsar at 4:35 AM on November 10, 2003

Oh... I still don't get it.

Clean up on aisle 9! Someone spilled the kibbles!
posted by nofundy at 4:56 AM on November 10, 2003

i love you al gore.
posted by c at 6:07 AM on November 10, 2003

posted by kablam at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2003

posted by Durwood at 6:31 AM on November 10, 2003

have you guys formed a union or something? hey hey! ho ho! hijack this thread it's got to go!
posted by mcsweetie at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2003

So this Al Gore; it vibrates?

Hey way to go Al, now that you aren't running for office you can be a big man. Where were your balls during the last election? Your crappy watered down campaign is the reason we have Bush in the White House. Lock box indeed.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:30 AM on November 10, 2003

posted by clavdivs at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2003

I just love how the rightwingers have to post rubbish to this thread. No indication of whether they have actually read the link at all. No refutation of the facts.

Come on now, you can do better. Show us how America is safer and more secure in return for civil liberties being trampled upon. You're losing the argument and all you can do is put your fingers in your ears and shout "NAH NAH NAH I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!" We (and Metafilter) deserve better.
posted by salmacis at 8:44 AM on November 10, 2003

This is an excellent speech. I'm glad that Al is still in there trying to do some good even though he lost the election. Thanks, skallas.
posted by orange swan at 9:01 AM on November 10, 2003

Gore can do more good for the party not running. He can be critical in a way that whoever gets the Democratic nomination won't be able to be. Algore speaks the truth. Good post.
posted by GiantRobot at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2003

Yes, GiantRobot, and besides not having to worry about losing votes, Gore also has visibility and name recognition. He's in a position to have some serious influence.
posted by orange swan at 9:25 AM on November 10, 2003

Gore can do more good for the party not running

I don't know, if Gore's trying to pull a Nixon and lay low for a while, waiting to be drafted next time simply because there's nobody else around (Hillary in 2008 is, simply, a Republican wet dream highly unlikely to happen in RL) this kind of thing probably makes sense. Nixon in '68 cunningly waited for the Romney campaign to collapse and there he was, tanned rested and ready (of course RFK's assassination gave him a huge hand, but let's not nitpick)

If I were Gore I'd be so tempted to run again -- and especially if Dean is nominated and gets badly beaten in '04, the "Draft Gore in '08" movement (the DLC's sweet revenge) could gain a lot of momentum -- there's not many Democrats who actually have the stature for the job, as the current Democratic Primary sadly demonstrates.

the speech linked is quite good, as most of the post-2000 Gore stuff. I was present at an early 2001 (ie before 9-11) Gore seminar on foreign policy and I have to say I was quite impressed by his performace and his knowledge of the issues even during the Q&A session. he also came across as less wooden than I'd expect based on his terrible 2000 campaign. right now, who knows what'll happen in 2008. but if I were him, I'd pray that Dean gets beaten in a landslide. Hillary's off-the-chart negatives will do the rest.
posted by matteo at 9:46 AM on November 10, 2003

Gore has serious name recognition, and, as much as anyone wants to bash him, did get the majority of the popular vote last election. And when you look at the people who did vote for him, do you see a large number of them going, "Gee, Bush has done a wonderful job. I made a mistake, I'm voting Republican this election." If he was running he couldn't say the stuff he said in that speech, and hopefully, will continue to say throught the campaign.
posted by GiantRobot at 10:06 AM on November 10, 2003

I agree with everything Al said (well, except for "So a constitutional right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness" since there is no constitutional right to pursuit of happiness) but I just think it's sad that politicians like him have the impression that it's ok to talk like this since he isn't running for office, but was not ok to do so when he was running and being oh so careful and wooden. His speech should have ended, "and so, that is why I am going into exile on a tiny island near the North Pole; because I opened the door to all this crap. I am deeply sorry."
posted by Outlawyr at 10:07 AM on November 10, 2003

Outlawyr: Such is the way of national politics, in a nation as large as the U.S. The size of the constituency you have to secure is so great that any message you might have had has to be watered waaay down to keep from alienating large sections of the population. Or that's the theory anyway. If everyone agrees to run on the politics of their locality, instead of trying to be a broader American representative, then you end up with, say, some Little Rock hick trying to run the country the way Little Rock should be run. The way around this is to either a) dilute your message to the point of having no message at all, or b) try to find a rational way to keep the national government running as a specific locality. I think Clinton tended towards the latter, while Bush and Gore in '00 tended heavily towards the former. In the four years since, the US has formed up into two seperate, opposing constituencies with a very narrow middle ground. It's starting to look like the message dilution method of winning the presidency isn't going to work this time around, and the option becomes whether you should try to play to one of the sides of the battle and try to win people over from the other, or strike out on your own and try to show people that this oppositional system is essentially broken from the get-go. The two-party system being what it is, I doubt we'll be seeing much of the latter.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2003

Show us how America is safer and more secure in return for civil liberties being trampled upon.

Show us how that we're not. I didn't make the claim, Gore did, and you agree with him. The burden is on you. The fact of the matter is, there's no way to prove it either way. It's very easy to sit back and claim that we're less safe at the expense of our civil liberties, than we were before the PATRIOT act (for example). All one has to do is make the claim and wait... wait.... wait... and wait for inevitable follow up terrorist attack. It's going to happen, every one knows it. Gore is looking for the day to be able to say, "I told ya so". We're a target... and we'll get hit again. It doesn't take a Nostradamus to figure that out.
posted by Witty at 12:36 PM on November 10, 2003

he also came across as less wooden than I'd expect based on his terrible 2000 campaign.

Then again, so does the pencil on my desk.
posted by jonmc at 12:51 PM on November 10, 2003

Outlawyr: "I agree with everything Al said (well, except for "So a constitutional right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness" since there is no constitutional right to pursuit of happiness)..."

I had the following conversation recently. My memory has done some selective editing for purposes of brevity and clarity.

Liberal Me: "What freaks me out about you is that you don't believe in inalienable rights of life, liberty and happy pursuits."
A Conservative Friend o mine: "What freaks me out is that you do. This illusion of yours about inalienable rights is something invented by Man - not God."
Me: "What's God got to do with it? Tommy Jefferson just described inalienable rights in the Constitution - he didn't invent them - it was already there."
Him: "That was the Declaration of Independence."
Silence. I had to grant him that one.
Him: "There's no constitutional provision for pursuit of happiness."
Me: "There doesn't have to be. It's inalienable."
Him: "Prove it."
Me: "I don't have to prove it! It's inalienable!"
Him: "So you've got this blind faith that something's inalienable?"
Me: "Alright smarty pants. Prove to me there's a God."


Alright then. No need for a constitutional provision to inalienable rights. Tommy hath spoken.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:00 PM on November 10, 2003

Where were your balls during the last election?

I whole-heartedly agree, but it's still nice that somebody's saying what needs to be said. I particularly liked the part where he urged the repeal of the Patriot Act.

The only problem I kept thinking in my head was, "I'm watching this on C-SPAN. Not Fox, or NBC. C-SPAN. Nobody watches C-SPAN except liberals with cable." Basically, the only people who watched (stumbled) across the speech were people that already agreed with it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:01 PM on November 10, 2003

Basically, the only people who watched (stumbled) across the speech were people that already agreed with it.

Whoa! Excellent point! My day is shot now, thank you.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:44 PM on November 10, 2003

Thanks Skallas. This speech is a great compendium of arguments to present to anyone who "doesn't get it."
So many clear, factual, indictments . . . that can't easily be dismissed . . . missed? yes . . . but dismissed? I don't think so!
Where are the right wingers who would come to the Resident's defense in this thread?
posted by ahimsakid at 1:57 PM on November 10, 2003

The burden is on you.

Uh, no, it's not, especially when it comes to rights...although one can certainly imagine citizens under Saddam Hussein complaining about civil rights being taken away, and the Witty's of ruling-class Iraq tut-tutting "Prove that our measures are not for your own good."

And of course, the front page post shows Gore laid out the reasons he thinks the U.S. is being led down the wrong path, and as noted, the right wingers in the thread merely keep representing their political philosophy by bravely ducking those points.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:40 PM on November 10, 2003

ZachsMind: I'm a bleeding heart lefty liberal, and I don't believe human rights are inalienable. They're aliened (whatever that means) all the time, in myriad ways. But I believe that everyone SHOULD have those rights, and the point of society is to provide and enforce them.

Liberalism Resurgent - Myth: Rights are natural, inalienable, God-given and self-evident
posted by wilberforce at 4:35 PM on November 10, 2003

f&m: I'm sorry that we disagree. But the fact is, this post is a about a speech made by Gore... which has been followed by a number of people supporting his views. Salmacis tells me (as a suspected "right-winger") that I need to accept or disprove what Gore says in regards to national security. I don't think so. The accuser needs to prove his case. Since Gore isn't a member here (as far as I know), you'll need to do it for him. Just saying it doesn't make it true.

But I'm afraid that proving Gore's case isn't going to be very easy, nor would it be for me to prove otherwise. We'll never know of ALL of the thwarted attempts at terroristic shenanigans. We'll never really know if they would have been sniffed out anyway without the PATRIOT Act. But when one does "get through", which it will, I still won't be convinced that it's an indictment of the tightening on our civil liberties.

I don't see how one could prove that we are LESS secure now, than we were before, regardless of political stance or ideology. How can it be proven without an disastrous event to point to? It's going to happen anyway, PATRIOT Act or not... so what does that prove?
posted by Witty at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2003

They are by default inalienable. Meaning that they can't be transferred. Someone can try to take your freedom, but they don't get freedom in return. They just get more fear. Cuz now they have to fear you'll retaliate (whether you would or not) and they have to fear they'll lose their freedoms, when in fact they denied their own freedom by trying to force a loss of freedom on others.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:01 PM on November 10, 2003

Witty: Proofs are only absolute within mathematics and possibly analytic philosophy. In all other fields (including science and law), something that is "proved" is merely that which has the best evidence supporting the premise. If you have a notion of "proof" beyond making arguments and citing evidence to support those arguments, I'd like to hear what it is that you're looking for, especially when it comes to "proving" hypotheticals like "We would have caught fewer terrorists if the government didn't have the powers of the Patriot Act".

Gore has made arguments and cited evidence in a way that any competant high school student assigned to parse his speech would be able to readily identify. For example, he argues that the Patriot Act unnecessarily adds more data to what the government is already able to collect when in fact it is timely analysis that is the problem, and cites the numerous examples from the Merkle foundation analysis as well as an additional intelligence source ("We’re looking for a needle in a haystack here and he (Ashcroft) is just piling on more hay.") to support his argument. This also correlates with the many recent examples of those in the intelligence community airing dissatisfaction or outright hostility toward the administration for misusing intelligence for political gain. Gore asserts that the Patriot Act does nothing to solve our problem of improving our use of existing intelligence information, and instead has granted the government broad, sweeping, and unconstitutional powers which is being abused by the current administration. Would you like to debunk or refute this argument and its supporting evidence, or continue to make rhetorical gestures about "proofs"?

Gore has made many other cogent points in his speech, such as how this administration's actions have run afoul of our constitutional mandates on the limits of executive authority, or how critical and vulnerable domestic infrastructures have gone ignored during the administration's sabotaging of civil liberties and war-making. If Gore is truly, utterly wrong, he's set himself up a lot of nice fat targets to shoot down. Please, give it your best shot. Some of us sitting in the wings do like to see arguments and evidence from the conservative side, instead of just rhetoric.
posted by DaShiv at 1:25 AM on November 11, 2003

Hey, dong resin interviewed the Patriot Act! I wish he'd asked him about the strippers.
posted by homunculus at 1:29 AM on November 11, 2003

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