Sunday, January 29, 2006

Al, Where Have You Gone?

I miss Al Gore. There, I’ve said it.

For those of you that know my political leanings that may seem to be a shocking statement. As a self professed, Jimmy Carter hating, Ronald Reagan loving, teach you how to fish, Skeptical Environmentalist, Neo-Con how in the world could I claim to miss Al Gore?

It’s easy really, allow me to explain.

While I’ve never really agreed with Al on anything politically, he always seemed like a pleasant enough fellow. This is important to me because as a voter I never expect to know a candidate completely, but if he seems like a good person I’ll give him a fair hearing. So although I never bought into the “new Democrat” bit that he was hawking back in the ’88 race, I at least checked him out because Bush I was not a fave of mine and I was hoping to find a better candidate. Minimal investigation into Al’s political positions revealed that I could never vote for the man to be president.

Still, he seemed like a good and decent fellow. Then, of course, there was Tipper. Oh yes, a bit of a hottie that one. Not necessarily in the Girls Gone Wild sort of way, but more in the “yes Mrs. Gore, I sure would like some of that cool tea when I’m done mowing your lawn” sort of way. True, Tipper was a little plump; her sorority girl beauty while still intact was perhaps a little more round and fleshy than back during the Chi Omega days. Still, that was ok as I find nothing wrong with a little cushion on an attractive older woman and Tipper was still quite attractive.

In my mind, Al and Tipper would have been great neighbors; I could picture it clearly. They would have one of the bigger houses on the block and every summer, perhaps even a couple times each summer, we’d gather on their patio (decks would be below the Gores) for cocktails and a bar be que. The neighborhood men would admire Tipper discreetly, and discuss amongst themselves the seeming incongruity of a dorky guy like Al having such a great house and sexy wife.

Oh we’d all have great fun! Al would man the grill and flip burgers telling the same old “off color” jokes that we’d heard before. We’d all laugh like they were new, because in spite of the undertone of Pleasantville weirdness we would like Al. The atmosphere would be care free; joking and flirtatious in a neighborly way. We’d snack on cheese dip, guacamole and sip wine.

She would be a wearing peach colored dress. Something simple, knee length, with a light summer pattern. A yellow band in her blonde hair and a fresh washed scent on her skin. Tipper’d talk of shopping, school and the summer trip to Al’s family home. Al would be in shorts, loafers and a polo shirt, (Ralph Lauren, of course). At some point Tipper would perhaps have one too many chardonnays and begin to tease Al about being so uptight. We’d all laugh, and Al would make the same “I’m so stiff” self deprecating joke that we’d heard a million times before.

As much as we liked the Gores there would be one thing upon which we would all silently agree. This man should never be president. It would really be the one sad thing about our life on the Gore’s block. At the end of these nights, after we had gone inside to escape the mosquitoes and the cool evening air, Al would have a scotch and the men would join him. Then he’d have another and his easy going sincerity would begin to transform itself to a sort of grim determination. “Someday, I will be president of this country” he would announce, looking each of us in the eye to underscore his seriousness. “Yes, I believe I know what is good for America, and I know I could damn well run a better campaign than those professional politicians!” he’d announce pointing at us fro emphass and spilling a little of his drink on his shorts. Tipper would begin to look alarmed.

For the rest of us this would be our hint that fun time with the Gores was done for another night. See, as much as we liked Al, and as glad as we were to have Tipper drive our kids to the pool during the day, and as grateful as we were that Al was a dedicated little league coach, we all would be aware that there was a certain….tension…there. President? He wasn’t qualified. He didn’t have the temperament. Most of all, he was just another dorky guy on the block. What made him think such things we’d wonder? What could possibly be missing from his already near perfect life?

I was going to write this post about Al’s lunatic rantings in Canada the other day, but I just couldn’t do it. I read the article – it’s linked go check it out if you must – and then I saw the picture posted above. That awful, disturbing picture. Can anyone look at that and not see a man gone off his rocker? The sunken eyes, the bloated face, the grimly set jaw; all of which attest to his fervor. I’m struck mostly by the intensity of the man, that and his palpable anger. It almost reaches through the screen and strangles the viewer. This, my friends, is a man completely convinced of his own righteousness.

I don’t know if Al has gone completely over the edge, but it looks to me like he gets closer everyday. I don’t get the impression that the man laughs much anymore, and I know that if I were around him I’d miss his stupid jokes…even the ones that I had heard a million times before. Two Scotch Al has taken over, and I don’t much like it. I don’t like it at all.

I miss Al Gore.

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