Citizen Gore

Michael Tomasky in the New York Review of Books:

Springer_algoreFor a significant number of impatient citizens, there is one more possible candidate who is, they would argue, the most electable of all. First, he’s already won a presidential election; he was merely denied his rightful victory by an ethically compromised Supreme Court majority. Second, to the extent that foreign policy and terrorism remain potential Democratic weaknesses, he has extensive experience and expertise in dealing with both. Third, he was right on Iraq. And fourth and most importantly, he has reemerged in the Bush era as a completely different man from the cautious candidate, surrounded by too many consultants, we saw in the 2000 campaign.

Al Gore could not even bring himself to criticize the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in the science curricula of Kansas schools in 1999 (a moment that has stuck with me). Now, he has cast caution aside and is a truth-teller—on Iraq, on executive power, on the corrosive role of television in politics, and indeed on the need to give science priority over faith in public deliberations (although not specifically, to my knowledge, on Darwin). The Assault on Reason, in which he meticulously considers these four subjects, reflects the speeches he’s given in recent years and, of course, his film on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth—a record that has, for most liberals, washed away the memory of the man who couldn’t quite decide in 2000 whether he was a centrist or a populist and who, facing the likes of Karl Rove and James Baker in Florida, didn’t seem willing to fight.

More here.