After reading so many awful stories about Al Gore, it’s nice to finally come upon a good one. The reliably excellent Ryan Lizza gets it right in The New Republic. It’s also worth reading the transcript of his interview with Gore, which contains much tasty goodness, including this compact, dead-on description of modern presidential campaigns:
I don’t want to be critical of the candidates, that’s not my intention. But I don’t think the modern campaign process facilitates a genuine exchange of ideas. It’s multiple overlapping games of gotcha and who can read the polls and the focus groups most skillfully and discern some new manipulative option that can be quickly parlayed into a couple of percentage points in the next poll and parlay that into greater fundraising totals by the end of the next reporting period, and so it goes.
Later, Lizza asks him what advice he’d give a candidate, and he says, in so many words, “don’t ask me, I suck at that stuff.” That doesn’t sound like somebody who’s gonna run.