Friday, June 23, 2006

Why isn't Al Gore the President?

Just got back from an Al Goore booksigning. Being a former newspaper reporter, I can't help but run storylines through my head when I go places, especially when there's politics involved.

Here are two ledes to a booksigning story, each objectively true, and each spun differently:

Lede 1: Booksigning a Huge Success for Gore: Al Gore signed copies of "An Inconvenient Truth" today for an enthusiastic crowd that snapped up all 1,000 available copies, with about 500 people more in the store than there were books.

Lede 2: Gore Runs Out of Books: There were more people than books in the store today.

And that's how the game is played.

Anyway, Gore seems like a smart, decent, gracious man who is not a performer and not a politician.

I have been around both species, and I have seen them light up when the curtains open, their names are called, and they smell the crowd.

But there wasn't any of that vibe with Gore.

He was warm and friendly when people he knew stepped up; he stood and embraced them, and seemed genuinely glad to see them.

With the rest of the crowd, he was kind and attentive, but more in the manner of someone of good will who is trying really hard than someone who not only enjoys it but, as with many politicos and performers, very deeply needs it.

Unfortunately for the country, that performer thing matters more in getting elected than the things that matter more for governing: character, honor, humility, knowledge, wisdom, you know, the stuff that is actually important.

I don't know where the country goes from here.

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