May 28, 2004

Old bumper sticker fulfilled, but Al Gore isn't.

Surely, you've seen this famous lefty bumper sticker:



Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers, even though they were denied the tools in the numbers they needed for their mission. But what a disgrace that their families had to hold bake sales to buy discarded Kevlar vests, so the soldiers can stuff them into the floorboards and sides of the Humvees that they have to ride around in without any armor. Bake sales for body armor! What kind of policy is that?

Note: Try finding the transcript of the Gore speech on the web! It's not on the Moveon.org website anymore. The Washington Post article about the speech shows what is supposed to be a link to the transcript of the speech, but the link just takes you to an empty Moveon.org page. I transcribed the quote above from my TiVoed C-Span coverage.The Moveon.org home page has a link to a transcript of a Gore speech, but if you click on it, it turns out to be a speech from February 5, 2004 (which I printed and read, assuming it was this week's speech--no speech date appears on the home page). There's also a link to a January speech by Gore on the home page. Moveon.org sponsored the Wednesday's speech, and in the words of the Washington Post, it was "the highest-profile appearance by Gore since he endorsed former Vermont governor Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination." I tried my best to find a link to the transcript before taking the trouble to transcribe it myself. I realize links go dead, and unintentional snafus occur. Send me the link if you have it. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to have been deliberately eradicated. I feel compelled to conclude that it's been roundly judged a complete embarrassment.

UPDATE: Now that I've watched the entire speech, let me say that I think much of the coverage of it has been unfair. Drudge and others acted as if he freaked out. I haven't gone over the speech and checked the accuracy of all of the statements, but it is simply untrue that he appeared crazy in some way. There were perhaps two points when he resorted to yelling, but he was shouting over a loud ovation in the auditorium. His voice, as heard over the television, is not ideally modulated, but it was probably adapted to the acoustics in the room as he heard his own voice. He gets a little Jimmy Stewart-y in places. He wipes his brow a few times with a big towel, which looked funny, but clearly the room was too hot, and he was sweating. Most of what he said sounded rational to me: it is important to take the Abu Ghraib abuses very seriously. There's some political posturing in calling for various resignations, but there was nothing irrational about that. People who found the most ridiculous freeze frame or replayed an isolated clip treated him very unfairly. I will say that the NYU crowd was not as serious as the subject matter required. They did not just applaud, they laughed, sometimes inappropriately. The audience seemed so excited about laughing at Bush, that it lost touch with the subject matter being discussed. I think one could see that Gore did not approve of this response. Maybe my perceptions are skewed: I thought he did well in the first debate with Bush in 2000 and was surprised at the way he was ridiculed in the press. Maybe I have I higher tolerance for Gore attitudes than most people, but I really can't see why he's being shredded for this week's speech.

FURTHER UPDATE: A reader figured out a way to get to the transcript:
Take a gander at this:

http://www.moveon.org/pac/gore-rumsfeld.html

I found this by looking for "rumsfeld" in the URL of a MoveOn webpage (it's the last result when you do that search)...

That's a strange way to find it, so it doesn't dispell the impression that they are trying to get rid of it.

ADDED SATURDAY MORNING: The difference between the URL the reader found and the one in the Washington Post link is that that latter has "-transcript" after "rumsfeld." Also, and more importantly, the Moveon.org home page now has the Wednesday speech featured at the top of its home page with a good link. But none of that was there last night when I wrote this post. It can't be that they are just slow putting up material on their website, because the Post had a link that went dead. You'd think if the Post website was linking you, you wouldn't let the URL go dead, and then later use a different URL. Especially a group like Moveon.org which specializes in being a website and sponsored this important speech. I see that they are now trying to sell a DVD of the speech. And the new URL has a lot of Quicktime clips from parts of the speech. Maybe last night when I couldn't find the transcript, they were shifting over to this really elaborate new page. Clearly, they aren't trying to scuttle the material, which I suspected last night. The presentation of key clips is a good way to counter the unfair clipping that Gore's critics were doing. I approve!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is not Gore's speeches that seem crazy as much as the transformation that Gore has gone through. Gore used to be more of a moderate. I think people feel kind of betrayed. Generally, pols take longer to change. It seems that Gore has gone bitter left overnight. Nevertheless, despite Gore's recent rants, he still bothers me less than Kerry. You do not get the feeling from Gore that he would sell the U.S. down the river, or make a deal with France just to be "part of the club," or appease the enemy like you get from Kerry. I think Gore is more of a classic American and would stick it out.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, I think Gore came across as absolutely patriotic and deeply hurt by what he perceived as the Administration's betrayal of American values. It may have been a bit stagey and maybe he was only pretending for political purposes--but that's not crazy (and I do think he was portrayed by Drudge and others as crazy).

Anonymous said...

Ann, May I point out a fine point that you seem to have missed in your initial analysis of the "lefty" bumper sticker. The bumper sticker refers to bake sales buying a bomber. That's an offensive piece of machinery, that allows people on the ground to be targeted from above, and bombers fly off without seeing the destruction wrought below. There's great potential for killing civilians, not just soldiers, since you're not on the ground to confirm who is being killed. A Kevlar vest is a defensive shield to protect human life, here our service people. One can wholeheartedly believe that it would be great to buy the bombers through bake sales, with the military Administration putting in the effort to finance them, and be totally against the idea of sending troops into combat ill-equipped, or forcing family and friends back home to finance and supply necessary equipment. Can you see this distinction?

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, but clearly that bumper sticker is about redirecting public money away from the military and into education. Are you defending the bumper sticker, generally, though? I've always thought it was idiotic.

Anonymous said...

Nope, not defending the bumper sticker. Disagree the message is fulfilled by making soldiers' families buy defensive equipment. Nice spin though -- Way to sex up your blog by making it seem as though the pacificists and questioners of big-ticket military spending are the ones short-changing the troops in the field. Signed, Idiot for Peace (or at least more efficient wars).

Ann Althouse said...

Cool that the "bake sale" image is sexy! Take that, Wonkette!

I was just struck, listening to Al Gore, that he used the "bake sale" image the opposite way from the famous old bumper sticker, in support of military spending. I juxtaposed the two images, without commentary, other than the title. Obviously, the statement on the bumper sticker is not literally fulfilled. Must we be deadly serious?

But did Gore not vote for spending on the military, including bombers, when he was a senator?. And didn't the Clinton administration use bombers rather than ground troops as its policy? Clinton's ratio of bombers to ground troops was higher than Bush's, wasn't it? And bombers are used as a way of avoiding putting ground troops at risk. I realize he's playing to the antiwar crowd now, but I remember him as a Presidential candidate who supported nation-building when Bush did not. And Clinton's nation-building did rely on bombers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come now, Ann! You've spun a deadly serious issue, providing body armor for living, breathing soldiers, for your own purposes. The bumper sticker proponents are not fulfilled; you neatly skirt the issue of why our troops are not being adequately supplied over there. Spin all you like, but spare me the "I'm a moderate just seeking the truth" in your other posts then. Say, do you know how many of the soldiers who died early on, would have lived with the protection? Maybe we should have thought of this before we sent them over. Say, do you have any friends of friends, neighbors or family members serving in the Armed Forces overseas? Just curious

Ann Althouse said...

How do you derive from my comments that I don't absolutely agree with Gore that the troops should be supplied with better equipment? I disagree with the bumper sticker! (But I'm not against good schools.)

Anonymous said...

You didn't answer my question.

Seems to me if you were concerned about the troops being protected here, you wouldn't have spun the post the way you did, evident from the "headline". Perhaps you would have stuck with the important issue: why wasn't there enough money for protection?, instead of trying to make a point that the sentiments on an old bumper sticker are silly. Worse, you try to make it sound as though people who object to war, this one in particular, are responsible for wanting to create the situation where soldiers' families have to provide for their own.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, but I'm not going to blog about issues in the order that they are important.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jake lee said...


be amazed at all the animals that Diablo 3 Gold would fall out: badgers, wolves, boa constrictors, Komodo dragons, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, capybaras, runescape goldwild boars, leopards, manatees, ruminants in untold numbers. There is no doubt in my mind that feral giraffes and feral wow gold hippos have been living in Tokyo for rs gold generations without being seen by a soul.