Had it happened on Al Gore’s watch.

13 Sep 2016 03:21 pm
Posted by: Donna


Imagine it, Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. Two planes crash into the World Trade Center. Another crashes into the Pentagon. Still another crashes into a field in Pennsylvania.

Imagine if Al Gore had been President that day.

Do you believe Gore would enjoy a 90% approval rating on September 24, 2001?

I don’t.

I feel it in my bones, this reflexive bias toward Republicans being in charge, leading inexorably to them being held harmless for the most abysmal failures and even incontrovertible evidence of moral depravity when they are in office. I’ve felt it since I was a kid in the late 70s when Jimmy Carter was President, when he and his family were constantly portrayed as hapless goobers with straw in their teeth and everything he did was viewed as a failure, with no consideration for the challenges he faced. When Reagan defeated Carter, the prevailing sentiment (at least from what was apparent to me from TV and print media) was that rightness was restored to the White House. No matter how many people in the Reagan administration were indicted. No matter how bad his economic policies actually were. All was right with the world because the party that best represented the interests of men and white people was in charge.

When I was in boot camp in Orlando, Florida in 1987, Company Commander Hermann told us that Oliver North was a hero. I disagreed but didn’t dare venture that opinion, for I had fully absorbed by then that Republicans were viewed as the correct people to be ruling the country. (I also wisely surmised boot camp was not the place for me to challenge that view.)

Basically, since I was 10 years old I have grokked that the party of men and white people is the party that is assumed to be the rightful owners of the White House. Again, I never agreed with it, but I got it. It meant that I have accepted media people and other opinion shapers being reflexively deferential to Republican candidates, while subjecting Democratic ones to intense and harshly critical scrutiny, as the normal order of things in the election.

The sexism of it was quite glaring to me, as in the 2000 election when Al Gore was “feminized” and lampooned in the media for wearing beige and seeking stylistic advice from the likes of Naomi Wolf. Gore’s minor foibles and mistakes were amplified, while his opponent’s shocking ignorance of foreign affairs and history of incompetence in business and as Texas Governor was minimized (sound familiar?), in favor of a portrayal of George Bush as a hail-fellow-well-met manly man whom it was much cooler to be seen with. But none of it surprised me. I had long been used to Democrats, even white male ones, being regarded as inferior (but somehow expected to meet higher standards) candidates due to being seen as representing people of color and women (also deemed inferior but expected to meet higher standards always).

Naturally, dignity and honor were once again restored to the White House upon a Republican assuming the Presidency.

The attacks on 9/11/2001 happened seven months into Bush’s Presidency, after he had been fully apprised by outgoing President Bill Clinton about the Al Qaeda menace and warned repeatedly about potential attacks by terrorism experts. Bush ignored the warnings due to having other priorities (Iraq and a missile defense program).

Do you really think if Al Gore had been elected 2000, then proceeded to focus on nebulous pet projects over the threat of Al Qaeda and snorted “All right, you’ve covered your ass” to the guy delivering a memo entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US” on August 6, 2001, that he would have been treated like a hero a little more than a month later when the US was, in fact, struck? I know you don’t think that.

The nation wouldn’t have been given a minute to absorb the enormity and the trauma before the recriminations began. Why did Gore ignore those warnings?! Had President Gore sat there with an a children’s book in his lap and a dumbstruck look on his face upon hearing the news, would not that image been run on a continuous loop on news coverage beginning on September 12th at the latest? And that’s just the MSM. Limbaugh, Fox, Drudge, et al, would have been apoplectic with theatrical outrage over the failure of this Democratic President to prevent a terrorist attack. You can imagine the insinuations and outright accusations of Gore being in league with the terrorists.

But Bush was a rightful owner of the White House, buoyed on rich white male Republican entitlement, thus not subjected to an ounce of the scrutiny he ought to have gotten (after a decent interval) for his performance in the months prior to the attacks. He was instantly valorized (it continues to this day) and was able to graft the good faith he was automatically granted onto a case for pursuing his pet project, invading Iraq. Bush went on to receive fawning coverage for it:

{Chris] MATTHEWS: We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits. We don’t want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.

Such a guy, that George Bush. (That whole comment by Matthews, especially the bit about Putin, reads pretty incredible in 2016, doesn’t it?)

MATTHEWS: What do you make of this broadside against the USS Abraham Lincoln and its chief visitor last week?

LIDDY: Well, I — in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know — and I’ve worn those because I parachute — and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those — run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count — they’re all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

MATTHEWS: You know, it’s funny. I shouldn’t talk about ratings. I don’t always pay attention to them, but last night was a riot because, at the very time [U.S. Rep.] Henry Waxman [D-CA] was on — and I do respect him on legislative issues — he was on blasting away, and these pictures were showing last night, and everybody’s tuning in to see these pictures again.

Leaving the grab-the-brain-bleach ickiness of these exchanges aside, try to imagine, in your wildest dreams, President Al Gore strutting across the deck of an aircraft carrier like that, and cable news commentators swooning over the, uh, turgidity of it. You can’t because it would be the ridiculous spectacle it should have been deemed when Bush did it.

George W. Bush was always an absurd, dangerous fool. But he got a free ride all the way to the White House due to snobbery, sexism, and racism. Which are also clearly at work in the 2016 election, where the female candidate has been excoriated for an entire year over some nonsense about emails while her male opponent, who is bonkers, is treated with far more deference than he should be. As I saw a Twitter wag put it recently, the election coverage feels like the rich kid school bully has enlisted the whole class in bringing down the studious, nerdy girl.

And these are people who still can’t believe President Obama got elected to the White House he has no business being in for two terms. They are, as this “DC political reporter” in this article, under cover of anonymity and pretending to be undecided makes abundantly clear, determined to swing the Presidency back to the GOP, even if it means “it’s going to be a dumpster fire”.

The good news is people are calling it out this time, more than I’ve ever seen. We’re not going to let them help install a dumber and more dangerous lunatic than George W. Bush in the White House, because their own kind not being in charge hurts their fee fees. It must end now.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Pingback by Democratic Diva » I turned them off. You should too. on November 11, 2016 2:23 am

    […] the DC political media (I believe, and said it recently) are in the thrall of the unspoken agreement emerging around 1980, that the GOP are the rightful […]

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