Looking for the Real Al Gore
Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Dick Cheney has been vilified by the liberal establishment for his extremely conservative voting record while a member of congress in the 70's and 80's. Especially inexcusable to liberals are his votes against Head Start and against supporting the release of Nelson Mandela from a South African prison. In interviews, Cheney has stood by his record on most counts, expressing the possibility that if he were voting now, knowing what he does about Head Start and Nelson Mandela a decade after the fact, he would probably vote along more popular lines. Yet even this admission that hind sight can be 20/20 even for prominent politicos is not good enough for Democrats firmly entrenched in the Gore camp, claiming "a record is a record" and that it can speak for itself without help or interpretation from the person who cast the votes.
So, along those lines, we thought it fair to apply those same standards to Gore...something his more liberal supporters might not be jumping on the band wagon to do. Why not?
Note: What follows was first complied from the public record by National Review, August 14, 2000.
"I am a firm supporter of the Hyde Amendement. I will continue to support efforts that are designed to prevent the use of federal funds in a manner which violates the relationship between the government and the individual protected by our Constitution." Al Gore, letter to National Right to Life News, September 10, 1980.
June 26, 1984
Congressman Al Gore votes for House Amendment 942, "An ammendment to define 'person' as including unborn children from the moment of conception."
July 18, 1984
"It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. I hope that someday we will see the current outrageously large number of abortions drop sharply. Let me assure you that I share y our belief that innocent human life must be protected."
March 7, 1988
"Since there's a record of that vote, we have only one choice. In effect, what we have to do is deny, deny, deny, deny. We've muddled the point, and with luck, attention will turn elsewhere, or at least we'll be lucky enough so the thing doesn't blow into a full-fledged problem." - Unnamed Gore aide in U.S. News and World Report.
"Every time Congress has tried to play politics with a woman's right to choose, imposing gag rules and attatching anti-choice language to any bill they can think of, we have fought to stop them. And if they try again, we'll stop them again." Gore speech, November 19, 1998.
"Look, I'm running in a district where people favor guns, and there's no way I can win if I take a position that indicates I'm going to take away their guns. It?s simple as that." Congressional candidate Al Gore to a friend, Inventing Al Gore, p. 119.
"I do not believe such measures [strict controls on gun sales and ownship] would keep handguns out of the hands of criminals." 1984 Senate campaign; quoted in New York Times, July 6, 2000.
"Since being elected to Congress in 1976 Al Gore has been there each and every time sportsmen and gun owners have needed a friend." The NRA's Institue for Legislative Action, 1984.
Sen. Al Gore votes with the NRA 75 percent of the time. NRA vote analysis.
"Some want more concealed weapons...they can't conceal the fact that they're just doing the NRA's bidding. Some want to overturn local gun control laws. I want to overturn the influence of the gun lobby." Gore speech on crime, July 12, 1999.
"The English language is at the core of the American culture, and, in order to make a contribution to our society, immigrants in the past accepted the chore as a necessity. Anything which requires our schools to delay the all-important process of learning the language of their new country serves only to set up additional barriers of the immigrant child." February 12, 1981; Carthage Courier
"Some will exploit the issue of bilingual education for political gain. I believe we must support bilingual education for educational gain." Gore speech to Hispanic group NALEO, June 19, 1999.
Similar flip-flops, waffles, hedges, and "Clintons" can be observed on most other national issues, including special rights for homosexuals, China MFN, and campaign finance reform. On each of these issues, it's troubling to note that Gore's sharp turn to the left seems to have taken place between 1988-90, the nascent stage of his career in the national spotlight. It would seem that Gore was elected to the House and then the Senate as a conservative Democrat by conservative Tennesseeans who saw him as an ally and a true representative, yet as soon as it proved politically expedient, Gore dumped the people that brought him to the dance in favor of a decidedly more liberal agenda. Perhaps Gore's turn to the left was merely the spectacle of a public figure finally showing his true colors rather than that of an a-moral opportunist, a hollow man void of true passions and beliefs changing his views with the political wind, unable it would seem to truly dream or honestly lead. The scary thing is, with Gore, like the Clinton before him, it's mpossible to tell.