February 28, 2007
Starting off with a lame – deemed outright sour by a reader – review of the Oscar ceremonies of Sunday night, I find myself as a result embarked on a new journey. This is it: All those comments by all those commenters make me feel equipped to say the country is ready for Al Gore at last.
Before I get into that, let me digress to say that I didn’t watch enough of the Oscars to see Eddie Murphy walk out in an apparent huff at not winning, although a number of hits to my blogpost used the search words “Eddie Murphy Sore Loser.” I must say here and now that I don’t think his hasty exit indicates that Murphy is necessarily a sore loser. You and I can never know what it is like to be a movie star expecting an Oscar and not getting one. We see those frozen faces just before the names are called and marvel at how they magically burst into smiles when somebody else wins – but because that is customary it doesn’t mean that an honest display of emotion is inappropriate. Paul Newman had been nominated nine times; by the time he won (in 1986 for The Color of Money) he simply was not attending the ceremony any more. He stated that he couldn’t take it.
What the Oscar did for Al Gore remains to be seen. I liked the many and varied comments on my post of the 26th, and the general feeling that maybe Gore, taken out of mothballs and cleaned up for a first-class Presidential campaign will win the nomination and the race this time, and get a chance to lead the country.
No Naomi Wolfe; he’s as Alpha as he needs to be. He looks best when pushing the issues about which he’s passionate. The whole country knows the man deserved a better shake than he got in 2000, and now he may be brave enough to use his own compass to plot the course. He just looked uncomfortable doing all those things somebody seemed to be telling him to do last time, from kissing Tipper like a passionate honeymooner right in front of the assembled multitude at the Democratic convention (distancing the two of them from the Clintons, I suppose), to donning plaid shirts instead of white ones. He looks fine in suits; in fact, he never looked more like a statesman than he did Sunday night. What am I talking about, anyway? This is not about what he looks like. It’s about what he is.
He was ridiculed for self-aggrandizement for simply saying things about himself that nobody wanted to believe. He never said he invented the Internet, but did state that he had provided initiatives for getting it started, which he had. He took credit for his work on cleaning up Love Canal, and was pilloried for that statement, although he was praised by the residents of Love Canal at the time. Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos, Bill Krystol and others – to say nothing of Saturday Night Live, of course – found fodder for outrage and exaggeration of their own at his expense. But this is behind him, at least for the moment.
He is a rare man, and that is becoming clearer as time goes on . Whatever longtime feud he had with Bill Clinton, and whatever made him put that resentment aside in his rose garden statement that Clinton would go down in history as one of the country’s greatest Presidents, whatever made him hide in Clinton’s shadow and not press the big man into service in campaigning for him – all those things are in the distant past and few of us remember those days, either because we weren't paying attention then, or we have forgotten. There were many petty things I personally once held against him, but on reflection, and, as politicians like to say, knowing what I now know, he is looking better to me and a whole lot of other people.
Judging from the eloquence of all those who chose to comment on the "And the Winner Is" post, this campaign is going to be a great ride.