The other night on Current TV, former vice president Al Gore said to the host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann that America needs to work toward the “reinvigoration of democracy.”
“We need to have an American spring,” Gore said. “You know, the Arab Spring—the nonviolent part of it isn’t finished yet—but we need to have an American Spring, a kind of an American Tahrir Square. Non-violent change, where people from the grassroots get involved again.”
“I want to tell you, Keith, this country is in trouble,” Gore explained to the sympathetic Olbermann. “Our democracy has been withering on the vine, it really has been. This has been going on for some time. But this is not an event that can be taken lately. I know it’s difficult to imagine that the people who care about the values that this country was based on will rise up and get much more involved in the democratic process, but that is exactly what we need and that is the only thing that can get our country back on the right track. ”
It’s not clear what Gore was trying to say here. Was the former vice president of the United States actually suggesting that Barack Obama is like an Arab tyrant who is responsible for the murder of thousands of his own citizens (just like Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad)? If so, that’s a scurrilous claim. Sure, the president might be responsible for a bad economy, an overreaching health care plan, a weak American foreign policy, and countless other poor policy decisions, but he was elected by a fair and democratic process.
Many of the protesters in the Arab Spring are hoping to work toward a system closer to America’s than what they currently have. By comparing the plight of liberal activists to the protesters in Tahrir, Gore is belittling the seriousness of those who are truly repressed. The American system is fair and democratic; Syria’s and Egypt’s are not.
And if you think Gore might have been encouraging the Tea Party to be more active, guess again. “Not in the Tea Party style,” the former vice president said, before going on a long rant about the Tea Party.
Here are the words Gore had for the Tea Party:
Not in the Tea Party style. There are people who are genuinely upset in the Tea Party, I understand that, but that movement was funded with seed money from right-wing billionaires, the Koch brothers, and promoted on Fox News and turned into a stalking horse for this right-wing agenda that a lot of people have been trying to push on this country for a long time. What’s sacrosanct for them is to have absolutely no tax increases on the wealthiest Americans—they are at a low level now—and to try to shrink down government so they can get it out of the way of powerful corporations and special interests, so that they can have free rein. And the Supreme Court has, of course, has now declared that they’re persons and make these secret contributions. I want to tell you, Keith, this country is in trouble. Our democracy has been withering on the vine. This has been going on for some time.
And here's video of Gore's performance: