Gore on King

That doesnít sound very appetizing. It sort of reminds me of something that a French revolutionary said. He claimed that he could never be happy until the last king was hanged with the intestines of the last priest. Susan finds this quote a lot more amusing than I do, but then, she was raised as a Catholic.

I watched Al and Tipper Gore on Larry King last night. I havenít watched Gore in person much because I find it painful to listen to members of the Clinton administration. And to tell the truth, I didnít listen with very much attention. For one thing, I kept switching back to the Sumo on ESPN2. I was also distracted by Goreís bottom teeth. Iíd heard from Drudge that he was having some dental work done. I noticed that he does have the sort of smile that displays his lower teeth and that there was something strange about them. I think he may still have some sort of appliance on them; either that, or I need a new TV. Thatís a real possibility.

Several times I was shocked into attention by what Gore said. As expected, he kowtowed before the idol of campaign finance reform, but he didnít stop at McCainĖFeingold. He advocated government financing of federal campaigns. I initially thought that he was being totally disingenuous. It occurred to me that Congress would never pass such a plan and if it did, the Supreme Court would obviously throw it out. But then I remembered that Gore would be in a position to appoint justices. Even the present court has shown itself open to destroying the First Amendment. In reviewing the most recent campaign finance reforms, the court declared political contributions as a form of speech and yet upheld the $1000 maximum on those contributions, thereby allowing the Congress to make a law "abridging the freedom of speech." Does the Constitution protect freedom of speech only up to 91 decibels? A Gore court might be persuaded to allow a ban on political speech, at least during campaign season.

I also heard a detail of Goreís educational reform that I had never heard before: universal preschool. Let me see whether I understand the reasoning here. American public education is in trouble; it has many problems. We can solve these problems by giving more money to the very system that is failing and subjecting students to another year or two of the same system. I doubt that this sort of reform will improve education, but I have to admit that Iím sort of a Philistine.

Larry King has a very friendly style of interviewing, but at one point, at least, I was surprised that he didnít ask a follow-up. Gore proudly and defiantly proclaimed that his drug program would provide all seniors with prescription drugs. The natural question to me was, "Why all?" He doesnít want to give all parents a tax break for education. He doesnít want to give all taxpayers a tax cut. Why, all of a sudden, should all seniors get subsidized drugs?

Gore has a strange face. Maybe heís good looking; I donít know. Mostly, I think of him as having a sort of liquid face that shows nothing. But I have seen the most extraordinary stills of him. In one photo, he had his arm around a teenage girl. He was holding a small camera at armís length and snapping a picture of himself and the girl. He had the most honest and happy expression; his joy practically jumped off the page. In a Bush ad, you see Gore walking down a hall and his dishonesty almost knocks you over. He may have had no evil thought in his head, but his face told a different story. In yet another photo, he is embracing someone, maybe a sick young boy. I forget. His face shows such genuine compassion. Youíd think he was Mother Theresa or someone. Last night, when Larry asked him about his tendency to exaggerate, his face showed to me that he felt real betrayal. It was surprising. I thought the question was a soft ball thrown to him so that he could defend himself against the continuing Republican assault. He was so shocked, I think, that he had to let Tipper field the question.

This campaign has been rather depressing for libertarians. We used to hear occasional antigovernment rhetoric from the Republicans; but Bush is depending so heavily on anti-Clinton feelings that he feels no need even to throw a bone to his antigovernment constituency or even to fiscal conservatives. He seems to have started a bidding war with Gore. Gore is proposing the most gigantic increases in federal expenditures since Johnson. On top of that, he seems to have followed my advice to would be-tyrants. In the following passage, I have just been talking about "market failures":

No one ever declares a state failure. Just the opposite.

When government fails to achieve some avowed goal, it demands more money.

When the government failed to control crime, it demanded more money; when it failed to end poverty, it demanded more money; when it failed to halt

Soviet aggression, it demanded more money. The great growth of twentieth

century governments has been fueled by their failures, not their

successes.

 

If you want totalitarian powers, you must dwell on

governmental failures, even if they are your own.

 

In government, nothing succeeds like

failure.