Even if he believes half of what he says, this has to be one of the basest tirades from a former VP ever. For all his talk about dignity, he has no sense of it — no sense of how inappropriate it is for someone of his rank to stoop to this sort of thing, no sense that, in caves someplace, bin Laden and Zarqawi are smiling ear-to-ear. He cites Richard Clarke but he might as well be Ramsey Clarke. Claiming that the Bush White House had “a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be ’stressed’ and even – we must use the word – tortured – to force them to say things[.]” Can he conceivably believe that is true? And even if he does, can someone with his brain not understand that saying something like this — i.e., that the Ghraib excesses are American policy rather than an aberration that has mobilized a decent country toward corrections — while we have troops on the battlefield makes it at least marginally more likely that American prisoners will be abused. I know they say politics ain’t beanbag, but this is really low-brow stuff. It’s especially sad for what it says about the Dems: only 20 years ago, a speech like this would have embarrassed them; now, Gore probably gets a prime-time convention slot.