I write this because I have a long memory. I remember 36 days of bitterness. Thirty-six days of bitterness caused by Al Gore’s post-election litigation campaign.
And so when on MSNBC on Saturday, as we awaited Hillary Clinton’s gracious exit speech, I threw my Operation Chaos baseball cap at the TV as Keith Olbermann, in interviewing Tim Russert, called the Al Gore 2000 speech “the role model for a concession speech.” Russert went on to call the speech “one of the most extraordinarily gracious comments in American political history.” Russert praised St. Gore for being magnanimous and having a “perfect pitch” and urged Hillary Clinton to find a “similar voice.”
They are talking about Al “I’ll Do Anything to Win” Gore. In his speech immediately following the election, Al Gore laid down a historic marker from which we may never fully recover: “the winner of the Electoral College . . . will be the next President.” But then announced, poisonously, “Joe Lieberman and I won the popular vote.”
By contrast, John Kerry conceded the day after the election, like a man.
From Boston’s Faneuil Hall, Senator Kerry said:
Earlier today, I spoke to President Bush, and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory.
We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together.
Today, I hope that we can begin the healing.
In America it is vital that every vote count, and that every vote be counted.
But the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process.
Kerry went on to pay tribute to America. He said:
I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.
But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning, we all wake up as Americans.
And that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on Earth.
That comes way closer to leadership than anything Al Gore did during his presidential campaigns. So, Keith Olbermann, you’re wrong. Al Gore isn’t the role model. John Kerry is. If you want someone to blame for the poisonous anger the Left has in politics today, throw a little blame in Al Gore’s direction, instead of holding his 2000 post-election example as something to emulate.
– Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Rreview Online.