I get a lot of email like this:
Al Gore’s father may have made him do the farming chores that he claims, but it is crystal clear to anyone that knows even a little about farming that Al Gore does not have the foggiest notion about farming as a business.
In his eulogy of his father, he said the following:
He taught me how to plow a steep hillside with a team of mules. He taught me how to clear three acres of heavily-wooded forest with a double-bladed axe. He taught me how to take up hay all day….
Plowing a “steep hillside” would have violated the regulations of his conservation district. He implies that he cleared 3 acres for more farming, by putting that sentence among the farming tasks. Farmers were paid in the early Sixties NOT to farm, to leave a portion of their farmland idle. A farmer would very likely would not have been allowed to add to his farmland. A U.S. senator would not have allowed this to happen because of the bad publicity. Al Gore, Jr., may have farmed, but he apparently learned NOTHING about the business.
Signed: Someone who knows just a little bit about farming.
Me: I don’t want to get into the weeds on this. But I think the basic point is that whatever it was that Gore’s dad made his son do, good farming techniques weren’t part of it. According to Gore’s biographers, Gore’s dad wanted to develop his son’s character. His dad’s farming/business practices generally don’t always look above board, but that too is irrelevant. There are witnesses on the record who say they saw Gore doing the hillside plowing and whatnot. As for Gore spending a summer at existentialist sleep-away camp in France, I’ve seen no evidence that this ever happened. I will gladly post any reliable evidence or testimony someone sends me saying he did.