Al Gore did not go gentle into that good night; he went dirty.
The final days of campaign 2000 were full of sleaze, most of it
emanating out of the pits of Democrat desperation. One of the last
“dirty tricks,” and one of the most revealing, involved the disclosure
of the drunk-driving arrest of George W. Bush 24 years ago. Bush was
pulled over for driving too slowly near his family’s summer home in
Kennebunkport, Maine. He pled guilty and paid a fine of $150.
This story was treated by a number of newspapers in an appropriately
subdued manner. However, the television and radio “news” media escalated
it into a major happening, characterizing it as a “bombshell” that could
turn the election on its head.
TV cable and network commentators and pundits hyped a molehill into a
mountain. They pumped up the story with discussion panels, interviews,
viewer call-ins, website polls, and commentary. Rather than let the
story die a natural death, they put it on life support, making heroic
efforts to prevent its demise, then marveled out loud that “this story
The redoubtable Ted Koppel, host of “Nightline,” devoted two entire
programs to this quarter-century-old event, wringing and wresting it of
what little meaning it actually had, speculating to tedium about meaning
it never had, and attributing to it a degree of “gravitas” it did not
Why is this important? It is important because it provides yet
another brazen display of liberal bias. The drunk-driving story was used
as a lifeline for the sinking Gore-Lieberman candidacy. It had the
potential of besmirching the character of Bush, undermining his promise
to restore honor and dignity to the White House, and disheartening those
who were looking to him for moral leadership.
This is not to say that the liberal members of the media do not try
to be objective. However, the human mind is notorious for accommodating
itself. Deeply held convictions always find a way to rise to the surface
and manifest themselves, no matter how great the effort to suppress
them. These biases show through, by conscious or unconscious intent, in
the selection of what is reported, what is not reported, and in the who,
what, when, where, why and how of the reporting.
For example, the most important news story affecting either candidate
was largely ignored or dealt with in a perfunctory manner. In
mid-October 2000, reports surfaced that in 1995, Vice President Al Gore
negotiated secret agreements with then Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin and withheld them from the Congress. These secret pacts
permitted Russia to violate U.S. anti-proliferation laws (which Gore
helped write in 1992) by transferring a Kilo-class submarine, torpedoes,
anti-ship mines, fighter planes, hundreds of tanks and armored personal
carriers as well as nuclear technology to Iran. These illegal agreements
were vigorously condemned in a statement issued by 11 former Cabinet
members and high-level advisers from both major political parties.
This significant story was underreported in favor of extended
coverage of personal attacks on Bush’s character and moral credentials.
However, these last-minute attempts to undermine Bush in the religious
community were misbegotten, reflecting a serious misunderstanding of
what it means to be a Christian.
The stereotypical image of the Christian is that he has a closed
mind, that he is anti-intellect, that he is self-righteously judgmental,
that he will force his moral values upon others, and that he will, if
given power, use it to persecute those who do not agree with him.
The truth is that no people in the world are more self-effacing than
Christians. They are much more inclined to fault themselves rather than
others. Christians have accepted their own insufficiency. They know they
are flawed and desperately in need of redemption. They are trying hard
to do better. They are not trying to have their sins declared virtues.
They seek to have their sins forgiven, not approved.
George W. Bush is a born-again Christian. From the Christian
perspective, this means that he has been transformed. God has fulfilled
the promise he made in Ezekiel 36:26: “a new heart will I give you and a
new spirit will I put within you.”
From the Christian perspective, the young man who was pulled over to
the side of the road in Kennebunkport no longer exists. George W. Bush
is a new man, fully redeemed and eminently qualified to restore honor
and dignity to the White House.