Gore's Persian Gulf War vote.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Gore's Persian Gulf War vote
by Joseph Farah
It was pretty appalling to read former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson's column recalling the way Sen. Al Gore made his decision about sending U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf in 1991.
If anyone had any doubts as to whether Gore was 100 percent unfit and unqualified for the office of the presidency, Simpson's recollections should be enough to put them to rest.
In case you missed it, Simpson disclosed something truly remarkable about Gore. It seems his decision about the merits of the Iraqi invasion hinged on which side in the debate would give him more face time on television.
"The Gulf War vote was pretty serious business," Simpson wrote in the Rocky Mountain News. "I can't think of anyone who didn't have a lump in his or her throat while weighing the situation: 500,000 American troops already deployed; Saddam Hussein promising the 'mother of all battles,' most 'experts' predicting heavy American casualties. The choice was not an easy one. Senators with combat experience on both sides of the aisle were on both sides of the issue."
Because the "seriousness of the situation" called for real -- not manufactured -- debate with "no deal-making, no cajoling (and) no politics," Simpson said he and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, along with senior Democratic Sens. George Mitchell and Sam Nunn, met the night before to work out details.
As Republicans, Simpson and Dole were responsible for scheduling speaking time, while Mitchell and Nunn, as Democrats, were responsible for scheduling time for those opposed to the effort.
As the nation was "on the verge of sending" young Americans to war, Simpson said, and "our national credibility was on the line," he and Dole got a late-night visit from Gore in the Republican Senate cloakroom the evening before the debate was to begin.
Simpson said Gore came "right to the point" of his visit: "How much time will you give me if I support the president?"
"In layman's terms, Gore was asking how much debate time we would be willing to give him to speak on the floor if he voted with us," Simpson said.
After learning that Democrats were prepared to give Gore just seven minutes to speak, Dole offered him 15 minutes and Simpson said he would give Gore five minutes of his own time, totaling 20 minutes.
"Gore seemed pleased, but made no final commitment, promising only to think it over," Simpson said.
"Sen. Gore played hard to get. He had received his time. But now he wanted prime time ... and Sen. Dole and I knew it," said the former Wyoming senator.
Dole instructed GOP Senate Secretary Howard Greene to call Gore's Senate office and promise "that he would try to schedule Gore's 20 minutes during prime time, thus ensuring plenty of time in the news cycle," Simpson said.
Later, when Gore called Greene inquiring whether Dole had scheduled his prime time speaking slot for 20 minutes, the GOP Senate secretary said nothing had been finalized.
Gore "erupted," Simpson said.
"Damn it, Howard, if I don't get 20 minutes tomorrow I'm going to vote the other way," Gore said, according to Simpson.
When Gore arrived in the Senate chambers the following day for the debate, Simpson recalls, "I always thought" he had "two speeches in hand," still waiting to see which side -- Democrats or Republicans -- would give him more speaking time.
After Dole asked for an increase in the amount of speaking time for both sides, "I believe only then, after Gore realized we were asking for more time to make room for him on our side, that he finally decided to support the resolution authorizing the use of force to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait," Simpson said.
Simpson said it "brings me no joy" to recount the events, but he felt it was "something I have to do" after he learned the vice president was running a campaign advertisement claiming to have broken with his own party to support the Gulf War.
"In reality, it's much closer to the truth to say he broke for the cameras to support the Gulf War," Simpson said.
Noting that the vote was "a moment of challenge and, sadly, Al Gore was not up to it," Simpson said he wanted to "set the record straight" because of the importance of the Gulf War vote should not be a "victim" of "politics and repulsive revisionism."
Pretty damning stuff, huh? But, I've got to tell you, something else bothers me about this story. Why is it that we didn't hear about this for nearly 10 years? Why didn't this come out when Al Gore twice ran for an office that would place him just a heartbeat from the presidency?
Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt the veracity of Simpson's story -- not for a moment. But what troubles me is the way the Republican leadership covered up this scandal for a decade. In fact, only after Simpson's retirement from the Senate did he dare to tell the story.
Something else bothers me. If what Gore did was so troubling to Simpson and Dole, why did they go along with it? Why did they make the deal? Why didn't they tell him to vote his conscience as they would vote their consciences?
You see, Simpson's story is more than an indictment of Gore -- as if we needed another one. It's further evidence that the Republicans do not represent a viable alternative to the basic amorality of the Democrats. They never have, and they probably never will.
-- Uncle Deedah (email@example.com), October 07, 2000
As much as I detest alBore for many other reasons and while this may sound "just like him",.... I would question this. Its a distortion and smear typical of Farah, the front lackey for the irrational haters of the fringe right loony tune club. Gore extracted a price for his participation in a "bi-partisan effort". To get it from a friend of some of the worst of the green and peace to all fringers on the left, the GOP paid Gore's price. While there was some "its all a war to protect big oil loonies".....much of the peaceNikwits and greenies were silent while we got ready to demolish Saddam's forces.
If anything, alBore "sold out" his friends on the Fringe Left and it is well known they are still most unhappy that he did not "do more for our causes" while V-P. They have fallen back on the "he is better than nothing" and only the rabid are "going Nader" (who better get rid of them if he wants to get any gains in the next few weeks).
If Gore's vote were ONLY predicated on the total air time given that would be another matter. However, Gore was much further up the feeding chain than anyone of the others save Bob Dole. He was a "potential candidate" and such people leverage their POWER to extract a price on almost every .....single major decision they make.
Its typical Farah out of the Farah faucet and should be sent down the drain for one reason,........ LET SIMPSON PROVE "airtime" was alBore's ONLY CONSIDERATION.
The GOP knew they needed unilateral Dem support and while they knew they could DEMAND alBore fall into line (or brand him as "weak on Iraq" later)......they did what was "expediant". They gave alBore his cake and let him eat it. FIND OUT ALSO what price DOLE extracted out of Gore in return and get the rest of the story.
THAT.....is how "politics the art of the POSSIBLE" is done.
Sidebar......I don't much like "politics" because of that "compromising to get things done" in that it ends up NOT with "the Golden Mean" but the Mediocre and Banal known as "AVERAGE". and note.......... alBore doesn't even rise to that level.
-- cpr (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 07, 2000.
Regardless of whether this is true, a small irony remains. Bush-the-Elder's successful prosecution of the Gulf war and his resulting success in the poles caused Dem Presidential frontrunners Gore and Gephardt to chicken out from running in 1992. Clinton would have never been nominated if the big name guys had not wussed out.
-- Lars (email@example.com), October 07, 2000.
Joseph Farah, much like Rush Limbaugh, is a pathological liar, incapable of telling the truth. If you believe the crap which flows from their yapholes, you are a plain and simple fool.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 07, 2000.
Please give a documented example of a Rush lie, pathological or otherwise.
-- (email@example.com), October 07, 2000.
Alan Simpson is a hatchet man. He always has been. If you read the story carefully, you will see that it is carefully slanted to reinforce this line:
>> Simpson recalls, "I always thought" he had "two speeches in hand," still waiting to see which side -- Democrats or Republicans -- would give him more speaking time. <<
All the rest of the story is simply a story about Al Gore wanting to get speaking time. If I were a senator about to make a controversial vote that would anger some of my supporters no matter which way I voted, I'd want to make sure I got a good shot at explaining myself, too.
But there is no evidence here to support the charge that Al Gore was selling his vote for air time. Zip. All we get are some rather mean-spirited personal impressions and are huge dose of spin.
-- Brian McLaughlin (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 07, 2000.
Here ya go, Dittohead. This guy puts out quarterly reports on the falsifications of Mr. Limbaugh.
Lim baugh versus Reality
-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), October 07, 2000.
Joseph Farah, much like Rush Limbaugh and Al Gore, is a pathological liar, incapable of telling the truth. If you believe the crap which flows from their yapholes, you are a plain and simple fool.
-- Nib Sandler (email@example.com), October 07, 2000.
I'm voting for Al Gore because he was a founding member of Napalm Death!!!!!!!!
-- butt nugget (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 07, 2000.
Nice one Unk!
One gets more factual information from the Onion than Farah's propaganda interent venture.
Even Greg "thin the herds" Caton knows this now.
I will light a candle for you Unk, emergency type of course ;)
-- Doc Paulie (email@example.com), October 07, 2000.
I am no fan of Farah, but we do agree on one or another matters of policy. Just putting this out there for disection by the brilliant minds of the forum.
-- Uncle Deedah (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 07, 2000.
ASHINGTON, Oct. 7 Vice President Al Gore, responding to intensifying Republican attacks on his credibility, said today that he did not have a problem with embellishment that should cause concern about his character, and he accused Gov. George W. Bush of waging personal attacks rather than focusing on issues.
In a 30-minute conference call with reporters, which was intended to highlight education issues that he will emphasize next week, Mr. Gore took several questions about what Republicans are portraying as a pattern of exaggeration about often incidental matters.
On Friday, Mr. Bush's running mate, Dick Cheney, said Mr. Gore "seems to have a compulsion to embellish," and Republican strategists have made it clear that they will continue to press the issue.
Mr. Gore acknowledged today that he has made occasional factual mistakes, as when he said in Tuesday's debate that he had accompanied James Lee Witt, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to inspect fire and flooding damage in Texas in 1998. Mr. Gore did visit Texas, but with one of Mr. Witt's deputies, not with Mr. Witt. Mr. Gore has said that he made the mistake because he has frequently made trips of that sort with Mr. Witt.
In response to questions, Mr. Gore said that he did not have a tendency to embellish his risumi and that his misstatements did not point to a deeper character flaw. He then tried to turn the tables, asserting that he does not make personal attacks against Mr. Bush when the governor misstates the facts. He went on to describe two such comments.
Mr. Gore said it "could be characterized as an exaggeration" when Mr. Bush said in the debate that the Gore campaign was outspending the Bush campaign.
"But," Mr. Gore said, "I didn't seize on that as anything other than a mistake that he made. When he said that there were 20,000 new bureaucrats called for in my budget plan, similarly I don't describe that as fictitious or an exaggeration. It's just a mistake on his part."
Even as he pointed out Mr. Bush's "mistakes," Mr. Gore said he was not denigrating his rival's character.
"These are negative personal attacks of the kind I simply do not engage in," Mr. Gore said. "The Republican ticket announced a few weeks ago that they were going to adopt a new strategy of focusing on the issues, but they have completely abandoned that strategy and they are focused almost entirely on personal attacks."
Mr. Gore stood by his decision in the debate to illustrate the problem of school crowding by speaking of a 15-year-old girl in Sarasota, Fla., who had to stand in class. In fact, school officials have said, the girl was without a desk for only one day.
"They tried to make that out to be an exaggeration," Mr. Gore said of the Republicans. "Well, excuse me, her father wrote me a handwritten letter, enclosing a picture on the front page of The Sarasota Herald Tribune of his daughter standing in class on the ninth day of school."
If the girl later received a desk, he said, "that doesn't change the fact that there are 36 students in a classroom designed for 24."
He also stood by his rebuff of Mr. Bush's suggestion that Russia should have tried to use its influence to persuade Slobodan Milosevic to leave office in Yugoslavia. Mr. Gore said that he was "not sure it's right for us to invite the president of Russia to mediate this dispute there because we might not like the result."
In fact, the White House had been doing just that, with President Clinton and American diplomats speaking to their Russian counterparts to solicit their support for democratic change in Yugoslavia.
"I stand by exactly what I said," Mr. Gore said today, "that the instinct to involve them is not wrong but we did not want to invite them to be the mediator if they did not agree to the right outcome."
He added: "It appears that they negotiated an arrangement to keep Milosevic in some form of political power as an opposition leader with his hand still in the affairs of Serbia. That is distinctly contrary to what we would like to see happen."
Mr. Gore will leave on Sunday for Sarasota, Fla., where he planned to prepare for Wednesday's debate in Winston-Salem, N.C.
-- Gore Has Integrity (email@example.com), October 07, 2000.
-- 123 (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 17, 2002.