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Perhaps she should have paid more attention during A.P. US History

Virginia Postrel's critique of Al Gore's recent U.S. - Iraq is adequate; it's the same old stuff -- not really too much to comment on. However, in an attempt to be witty in her jabs at the former Vice-President, she does miss at least one mark.

She quotes Gore: "'We have to recognize that this is a whole new era, and the advances in the technology of destruction require us to think anew.'" Then she compares this to a comic strip: "Think anew! It's worthy of a Dilbert PowerPoint presentation. What new thoughts are we to think? Here's where I get to writing 'weak and vague.'"

Postrel misses that Gore is obviously alluding to Lincoln's 1862 Message to Congress: "The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

I believe that Lincoln's words are quite appropriate for today. So does Vice-President Gore. Postrel believes they belong in Dilbert.


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Comments (4)

Gary Collard:

This column nicely summarizes Gore, who looks to me like he pretty much doomed himself to finish his career in Quayleian irrelavance with that silly speech.

Gary Collard:

Sorry, forgot the URL (and not sure why that posted twice, I hit submit once)


Andy Blumson:

Perhaps the difference was that Lincoln *meant it*; Gore is just saying it. That *would* belong in _Dilbert_.

What my fellow alum is trying to say is not that there's something wrong with Gore's word choice, but that there's no follow through. Gore didn't really say anything at all. Lincoln may have used the same phrase, but he used it at the end of a long speech at which he made various proposals.

Gore said that we need to "think anew," but didn't say anything concrete. He made no proposals. He had no ideas. Indeed, he himself argued that Bush was thinking anew, with his "new uniquely American right to preemptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat."


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