(If you know anybody who's seriously considering not voting for Al Gore over George W. Bush, e-mail this to them. Also forward it to any of your friends who are also concerned about waking up on November 8th to find another Bush in the White House, and tell them to pass it along to their friends, and so on. Don't let anyone tell you this isn't an important presidential election!)
>>Are you thinking about voting for George W. Bush over Al Gore? Well, here's good reasons to be skeptical about the charge, repeated endlessly by the Bush campaign, that you can't trust anything Al Gore says. Check out this recent column by Tom Teepen of the Cox News Service, showing how Al Gore's gotten a bum rap for being a serial exaggerator:
Gore the Untruthful - Is That So?
By Tom Teepen
Atlanta, October 19 - There's a concerted effort under way to discredit Al Gore with lurid claims that he's a serial liar, compulsive and even "pathological," according to that eminent clinical psychiatrist Rush Limbaugh.
This thing has been building for months, the ground prepared for a leap into the mainstream by busy Internet haw-hawing at Gore's supposed whoppers and by ridicule and retailed indignation on the political right's informal network of talk radio spielers.
The campaign itself is a lie.
Lord knows, Gore is a political exaggerator. In that, he is different only from the politicians who are not. Try to find one. Gore puts the best light on his accomplishments. He personalizes issues where the connection is strained. He can make a mountain out of a molehill on his own behalf. In a word, spin.
But ditto George W. Bush, who has a habit - disturbing, if you like - of claiming credit for successes in Texas he didn't initiate and for popular policies and legislation he had outright opposed.
The slander of Gore is rooted in a widely circulated list of supposed exaggerations so extreme they became routine fodder for comedians and armchair shrinks.
Gore claimed he invented the Internet; said he was the model for the young hero in the novel "Love Story"; pretended he discovered the toxic Love Canal; and said he labored on a farm, when everybody knows he's just a pampered prep school twit.
In point of fact, he never said he invented the Internet. He said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." And he did just that. He was a crucial player - THE crucial player, many in the field say - in securing enabling legislation and funding for development of the Internet, one of the first in Washington to see the potential.
He never said he discovered Love Canal. Encouraging school kids to be interested in the environment, he recalled how he had learned about a toxic waste problem in his home state and then researched other, similar sites, including Love Canal, and held Congressional hearings on the issues. All true.
"Love Story" author Erich Segal has confirmed that the novel's Oliver Barrett was a mix of Gore and Gore's college roommate, the actor Tommy Lee Jones.
The Gore family had a working farm in Tennessee and it is common knowledge thereabouts that young Al worked the farm chores - and worked them hard - during summers, holidays and weekends.
All of this has been on the record for months but continues to be ignored by commentators who find the truth less useful than the tale of Gore the serial fibber.
And with Gore the Liar by then a set character, it was no trick to claim he lied when he said in the first debate that a Florida girl had to stand in school because of overcrowded classes. But the girl's father confirms the story and so does coverage, easily accessible, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Now that he's been typecast, expect every Gore fumble to be cited in confirmation. The smear - and it's just that, built up in increments - has worked.
Tom Teepen is a columnist for Cox Newspapers.
A longer, more detailed article by Princton historian Sean Wilentz published last month in the American Prospect making the same argument can be found HERE. This article also presents detailed evidence that most of the supposed fundraising and other ethical "scandals" the Bush campaign has tried to pin on Al (including his attendance at the infamous Buddhist temple "fundraiser") are without merit.
Finally, here's two eye-opening columns by Molly Ivins, nationally syndicated columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who has observed George W. Bush up close and personal during his six years in office:
Bush Files An Odd Claim by Molly Ivins, October 19
The Unexamined Candidate by Molly Ivins, October 24
As Molly says, "Damned if I know why he's running. He is a nice fellow. I've always liked him. I like lots of people who I don't think should be President."