Gore's 'Assault on Reason' an Assault on Bush

"The Assault On Reason" begins as an academic discourse about the one-sided, corporate-controlled television medium with "no true interactivity, and certainly no conversation."

Gore argues that television not only creates a dynamic that runs contrary to Thomas Jefferson's desire for a "well-informed citizenry" but puts viewers in a "quasi-hypnotic state" that "partially immobilizes" them and allows unreasoned communicators to sell false bills of goods, such as, say, that there was a connection between the 9/11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein.

As an example of the failed democratic conversation, Gore said Monday that prior to the war in Iraq, "if we had a full debate and a full airing of the pros and cons of the invasion that brought out the fact that Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with attacking us on 9/11 then we would have been much less likely to have these troops trapped over there now in the midst of a civil war."

But very quickly Gore sheds his inner Marshall McLuhan for his inner Michael Moore.

Gore writes, "[If] Bush and Cheney actually believed in the linkage that they asserted between al Qaeda and Iraq -- in spite of all the evidence to the contrary presented to them contemporaneously -- that would by itself in light of the available evidence, make them genuinely unfit to lead our nation."

The former vice president then adds, "On the other hand, if they knew the truth and lied, massively and repeatedly, isn't that worse? Are they too gullible or too dishonest?"

Driving Dems to the Left

It seems likely that even if Gore opts not to run for president in 2008, his book may serve to drive presidential candidates, including Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., even further to the left, both in rhetoric and substance.

The former Tennessee congressman and senator accuses his former colleagues on Capitol Hill of complicity with what he sees as nefarious deeds committed by the Bush administration.

The book opens with Gore wondering why Senate Democrats were so silent during the debate before going to war in Iraq and towards the end faults them for failing to criticize the administration's warrantless surveillance program.

"Democrats as well as Republicans in the Congress must share the blame for not taking action to protest and seek to prevent what they consider a grossly unconstitutional program," he writes.

He doesn't assail any Democrats by name (though some will no doubt see Sen. Clinton's face when Gore dismisses those who say they would have opposed the war in Iraq if they knew then what they know now). Bush, however, he names over and over.

The Bush Grudge

"President Bush has repeatedly violated the law for six years," Gore charges regarding the warrantless surveillance program.

Gore -- who lost the White House if not the popular vote to Bush in 2000 -- picks apart the president's policy choices time and time again, often in very personal ways.

The prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib, Gore writes, were "the natural consequence of the Bush administration policy that dismantled the constraints of law and the Geneva Conventions, made war on America's system of checks and balances, and evaded accountability and responsibility for the actions in ordered."

The Bush Iraq policy was a "counterfeit combination of misdirected vengeance and misguided dogma."

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