Useful Notes: Al Gore

He didn't invent the internet,
but he wrote the alGOREithm.

"You win some, you lose some. And then there's that little-known third category."

Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. (March 31, 1948-) was the Vice President of The United States under Bill Clinton from 1993-2001. Before that, he served as U.S. Representative for the Nashville area (1977-1985), and then as Tennessee's junior U.S. Senator (1985-1993). After Clinton was term-limited out of office in 2000, Gore became his party's nominee for President, running on a platform of "If it ain't broke..." against then-Texas Governor George W. Bush.

To the frustration of more than a few Clinton loyalists, the Gore campaign shifted from center-left to centrist in hopes of distancing him from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and what some considered a failure of oversight on Al's part. Bush started out from a disadvantage, as Clinton's approval ratings were still good and the economy was weathering the dot-com bubble, while Bush was viewed as little more than a brand name. That quickly changed over the course of the debates ("They misunderestimated me!"), when Bush successfully took the initiative away from Gore on the issue of Social Security privatization. Bush alleged that S.S. was going to go bankrupt if left unchecked. While Gore initially refuted this claim, he finally blinked and rolled out the "lockbox" plan, an opaque strategy to say the least. The lockbox was much-parodied and viewed by the electorate as a tacit admission that Bush was right. Unfortunately for Gore's camp, they fumbled the ball again by neglecting key battleground states — including Gore's home turf of Tennessee — which turned Red in spite of the assumption that they were in Gore's pocket. The endgame took place in Florida, where officials spent two months counting and re-counting ballots to determine who won the state; it was that tight. Gore actually ended up winning more votes than by a very slight marginnote , but Bush carried the election due to the way American presidential elections work (and that's all that needs to be said). Had Gore not lost Tennessee, the votes gained in Florida would not have mattered.

After leaving office, Mr Gore became an environmental activist whose work, including the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, earned him a Nobel Prize. He has also appeared multiple times on Futurama and on Current TV, a network he founded and co-headed until selling it in 2012 to Qatar-based news group Al-Jazeera.

No, he did not invent the Internet. No, he didn't say he did (see below).

Just for added strangeness, Gore was Tommy Lee Jones' roommate at Harvard. And according to author Erich Segal (who attended Harvard at the same time) the hero of his novel Love Story was based on a fusion of the two of them.

This person provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Mainly on Futurama. He also plays himself in a West Wing sketch (along with Martin Sheen and the other regulars) on Saturday Night Live: The cast and crew try to usher him out of the Oval Office set, but Al refuses to budge, pretending to ring up Putin on a prop phone.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: He never said he "invented the internet". What he actually said was, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system." He was referring to, among other things, a law he authored and pushed through that opened up ARPANET (precursor of today's Internet) to beyond the military and select universities.
    • For what it's worth, Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn have agreed with his statement.
    • What Gore can be credited for is coining the phrase "information superhighway".
  • The Comically Serious: Knows this is how he's seen, and is not above making fun of his own "boring" reputation; for example, when he demonstrated the "Al Gore Macarena," which was simply him standing in place.
    • His daughter Kristin is a staff writer for Futurama, and he has guest-starred on the show a few times, playing this to the hilt.
    "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to save some whales. Excelsior!" {flies away on a solar-powered rocket}
  • Deadpan Snarker: When not deadpan "boring".
  • Granola Guy: So much he thought Barack Obama's dismal performance in the first 2012 Presidential debate was based on the altitude in Denver.
  • Moral Guardians: He's not, particularly, but his would-have-been First Lady Tipper Gore is a rather notable one. She is known for her criticism of the "immoral" music industry, and was responsible for labelling the "Filthy Fifteen" that was taken to court and was ultimately responsible for the "Parental Advisory" (a.k.a. the "Tipper Sticker") label on albums.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue Oni to Bill Clinton's Red Oni.
  • Self-Deprecation: He is well aware of his reputation for dull, monotone oratory, and frequently jokes about it in his speeches.
    • "Hello. I'm Al Gore, and I used to be the next President of the United States."
    • Also, when he hosted Saturday Night Live. During his monologue, he mentioned that people sometimes found him patronizing.
    "Patronizing, of course, means talking to people like they're stupid..."
  • What Could Have Been: The results of the 2000 election. It was that muddled, and that close, a call to make either way.