You remember Al Gore, don't you? He served as Vice President under Bill Clinton for 8 years (1993–2001). Back then, he was a loyal centrist Democrat. Today, however, he almost sounds like a left wing commie -- at least compared to other leading Democrats!
On Friday, he spoke out about two major issues: the Keystone XL Pipeline and the revelations about the NSA. He did not laud President Obama by offering weak nudges. He didn't fall all over himself trying to concoct excuses for why Obama seems to be moving in the wrong direction. No, he voiced his objections strongly.
As reported in The Guardian, here is what Al had to say about the pipeline project.
Al Gore has called on Barack Obama to veto the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, describing it as "an atrocity".
The former vice-president said in an interview on Friday that he hoped Obama would follow the example of British Columbia, which last week rejected a similar pipeline project, and shut down the Keystone XL.
"I certainly hope that he will veto that now that the Canadians have publicly concluded that it is not safe to take a pipeline across British Columbia to ports on the Pacific," he told the Guardian. "I really can't imagine that our country would say: 'Oh well. Take it right over parts of the Ogallala aquifer', our largest and most important source of ground water in the US. It's really a losing proposition."
No equivocating there. No mealy-mouthed platitudes either. He basically threw down a gauntlet.
Turning to The Guardian again, here is what Mr. Gore had to say about spygate.
The National Security Agency's blanket collection of US citizens' phone records was "not really the American way", Al Gore said on Friday, declaring that he believed the practice to be unlawful.
In his most expansive comments to date on the NSA revelations, the former vice-president was unsparing in his criticism of the surveillance apparatus, telling the Guardian security considerations should never overwhelm the basic rights of American citizens.
He also urged Barack Obama and Congress to review and amend the laws under which the NSA operated.
"I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way," Gore said in a telephone interview. "Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Once again, Al isn't pulling punches. He is staring the Obama administration in its grill and challenging them to live up to their own rhetoric.
Rather than following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, it appears Al is borrowing a page from the Jimmy Carter playbook. Carter was only a so-so president, but he's been a great ex-president. Al Gore is turning into a really darn good ex-vice president!