- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 7, 1999

While most pressies have been preoccupied with the smear campaign directed against GOP presidential contender John McCain those egregiously anonymous whispers about his “temper” and hints about the alleged precariousness of his mental stability few have said or written much about the very questionable psychological fitness of likely Democratic presidential nominee and sitting vice president, Albert Gore Jr.
His claims to have invented the Internet, that his marriage inspired the movie, “Love Story” to cite but two embarrassing gaffes have done little damage to his aspirations. And just last week, it happened again. While speaking at a high school forum in New Hampshire, Mr. Gore seemed to take credit for discovering a famous toxic waste site. An Associated Press reporter quoted Mr. Gore as saying, with apparent seriousness, “I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal …” The AP story went on to describe the vice president as bragging that he’d held “the first hearing on that issue” and that “I was the one that started it all.”
By Thursday of last week, Mr. Gore had called the AP and attempted to “correct” his remarks. “If anybody got the misimpression that I claimed to do what citizens in Love Canal did, I apologize,” Mr. Gore is quoted as saying. In point of fact, Mr. Gore did hold hearings about toxic waste problems two months after residents evacuated Love Canal.
The real question is how to react to Mr. Gore’s increasingly bizarre utterings. It’s not a matter of “misinterpreting” anything. The man clearly said he “found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal.” What alternative meaning is there in this statement? Can it be parsed any other way than to convey a belief by the speaker to have “found” the toxic dump at Love Canal?
Voters be they Democrats or Republicans have legitimate reason to be worried about Mr. Gore, his position on policy issues notwithstanding. Repeated claims to accomplishments he has had nothing to do with are disturbing. It’s not so much that he’s fibbing; almost all politicians do that from time to time. Rather, it’s that Mr. Gore really seems to believe these crazy things. And they are specific claims not merely broad-based goods such as a “healthy economy” or “sound relations with our friends and allies around the globe.” There are usually real policies or at least some fulsome speechifying behind those types of claims. But to take credit for inventing the Internet, or “finding” a toxic waste dump literally doing these things is another matter.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “delusional” thusly: “… the apparent perception, in a nervous or mental disorder, of something external that is actually not present… . a belief in something that is contrary to fact or reality, resulting from deception, misconception, or a mental disorder …” (Italics added.)
At bottom, if the choice is between a man with a temper who does not suffer fools gladly but who is otherwise connected to reality and a politician who not only manufactures gross, obvious lies about himself and his achievements but appears to actually believe these confabulations we’ll take the hot-heated alternative any day of the week.

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