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Out of bounds

Last night, my colleague Kim posted about the arrest of Al Gore III on charges of speeding and drug possession -- a LOT of drug possession, in diversity if not quantity. I said at the time that I didn't agree with publicizing this incident, noting -- along with a lot of others -- that the only really newsworthy element of the story was that he was doing about 100 MPH in a Toyota Prius. (It also featured someone misspelling the car's name as the "Pious," which I thought was a delightful Freudian slip if inadvertent, and a great pun if deliberate.)

I've made a bit of a cause out of this sort of thing. I've said numerous times that the children of politicians should be off-limits for political attacks, and I still stand by that.

There are times when it is entirely appropriate to discuss such things. But I use a couple of questions that I use to judge whether the behavior of the children are worth public attention:

1) If the deeds were being done by someone not related to a prominent politician, would they be newsworthy?

2) Are the deeds of the child directly related to the prominence of the parent?

3) Is the child invoking the parent in their deeds?

4) Is the individual a public figure in their own right, or seeking to become one?

In the case of young Mr. Gore, I would have to say that the answer in each case is "no." (Some might make some hay out of his driving a Prius, but that's a hell of a stretch.) His driving record might make local news, as he's obviously a committed threat to others' safety on the road, but it's hardly national news. His driving record is not germane to his father's prominence (unlike, say, the apparently-genetic tendency of Ted and Patrick Kennedy to get tanked and wreck cars). And his position as an editor of a magazine might be related to his father's prominence, but I'd hardly call it a position of national prominence.

Some have observed that when he was a child, young Mr. Gore was struck and severely injured by a car -- and the kinds of injuries he suffered can sometimes lead to a lifetime of problems. Quite frankly, I don't care. He's obviously a menace on the roads, and should be denied a license for some time. And he needs some serious help.

But the last thing he needs -- and the last thing he should want -- is to be used as a bludgeon against his father. I'd like to see the national spotlight on him fade away, and let him try to pull his life together.

Or not.

In the end, he's the only one that can decide which it will be. And it should not be a national spectator sport.


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Comments (37)

JT, if he was hit by a car ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, if he was hit by a car when he was younger, is that worth commenting on by your 4 points? Not criticizing, just pointing out, would we have heard of the accident if he was not Al Gores son.

When the Edward's lost their son, it was indeed a privite affair, but Johnny kept bringing it up. Why?

And of course there are the Bush twins who drank while underage and a great deal of hay was made of this by the left. No moral relavitism, just a point. Gov. Jeb Bush daughter had/has a drug problem, a lot of terrible comments from the left. GW Bush may have had a drinking problem in his youth, before he was Gov. and President. So GHW Bush's son drank so the left should not mention it? The left of course will be vile and crude to any republican or their children. But when it is reversed, they have "moral outrage."

I do not want to make anything of Algore III drug problems, except to say I hope he loses his license. But that will not happen, because he is Al Gores son. Such irony. ww

Gore-ly does not need help.... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Gore-ly does not need help. All he has to do is open his mouth (which looks as if he has been from his size) to get the rants going. His son has nothing to do with that.

Heh, the only thing I got o... (Below threshold)
markm:

Heh, the only thing I got out of this debacle is that....a freekin' Prius P.O.S. can go 100mph??????????????....and is that on engine only or motor assist????

I don't think the "Pious" w... (Below threshold)
cirby:

I don't think the "Pious" was a misspelling so much as a South Park reference.

And I still think Gore III should be supported for following in his father's "do as I say, not as I do" footsteps (driving a hybrid so fast it gets crappy mileage).

(As I pointed out somewhere else, if you're going to drive like hell in Southern California with a crapload of drugs in your car, it should be a convertible Cadillac, and there should be a Samoan riding shotgun.)

Yeah, like the Bush twins a... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

Yeah, like the Bush twins are ~never~ brought up in public ...

Well spoken, Jay.... (Below threshold)

Well spoken, Jay.

Hear, hear, Jay. I don't c... (Below threshold)

Hear, hear, Jay. I don't care what a waste Al Gore III has become, and I don't need to know.

You're right that a child s... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

You're right that a child shouldn't be the total litmus test of the parent, however, the bible has a relevant quote...

1Ti 3:4, 5
One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

And this is a good point. The first, and most important test of a person's leadership is how they run their own house. If it's in chaos, or they have constant money problems, then how can you expect anything different if they lead others.

And before you guys gloat too much about Gore, remember the Tequila Twins.

Jay, I agree with your asse... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Jay, I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly. Besides, it's not like we don't have enough material with which to mock Al Gore Jr. without bringing his children into it.

I don't think Albert Gore J... (Below threshold)
langtry:

I don't think Albert Gore Jr should be used as a bludgeon against his father, but I certainly think we can and should judge Albert Gore Sr by the actions of his son.

I think Gore Jr has been out of control for years (a rap sheet going back to a 2000 for driving under the influence, IIRC) and, like many privileged children before him, Gore Jr doesn't seem to think (know?) his parents will come down on him for his actions.

After all, Al & Tipper likely never have.

That probable fact appears to be evidence of a chronic and willful ignorance on Gore Sr's part. He's so busy "saving the world" (in the most-self-aggrandizing way possible) that he doesn't appear to care about Jr's chronic drug abuse. The House of Gore is clearly in disarray, and Gore Sr haa no business telling the rest of the world how to live. Yet this simple lesson seems to elude the ambitious and vainglorious Gores.

Sooner or later, the driver... (Below threshold)
kim:

Sooner or later, the driver's license people are going to get involved because somebody isn't going to want the state liable for granting this unfortunate human the privilege of driving.
================================

langtry, you are a generat... (Below threshold)

langtry, you are a generation off in your references.

I disagree.As I sa... (Below threshold)
Peter Galamaga:

I disagree.

As I said before - Al Gore is now a celebrity - not a politician. He holds no office nor is he running for one.

He is telling me how to live my life AND is critical of how I choose to live my life. I think it's fair to point out that he can't manage his own affairs in the spirit of "people in glass houses."

Al Gore has probably done e... (Below threshold)

Al Gore has probably done everything he can for his son and it probably pains him enough to watch Jr. ruin his life without having to contend with a thoughtless and careless media helping people come draw conclusions and form opinions on a family's private matter.

I completely disagree with Al Gore's "consensus" argument and the tactics he uses to promote his global Warming argument, but for the life of me I can't understand why it somehow means that I should be interested in his son's actions that have no bearing on his father's public life.

These people should be left alone to deal with private family matters without the glaring eye of the media and readers formulating any opinion of it.

I don't care if it's Gore's... (Below threshold)
hermie:

I don't care if it's Gore's son or not.

I just want to know how the (bleep) can a Prius go 100 MPH?

Commentator "langtry" is ex... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Commentator "langtry" is exactly right. Al Gore III has a long history of problems, including an episode in Maryland where he was driving at an excessive rate of speed that called for mandatory prosecution for driving to endanger. Somehow, magically, the charges were never filed. Somehow, magically, the New York Times (and others) found out about it but failed to publish a story. (Someone at the Times was obviously PO'ed about it because they dropped a dime to a British newspaper who flew a reporter across the pond to write about it.) Even after the story broke - in Britain - no one took Al Gore III to court.

Several facts should be considered when looking at this story:
1. Al Gore III should have been prosecuted years ago for these misdeeds.
2. He didn't because his father was a powerful man who shielded him from the law.
3. He is lucky that he didn't kill himself and others because he never learned limits or self-control.
4. Vice President Al Gore Jr. has made Al Gore III's life more difficult by enabling him, in particular, by shielding him from the consequences of his actions.
5. The press has helped by keeping all this relatively quiet, because it advances their agenda. And his parents don't appear to have done much to reign-in any of the kids.
6. The double standard is obvious. Many of Al Gore III's misdeeds were well known during the 2000 election, but only the Jenna Bush stories were published. The obvious idea was that Jenna's story showed that the Bush household had problems, so how could we trust the Father to be leader of the free world?
7. The interesting thing about the Bush family is that President Bush did have to face consequences for his drunk driving episode, and even after his father became President, that record was not eliminated. You can make the case that the drunk driving laws were very lax in those days, but he did face the music according to the standards of the day. Even better, Jenna had to go to court and take the consequences for her actions. Daddy didn't make it go away.
8. Now that Al Gore Jr. isn't that important to the MSM and it's agenda, no one is going to cover up Al Gore III's problems. Junior and Junior-Junior had better wise up.

AG III received protection ... (Below threshold)
GeminiChuck:

AG III received protection from prosecution that even Paris Hilton couldnt get. Perhaps if he was prosecuted as PH was, he would have learned long ago that jail is unpleasent and straightened out.

BTW, just what kind of mileage does a Prius get at 100? I mean is it still environmentally friendly? or do I have to go out and by more of those f'kn florescent bulbs to make up for excessive carbon usage by yet another Gore? gc

Young Al was caught smoking... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Young Al was caught smoking pot in his room at St. Albans at age 13. Yes, 13!!! When the school wanted to discipline him, Big Al had a hissy fit. He also got the media to keep it quiet.

What did all of this teach the young impressionable Al Gore III? That actions have no consequences and daddy will take care of the messes he creates the rest of his life.

Good going, Mr. Gore. How do you like the results?

I have no political comment... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I have no political comment or point of view on this. But I will say this:

Was I the only person who was surprised that a Toyota Prius could go 100 mph?

As I said in the original t... (Below threshold)

As I said in the original thread, Publicus, perhaps if it was going downhill. With a tailwind.

So the Lefty defense is tha... (Below threshold)
Dirk:

So the Lefty defense is that Al Gore's son has brain damage? Strange, I would have guessed his father..

Give me a break. The Bush daughters could have been retarded and these gimps would have still vicisiously insulted them for drinking underage like 99.9% of American kids do.

Jay Tea:You fail t... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Jay Tea:

You fail to hit upon a few more distinguishing factors:

1) Is the "child" an adult? I would argue that politicians' offspring should be covered by a different set of rules when they become adults.

2) What influence does the "child" have over the politician parent? Karenna Gore Schiff, to re-invoke an example, was one of Gore's major advisers during his 2000 campaign. Even though this might fall under the rubric of one of your existing points, it strikes me that this is worth breaking out separately.

3) Does the child's action(s) reflect in some way on the politician parent? This might be a bit of a gray area, as we start venturing a bit much into a child's privae behavior. But don't the "child's" actions, particularly an adult child's actions, take on a new light if, for example, the son of a crusading anti-gambling candidate frequents riverboat casinos?

--|PW|-

Face it. No matter what you... (Below threshold)
dingoatemebaby:

Face it. No matter what your politics, a lot of people in this country love to slow down for a car wreck.

But don't the "chi... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
But don't the "child's" actions, particularly an adult child's actions, take on a new light if, for example, the son of a crusading anti-gambling candidate frequents riverboat casinos?

Uh no. How does anti-gambling candidate legally keep his adult son from gambling? His son's certainly is not indicative of hypocrisy unless the candidate somehow tries to excuse his son's behavior.

I see a double standard in ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I see a double standard in the media concerning the Bush twins and this person. But two wrongs don't make a right.

But then again, who's going to bring those that propagated the Bush Twin stories to account? No one, really. Returning the behavior in kind is sometimes the only way to bring people to the table to end it. The reason I'm suggesting the latter approach is that the Bush twins didn't ask to be public figures. They were vilified only as a tool to hurt Bush. That really isn't fair and you can hold a stiff upper lip for yourself as a politician, but children especially under 18 shouldn't have to.

An how do you go 100 in a P... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

An how do you go 100 in a Prius? Even if you can, what would poses you to do that.

How does anti-gamb... (Below threshold)
pennywit:
How does anti-gambling candidate legally keep his adult son from gambling? His son's certainly is not indicative of hypocrisy unless the candidate somehow tries to excuse his son's behavior.

Legally, perhaps he can't. But would be interested in candidate's attitude toward that adult son's activities. Does he approve? Disapprove? Publicly disavow his son? The candidate's reaction would tell me a bit about the candidate himself.

But let's twist the hypo. What if the adult son had signed on as a lobbyist for the gambling industry?

--|PW|--

It's the Prius. That is wh... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

It's the Prius. That is what makes the story remarkable. If it had been a Caddy or some muscle car, big whoop. But over 100 in a Prius? That's news!

There is something to be sa... (Below threshold)

There is something to be said about the fact that the boy was in trouble when younger and his father saved his ass (I ain't sayin a word about smokin pot at 13) --

--and there's something to be said about a father throwing his kid into the deep end when he screws up and saying "you get yourself out of this."

I confess that if my son was busted for smoking pot at St. Albans, I'd do everything I could to get him a second chance.

A second chance.

But you can't keep throwing life preservers to a kid who can't (or won't) swim. Not sayin that's been Gore's SOP, but it wouldn't surprise me. It's the way it is with power people.

I said it yesterday and I w... (Below threshold)
Jaded:

I said it yesterday and I will say it again these elite's whether children of politicians or stars need to be held up to the ridicule they so richly deserve because there are lessons in their behavior for parents to use to show exactly what happens when one chooses to drink and drug and drive and if these elites do not get treated the way the rest of us would then the lesson is lost. I pray he gets jail time and his license is revoked and he should have to do community service and rehab anything less will just be because of what? oh yeah who his dad is.

"I do not wan... (Below threshold)
-S-:

"I do not want to make anything of Algore III drug problems, except to say I hope he loses his license. But that will not happen, because he is Al Gores son. Such irony. ww"

I think that's the essence of the reality of this situation, despite people's best intentions to avoid bringing this guy's problems into any "political" discussion.

I agree that no person's suffering should be reason to debate or discuss their relations and such as to politics and careers, but these issues are actually quite relevant. NOT discussing them is, perhaps, the problem.

In sentiment, Jay Tea, I agree with you (your points you identify), but in reality, the reality is that this guy's situation (Al Gore, III's) is relevant to Al Gore, II's (father of the III) politics and positions.

It's like the old expensive hair cuts problem with Edwards and his complaints about "two Americas" (poor versus the rich), and Al Gore's complaints about "global warming" and urges to buy carbon credits when he is so often captured violating what he promotes others do.

Acceleration ain't velocity... (Below threshold)
kim:

Acceleration ain't velocity, but electric engines have MONSTER torque.
===================

JT, the Today Show did a se... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, the Today Show did a segment of political kids. Guess whose got spotlighted? The lefties talk a good talk, but their walk sucks. ww

If you're going to talk pol... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

If you're going to talk political kids, Chelsea Clinton's probably a good model to look at, as she followed some cardinal rules:

1) Be gracious.
2) Behave
3) Don't embarrass Mom and Dad.

If she has misbehaved, she's certainly been discreet enough that she hasn't embarrassed her parents at all. As opposed, to, say, certain sons of former vice presidents.

--|PW|--

I'm very impressed with Che... (Below threshold)
kim:

I'm very impressed with Chelsea. Someone did some good parenting there. I'm not speaking to what I'm pretty sure are some thoroughly deluded political ideas she had the misfortune to be in the wrong time and place for, but personally, she has grace.
=======================

If Chelsea Clinton has chos... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

If Chelsea Clinton has chosen to mostly forswear politics after growing up in a house as politically oriented as her parents', I would not be surprised at all.

--|PW|--

Thank you Jay...and you kno... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Thank you Jay...and you know why..




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