Would-be president Al Gore gave a stirring speech at New York University this week, unleashing one of the most passionate condemnations of the Bush administration.

Gore lambasted the Bush administration for "twisted values and atrocious policies," the media widely reported.

"He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation," he charged.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd fires her opening salvo:

An outraged president called yesterday for the immediate resignations of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Douglas Feith and Stephen Cambone.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the president in the White House. It was the shadow president, the one who won the popular vote.

Bob Herbert of The New York Times gives weight to some of Gore's recent positions, writing:

In the view of Mr. Gore (and many others), the essential problem has been the triumph in the Bush crowd of ideology over reality. The true believers knew everything better than everybody else, and the arrogance born of that certainty led, step by tragic step, to the war with no exit doors that we are locked in today.

That arrogance gave rise to the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, the contempt for international agreements like the Geneva Conventions, the dismissal of concerns by some of the highest-ranking military professionals about the way a war in Iraq should be fought and the willingness of top administration figures to blow smoke in the eyes of ordinary Americans who were traumatized by Sept. 11 and worried about the possibility of further terrorist attacks.

"The same preference for ideology over reality has turned trillion-dollar surpluses into multitrillion-dollar deficits," said Mr. Gore. "And that same approach has led to the locking up of American citizens without recourse to lawyers or access to courts or even a right of their families to know they're being held in secret."

Herbert then challenges Gore's critics to "challenge him on his facts."

Gore's assessment, via Herbert's op-ed piece, of what it the United States represents was goosebump-inducing.

"What makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations, more than the people of any other nation."

Curiously, I can't seem to find the text of his speech on the Web, so if someone has it, please let me know where to find it.


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