Al Gore is my president

If you missed the Saturday Night Live opening from May 13, you can be forgiven. SNL is only so-so these days, although it’s better than it was three or four years ago. We pick it up on TiVo and then only occasionally actually watch it, when we’ve run out of Friends reruns and every Law & Order episode ever made.

However, if you missed this particular opening, you missed some brilliant satire. (Which you can watch here; Dan knows I never advocate stealing TV, but I’m making an exception.) It featured Al Gore โ€” yes, the actual Al Gore โ€” in an alternate reality in which he had been president for the last six years. It was, of course, ridiculously silly about “what might have been.” For example: “We are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history: we have way too much gas. Gas is down to 19ยข a gallon … I realize I’m partly to blame for insisting that all cars run on trash.”

I’m not saying that it was accurate or real or arguing that Gore should have been president this whole time or anything like that. I’ve moved on. However, the sketch featured a perfect upending of the Bush universe: too much gas, global warming reversed, Americans beloved around the world, no war, and, my personal favorite, G. W. B. as baseball commissioner instead of president, which is probably a lot more suited to his “talents.” Whether Gore could have achieved these things or not, the reality is that Bush has achieved their opposites.

In addition to laughing my ass off, though, I felt very poignantly again how much I like Gore and wish he would have won. He’s well-spoken and classy, and I’d far rather have him representing my country than Bush. The sketch also demonstrated that he’s fully capable of poking fun at himself, contrary to popular belief. Jacob Weisberg’s recent article in Slate says that at his current speaking engagements, Gore is “coy” about whether or not he’ll run in 2008 and that the point Gore seems to be making often is “that we made a big mistake not electing him the last time, and we’d be lucky if he gave us another chance.” We should be so lucky.

“Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.” โ€” Al Gore concession speech, 2000. And it’s true: Al looks better in defeat than Bush ever has in victory.

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