Tomorrow, Al Gore's new book, The Assault On Reasonwill be released. In it, the former Vice President asks some serious questions about where we are as a country, how we got here, and how we might get back on track - good timing, considering the recent polls indicate that the overwhelming majority of Americans think we are headed the wrong way.
You might think this is something any American of either party would want to talk about. You would be sadly mistaken.
Because instead of addressing the issues Gore raises, the right is already focusing on running old lies and half-truths run up the wing nut flagpole. Taylor Marsh did a great job debunking one of them, but another big one still lingers.
Mention Al Gore to any right wing spokesperson and on cue, they spit out:
The guy who claimed he invented the Internet!
They snicker, they chuckle, they high five themselves into happiness, but there's one little problem.
Al Gore never said that. Seriously.
You wouldn't know by all the news links and articles and quotes and our beloved President Bush even ran a TV commercial in 2000 claiming that Gore said it, so let me repeat.
Al Gore never said that.
Here's the truth.
In March 1999, Vice President Al Gore was doing an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. In the course of that interview, he said:
"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
And guess what? It's true.
Let's quite Vincent Cerf, a man often called The Father of the Internet,
"The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."
Marc Andreesen, Internet pioneer who actually received federal funding thanks to Al Gore, who while Senator wrote the High Performance Computing Act also credits Gore. Another Internet expert, Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet "would not be where it is today."
Multiple early web pioneers say that Gore was the first political leader to grasp and understand the Internet and its possibilities. They all say it was his vision and yes, initiative, that helped turn the Internet into what it is today.
Al Gore took an essentially internal government program and set it free to the marketplace.
This is something he should be proud of. But it's not just reason that is under assault in our modern world, it's accomplishment. If you're child grew up to be fluent in a foreign language, would you be proud or shamed? Proud of course, but John Kerry's ability to speak French was a huge negative in 2004.
Not only should Al Gore get credit for this work on the web, but here it is, eight years after he was misquoted, and this is what they will lead with in their attacks on him.
Pre-order the book today or buy it in the store tomorrow. Sadly, what Al Gore says is true, and the reaction to the book proves it.
This week, stay tuned as the Right Wing attacks Al Gore and his book, not for what he says in the book, but directly and personally and with old lies.