Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman, on Al Gore's appearance before a House committee considering global warming legislation:
"I have read all 648 pages of this bill," Gore bragged, a boast that would surprise no one who caught his teacher's-pet performance in the 2000 presidential race. "It took me two transcontinental flights on United Airlines to finish it."
The schoolhouse metaphor is appropriate, if not for the reason Kellman thinks. There are perhaps only two groups of people who view knowledge as a flaw, and ignorance as an asset: Seventh-graders, and the Washington press corps.
For years leading up to the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore committed the sins of taking policy seriously, and of knowing what he was talking about. As punishment for those sins, reporters like Kellman mocked him as a "teacher's-pet" and a dull, lifeless buffoon. They propped up a dim-witted Texan (by way of Greenwich Country Day, Andover, Harvard, and Yale) who had run business after business into the ground, and skipped out on the National Guard service that kept him out of Vietnam by virtue of his father's accomplishments. On the other hand, he called reporters "Stretch," and they loved him for it. And so George W. Bush became president.
Given what happened over the following eight years, you would think the media would have enough of a guilty conscience that they would avoid treating Al Gore with precisely the same petty, stupid middle-school-cafeteria derision that led to thousands of deaths in an unnecessary war, torture, warrantless surveillance, a stunningly incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, and a Vice President whose shooting of a friend in the face doesn't even rank among his top fifty most offensive actions.
But no: Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman is still pointing and laughing at Al Gore, because he bothered to read legislation that deals with his life's work before testifying about it. What a nerd.
Oh, by the way: Gore wasn't bragging. He was answering a direct question.