Ever since CNBC’s Rick Santelli inspired the Tea Party movement’s creation in early 2009, the left has been looking for a similar spark on their own side. The earliest liberal alternative, the so-called Coffee Party, was a flop. But former Vice President Al Gore insists such a movement still needs to be invented.
On Tuesday’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” Gore made an appearance on his own network, Current TV, for the second night in a row. This time it was to respond to the debt ceiling legislation agreed upon by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Gore said the new law demands the “reinvigoration of democracy” or an “American spring,” to get the country back on what he thinks is the right course. (Al Gore: ‘Our system of government, itself, is in real trouble’)
“[I] want to focus on one particular suggestion you had about using the wonderful digital tools that are newly available for the reinvigoration of democracy,” Gore said. “Now, they have been around for a while, but they are spreading far and wide and more people are getting involved. We need to have an American spring — you know, the Arab spring. The non-violent part of it isn’t finished yet, but we need to have an American spring, a kind of an American non-violent change where people on the grassroots get involved again. Not the, you know, not in the Tea Party-style.”
Gore took his attack to favorite left-wing targets: the Fox News Channel, and David and Charles Koch.
“There are people who are genuinely upset in the Tea Party,” Gore continued. “I understand that, but that movement was funded with seed money from right-wing billionaires, the Koch Brothers, and promoted on Fox News and turned into a stalking horse for this right-wing agenda that a lot of people have been trying to push on this country for a long time.”
According to the former vice president, this movement was instituted behind the scenes to clear the government out of the way of special interests.
“What’s sacrosanct for them is to have absolutely no tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. They are at a low level now. And to try to shrink down government so they can get it out of the way of powerful corporations and special interests so they can have free rein,” Gore said. “And the Supreme Court, of course, has now declared that they are persons and to make these secret contributions”
“I want to tell you, Keith, this country is in trouble,” Gore continued. “Our democracy has been withering on the vine. It really has been. This has been going on for some time. But this is not event that can be taken lightly. I know it’s difficult to imagine that people who care about the values that this country was based on will rise up and get much more involved in the democratic process. But that is exactly what we need and that is the only thing that can get our country back on the right track.”