CBS News’s Sharyl Attkisson and the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn have a theory about the cause of the breakup of Al and Tipper Gore’s 40-year-old marriage. Apparently, it was all George W. Bush’s fault.
The theory goes like this: The devastation inflicted upon the Gores as a result of the 2000 Election was so horrendous that, 10 years later, their decades-long marriage could not survive the stress of it. Is there nothing horrible that happened in the first decade of the 21st Century that the man from Crawford, Texas, is not responsible for?
Ordinarily we would allow the ending of a political marriage that does not involve scandal to pass without comment. Al Gore’s politics may have been detestable, his behavior in the wake of the 2000 Campaign divisive, his environmental activism insane, and his Nobel Prize and Academy Award undeserved, but he does not deserve the pain of growing separate from a women with whom he obviously intended to grow old with. However we cannot allow to go unnoticed the idea that it was all Bush’s fault.
High profile political marriages by their very nature have to be strong in order to survive for any length of time. The office holder half of the couple, usually the man, is under constant assault by his political enemies. This sort of thing can be very hurtful for the spouse who loves him or her. Just ask Laura Bush, Todd Palin, or Nancy Reagan.
At the same time, political power can prove to be an aphrodisiac and thus a temptation for the male office holder than can be hard to resist. Just ask Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, and numerous others of both parties; the libertine Democrats and the family values Republicans both in equal measure. The public humiliation inflicted by a wayward husband and a public divorce is something often faced by a political wife. We can congratulate former Vice President Gore for not doing that at least.
But the idea that political loss is somehow an irreparable strain on a political marriage is not borne out by history. Most politicians, at one time, suffer defeat at the polls. But the sadness of being rejected by the electorate can be something that causes a political couple to grow together, not apart. Just ask Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, Michael and Kitty Dukkakis, George and Barbara Bush, and Bob and Elizabeth Dole (who each suffered defeat at the polls.)
Whatever the reason for the Gores splitting up, ten years after the infamous staged snogging at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, it is something likely complex and private and certainly nothing that George W. Bush ever did. Despite the obvious political differences, we wish Al and Tipper Gore well and hope that they get through what is ahead of them with a minimum of pain.
Source: “CBS Decides Al and Tipper’s Separation is the Fault of….George W. Bush,” Brent Baker, Newsbusters, June 1st, 2010