In all my years of Today-watching, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like the display Matt Lauer put on this morning. In beseeching Al Gore to run for president, Lauer literally portrayed him as the planet's potential savior.
"If you were to run for president, you could take this issue to the next level, even if just during a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you would sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make . . . " Matt stopped himself at the immensity of the prospect before exclaiming "you could be in a position to save the planet!"
So stunning was Lauer's sycophancy that it induced an embarrassed chuckle from Gore himself. Al collected himself, letting Matt know that he "appreciate[d] the impulse behind the question" but adding that he is not planning to run. Matt wouldn't take no for an answer: "but as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do, and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again? Because although you're a former vice-president being a sitting president would give you a much higher and more powerful platform."
Al again thanked Matt for his endorsement: "I appreciate that very much."
Matt gave it one last try at interview's end: "What are the chances that someone reaches out to you, makes a phone call, and gets you to upend this race?"
Matt Lauer, folks - keeping hope alive.
Finkelstein, who recently returned from Iraq, lives in Ithaca, NY where he hosts the award-winning 'Right Angle TV'. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org