Originally created 09/23/99

Hold Gore accountable



Matters haven't been going too well for Vice President Al Gore lately as polls show challenger Bill Bradley running nearly even with him in several Democrat presidential primary states.

The veep can't expect much improvement as the House Banking Committee holds hearings this week into the multi-billion dollar Russia money-laundering scandal.

Until recently Gore touted his role as point man for the administration in relations with Russia, especially financial dealings, as an example of his leadership qualities and foreign policy expertise.

Now he's trying to back off it, just like he's trying to "distance" himself from his boss' deplorable marital infidelities and lies, even though Gore was President Clinton's staunchest defender during the impeachment proceedings.

But we don't think this latter-day Pontius Pilate can wash his hands of the tens of billions stolen by corrupt Russian elites from Western lending agencies, funded largely by U.S. taxpayers.

Also, notes GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes, under Gore's (not so) watchful eyes, "Russia's robber barons rake in billions through the sale of coal, oil and other minerals -- and yet their workers are not paid. Russian coal miners are provided enough food to live, but their money wages are sporadic or non-existent."

Forbes goes on to make the charge, which we think the hearings will bear out, that the vice president was told about the looting of Russia by U.S. intelligence organizations yet chose to ignore the warnings. Or as Forbes puts it, "Gore fiddles while Russia's economic house burns to the ground."

What arrogance for Gore to believe he can take the credit when Russian policy is going well, and duck the blame when it goes sour.

His charismatic boss has gotten away with that kind of duplicitous double standard, but it's becoming increasingly clear that a Clinton-fatigued public is holding Gore accountable for what he does and doesn't do.