Many of us first noticed the tactic when Karl Rove was dealing with a campaign in which the other guy was dripping with accomplishments, a public activist on many levels, and proven leader. This was a problem when Rove's guy was pretty much a spoiled rich kid recovering alchoholic party boy with Bin Laden family associations, business failures, and a fair record of non accomplishment. Rove's method can be boiled down to "Smear the truth, Repeat, repeat, repeat the lie." So it was with Al Gore and George W. Bush in the 2000 Presidential campaign.
Among Al Gore's many accomplishments was the fact that he recognized the potential of a World Wide Web early on. At every opportunity, Gore pushed for ways to bring his shared vision of the information super highway into reality. From an article by Mountain Democrat columnist David Jacobson, in which he notes the claim that Gore said he "invented" the Internet is an outright lie.
But the real question is what, if anything, did Gore actually do to create the modern Internet? According to Vincent Cerf, a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom who's been called the Father of the Internet, "The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator."
The inventor of the Mosaic Browser, Marc Andreesen, credits Gore with making his work possible. He received a federal grant through Gore's High Performance Computing Act. The University of Pennsylvania's Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet "would not be where it is today."
Joseph E. Traub, a computer science professor at Columbia University, claims that Gore "was perhaps the first political leader to grasp the importance of networking the country. Could we perhaps see an end to cheap shots from politicians and pundits about inventing the Internet?"
So Gore had done exactly what he claimed, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
But ask a Republican about this and nine times out of ten they will joke about Gore claiming he invented the Internet. (I'm being generous here because I have yet to run across a Republican who gives Al Gore his due.)
This brings us around to the Internet hall of Fame, which I predict will soon be disparaged and denigrated by Conservative pundits because Al Gore has been named one of the inductees.
Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States, was a key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet. Instrumental in helping to create the “Information Superhighway,” Gore was one of the first government officials to recognize that the Internet’s impact could reach beyond academia to fuel educational and economic growth as well.
In this media age which saw 68% of American believing Saddam Hussein was in part responsible for 9-11 and not one single news person asked George W. Bush about his business association with Osama Bin Laden's brother, Salem, I wonder if we'll see Al get his due?
I'm not expecting it to happen.