There Go the Gores

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In an ideal world, the separation of Al and Tipper Gore would be noted in a court circular on the top of page 20 of the New York Times. "The First Lady has no engagements today. From Carthage House, the former Vice President and Mrs. Gore announce their separation." Alas, a broken marriage is now breaking news.


The Gores always hated the intensity of the public spotlight on their family, particularly when it shone upon the occasional unusual activities of their children. The Gores never used their kids to advance their political careers, and it always struck them as unfair when their kids were used against them. (The moral paternalism of the Gores -- Tipper's crusade against rock music, Al's hectoring on global warming -- never rested on their having the perfect marriage.)

They will hate even more the speculation that is sure to follow their announcement. Remember how angry Tipper was when Hillary Clinton refused to separate from Bill Clinton after the Lewinsky affair? Was he...?  Did they...? These are questions that Kitty Kelley or someone will try to answer. They're unseemly to ask, but when you consent to enter public life, you consent to having a measure of your privacy invaded forever.

Divorce is always supposed to be "sad." Well, it usually is sad. But the children are grown. The two adults are self-sufficient, and they are pursuing their own happiness. So maybe this divorce is the best thing for the two of them. Being apart is sometimes better than being together. 

Aside from the lugubrious affectations of a certain segment of political society, for whom Gore is still the devil incarnate, there is nothing much to be said except for the fact that individually and as a couple, the two made significant contributions to America, and one wishes them well.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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