Modern campaign reality…

Al Gore says that, if he runs for President in ’04, he’ll run a different kind of campaign–unscripted and “from the heart.” What this means is: He’ll run a campaign that’s scripted to appear to be unscripted and “from the heart.” From the New York Times article:

To hear Al Gore describe it, if he runs for president in 2004, it will be unlike the way any major candidate has ever run for the White House. He will speak from the heart rather than from a briefing book, leaving behind trappings like consultants, cookie-cutter rallies and the routine vetting of every speech with a pollster before taking it to the voters.

“I think there is virtue in just taking an unvarnished position as to what the best solution might be, and let the chips fall where they may,” Mr. Gore said in an interview here.

That would be a difficult task for any candidate in these days of precision polling and armies of focus groups.

Difficult task? (Rhetoricians call this litotes.) This is just plain impossible. I feel safe in asserting that no modern candidate can win the presidency without a well-scripted campaign designed to take advantage of the structural biases of the news media and modern polling. To believe otherwise is to misunderstand how campaigning works in the age of television. Gore knows this. What is he thinking?