PATRIOTIC GORE: For the past month, music-industry mavens have hotly debated the impact of a recent pow-wow between top record execs and Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.) and wife Tipper. Word got out far and wide about the parley, largely thanks to a richly detailed Daily Variety account by reporter Henry Schipper--who apparently had access to a secret tape of the meeting, provided (depending on whom you believe) either by one of the rock moguls or the Gores themselves. If industry execs on hand seemed skeptical, the Gores appeared downright contrite, with Albert Gore going to great lengths to downplay his high-profile participation in earlier Senate committee hearings on rock lyrics.
How has the Gore apology played with tastemakers in the heartland, where a host of critical Democratic primaries unfold next spring? Not so well, if you believe Chicago Tribune political columnist Clarence Page's recent account of the affair. Page's take on the Gores' new image:
"Tipper Gore's crusade to clean the raunch out of rock music has run aground, it appears, in the shallow waters of political reality. . . . While other candidates are getting millions from their various supporters in the Tinsel Town crowd, Al Gore has been left rattling his tin cup. If any couple should have been able to capitalize on their youth, it is the Gores, a handsome, politically moderate couple who have not yet hit age 40. Instead, Al and Tipper are perceived as, well, young fogies, baby boomers who admit to having tasted marijuana and Bruce Springsteen but now want to spoil the upcoming generation's fun."