Vidal has had a very unique political education: his grandfather was a blind U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, and when Gore was a child, he would read his letters to him.
In 1960, he ran as a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives from an upstate district in New York state and lost.
During the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago, ABC news hired Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley to provide commentary. Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto-Nazi," a modest slip of the tongue, he later said, because he was searching for the word "fascist" and it just didn't come out. Inflamed by the word "Nazi" and the whole tenor of the discussion, Buckley snapped: "Now listen, you queer," he said, "stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I'll sock you in you goddamn face and you'll stay plastered."
He is a cousin of the 2000 Democratic candidate for President, Al Gore.
Vidal knows where the bodies are buried, and U.S. history has had quite a few. His warnings about why we should not invade Iraq have been vindicated.
If Vidal has become cynical, it is because he has seen that instead of us always being the "good guys," often it's just the opposite.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara has estimated that during the war in Vietnam that 2,000,000 (two million) Vietnamese were killed. Rather than being an exception, the massacre at My Lai was in a "free fire zone" where the orders for the U.S. military were to "kill anything that moves." How evil is that? While we are told that we fight overseas to promote Democracy, in Vietnam we prevented the free elections which were promised to be held in 1956, because, as President Eisenhower said, "Ho Chi Minh would have received 80% of the vote."