Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gushing all over Gore

I used to think TIME magazine was just an objective journalistic (a redundancy once upon a time) compilation of current events. That was back in my younger (liberal) days. These days when I read articles such as The Last Temptation of Al Gore by Eric Pooley, I get the feeling that I’m living on another planet. Here are a few excerpts from that lengthy piece: [WARNING: EXPLICIT PABLUM AHEAD]

"…In other words, you would want someone like Al Gore—the improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet with an army of followers and huge reserves of political and cultural capital at his command… [Feel giddy yet?]

…"In the face of wrenching disappointment, he showed enormous discipline—waking up every day knowing he came so close, believing the Supreme Court was dead wrong to shut down the Florida recount but never talking about it publicly because he didn't want Americans to lose faith in their system. That changes a man forever.

…"Perhaps that feeling never comes over him. Maybe Obama or Clinton or John Edwards achieves bulletproof inevitability and Gore never sees his opening. But if it does come, if at some point in the next five months or so the leader stumbles and the party has one of its periodic crises of faith, then he will have to decide once and for all whether to take a final shot at reaching his life's dream. It's the Last Temptation of Gore [ messianic tendencies?], and it's one reason he has been so careful not to rule out a presidential bid. Is it far-fetched to think that his grass-roots climate campaign could yet turn into a presidential one? As the recovering politician himself says, "You always have to worry about a relapse." ["Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones..."- Isaiah 32:11-11]

..."For now, at least, Gore is firmly in the program. He's working mightily to build a popular movement to confront what he calls "the most serious crisis we've ever faced."

"In tandem with Hurricane Katrina and a rising chorus of warning from climate scientists, Gore's film helped trigger one of the most dramatic opinion shifts in history as Americans suddenly realized they must change the way they live. In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, an overwhelming majority of those surveyed—90% of Democrats, 80% of independents, 60% of Republicans—said they favor "immediate action" to confront the crisis.

…"I feel like the country singer who spends 30 years on the road to become an overnight sensation," he said with a smile…

..."That night, at the university of buffalo's Alumni Arena, there was a moment when Gore seemed to be doing just that. After the people—students, middle-aged men and women, retirees—took their seats, images of the earth appeared on three giant screens, and a natural-born teacher took them on a two-hour planetary tour. He was playful, eloquent, fully restored from his afternoon lull. He has given this presentation some 2,000 times yet still imbues it with a sense of discovery. He laid out the overwhelming evidence that human activity has given the earth a raging fever, then urged the people to respond—"If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate the baby's flame retardant! If the crib's on fire, you save the baby!"…

...“I'm trying to say to you, be a part of the change," he told the crowd. "No one else is going to do it. The politicians are paralyzed. The people have to do it for themselves! [POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!] " He was getting charged up now. "Our democracy hasn't been working very well—that's my opinion. We've made a bunch of serious policy mistakes. But it's way too simple and way too partisan to blame the Bush-Cheney Administration. We've got checks and balances, an independent judiciary, a free press, a Congress—have they all failed us? Have we failed ourselves?"

[PLEASE KEEP GAG-RESPONSE IN CHECK AS YOU CONTINUE] …"As it happens, these are the themes that animate The Assault on Reason [ironically or aptly named], Gore's new book (an excerpt follows). The crowd seemed to like them—people were hollering and stomping on the aluminum risers—and right on cue, a bright-eyed Buffalo student named Jessica Usborne stood up and asked the Question. "Given the urgency of global warming, shouldn't you not only educate people but also help implement the changes that will be necessary—by running for President?" The place erupted, and Usborne dipped down onto one knee and bowed her head. Her dark hair fell across her eyes and her voice rose. "Please! I'll vote for you!" she cried above the crowd's roar, which sounded like a rocket launcher and lasted almost 30 seconds, all but drowning out Gore's simple, muted, five-word response: "I'm not planning to run."

…"He has never opened up publicly about the Florida debacle, and even in private he avoids the topic. Friends say he thinks the Supreme Court basically stole the election, but he won't say it. He has never indulged in postmortems…”
[Later in the article]: “Trust me on this. If audiences had an unlimited attention span, I'd be in my second term as President." …

…"Gore often compares the climate crisis to the gathering storm of fascism in the 1930s, and he quotes Winston Churchill's warning that "the era of procrastination" is giving way to "a period of consequences." To his followers, Gore is Churchill—the leader who sounds the alarm. And if no declared candidate steps up to lead on this issue, many of them believe he will have a "moral obligation"—you hear the phrase over and over—to jump in…" [Churchill also said "A lie gets half way around the world before truth has a chance to get its pants on."]

..."Why do reason, logic and truth seem to play a diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions?," writes Al Gore in his new book "

I could not agree more…for obvious reasons.

Extra note: James Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wrote in The New York Review of Books: “Al Gore may have done for global warming what Rachel Carson's ‘Silent Spring’ did for pesticides.”…Hmmmm

Extra noteII: There Is Hope for the Next Generation [Steven Hayward]
A high school kid named Kristen Byrnes in Portland, Maine, had enough of having Al Gore crammed down her throat in class, so she created this terrific website to push back . (from National Review Online)

[All brackets and emphases mine]