Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Destiny's Call

Eric Pooley of Time Magazine says,

Let's say you were dreaming up the perfect stealth candidate for 2008 ... a candidate with the grassroots appeal of Barack Obama—someone with a message that transcends politics, someone who spoke out loud and clear and early against the war in Iraq. But you would also want a candidate with the operational toughness of Hillary Clinton ... In other words, you would want someone like Al Gore—the improbably charismatic, Academy Award–winning, Nobel Prize–nominated environmental prophet". ...


The Assault on Reason will be hailed and condemned as Gore's return to political combat. But at heart, it is a patient, meticulous examination of how the participatory democracy envisioned by our founders has gone awry—how the American marketplace of ideas has gradually devolved into a home-shopping network of 30-second ads and mall-tested phrases, a huckster's paradise that sells simulated participation to a public that has all but lost the ability to engage. ... Gore hopes that the Internet, which is so good at inviting people back into the conversation, will be the key to restoring American democracy. "It's going to take time," he says. "After all, we've been veering off course for a while."

The call to arms is not just stirring, say Gore's followers, it's Churchillian.

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. ...

"It aggravates me when people say, 'He's the real Al Gore now' or 'He's changed,'" says Tipper. "Excuse me! He hasn't changed that much. ... So I see the same person, and I also see a new person who is free and liberated and doing exactly what he wants to do. And that is fabulous."..

That's the person Gore would risk losing if he re-entered politics. "He learned something from his very difficult time after 2000," says Schmidt. "I think he got more comfortable with who he is. He had to go through a difficult personal transformation in order to achieve greatness. That sets him up for the next chapter. I have no idea what he'll do. My advice is to do whatever he's most passionate about. Because that is working."

Whatever you think of Al Gore, this much is true: there's a real and avid market out there for the kind of message he preaches. A section of the public that can't be bothered to believe in the reality of terrorism is out there battling Global Warming. To them that's reality. And that fact is data.

31 Comments:

Blogger John Lynch said...

Transcends politics, huh? Like, a war?

5/29/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Gore has found his calling. I do hope he stays with it and can stop himself before he runs again.

But over-riding our parents' dictates can prove very hard...this is a man who got C's and D's in undergrad environmental science classes, who failed at two attempts at master's degrees, and has never exhibited more than a third class intellect.

Such is the price one pays for never breaking free of Daddy's coattails.

5/29/2007 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

By any chance, did Mr. Gore have his message tested in focus groups before making his sales pitch to the rest of us?

5/29/2007 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger rickl said...

Gore often compares the climate crisis to the gathering storm of fascism in the 1930s

The man is insane.

5/29/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

I don't know. Would you rather have Murtha. I think Gore is a good man and a smart man. Maybe not as smart as he thinks, but pretty capable. It takes a big ego to succeed in politics, but it doesn't take a lot of school learnin'. I disagree with his position on the war, but I am certainly one of the buyers on his environmental pitch. I'd rather have Joe Lieberman, for sure, but there are so many worse than Gore that it's hard to count them all.

5/29/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger rickl said...

What I mean to say is that we have a REAL "gathering storm of fascism" today, and it ain't the climate.

Al, does the word "Islam" ring a bell? Didn't think so.

5/29/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Gore is a fool, and so are those who are backing him.

People LAUGH at him. For one simple reason, easily grasped by all who look at him: he doesn't believe in what he is saying.

Look at his Mansion. His Jets. His $12,000 monthly power bill.

Al Gore doesn't believe what he's saying because he doesn't walk the walk. If he believed in Global Warming he'd live like Ed Begley Jr. Who has a nice lifestyle.

People just laugh at Gore. Who was so stiff and robotic that the natural charm and charisma and ease in his own skin of George W. Bush prevailed against him. Haha. Al Gore is the punchline in a Jay Leno Tonight Show joke.

What Gore's big push does show is that there is a tremendous appetite among the upper class rich to tell ordinary people how to live their lives: one square of toilet paper per bathroom visit, no ordinary light bulbs any more, but expensive flourescents, and goodbye to the old auto. Oh, you don't have a biodiesel limo? Well, too bad for you.

OF COURSE the elites are desperate to assert their "superiority" and social power by regulating and controlling every aspect of ordinary people's lives. And of course they are bitterly resented for it.

Sheryl Crowe is a laughingstock. Paris Hilton deeply resented and her jail time gleefully awaited. Jimmy Kimmel on ABC does regular segments of "This is What Jail is Like" to "prepare" Paris Hilton for jail to huge laughs by his audience. I imagine Lindsay Lohan will generate even bigger laughs.

And so too, Al Gore. He tied his political resurrection to something that he can't face: if he believes Global Warming is real, why is living bigger than a rock star?

Al Gore is Jimmy Swaggart preaching abstinence and then announcing "I have sinned" with a $20 hooker in a cheap Metarie hotel (hometown btw of Britney Spears). And like Swaggart, Gore presages a cultural war over who and what forces control America.

It's been a while since we've had a populist revolt. And telling America to give up all their material well being for "the planet" when Gore lives in a mansion that Mick Jagger would find excessive isn't going to go over very well. If anything like Swaggart he could produce a counter-reaction.

Particularly since Republicans are openly rejecting GWB as "Wilsonian Liberal."

5/29/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

jj mollo , on Gore - It takes a big ego to succeed in politics, but it doesn't take a lot of school learnin'.

As our current President demonstrates.
No letting facts stand in the way of a good ideological conviction or a faulty assessment of a subordinates abilities.

I don't know. Would you rather have Murtha?

Great OLD, nutty strawman.

Maybe not as smart as he thinks, but pretty capable.

It's nice to tink Noble Algore would have done better than Bush if he had been elected in 2,000 - but voters hope for something better than a "coulda been" 8 years later. The independents have seen Gore become unhinged. They have seen a smug self-righteous man who wants government to regulate and control all aspects of ordinary citizens life choices - their carbon footprint permissable cars, fridges, lightbulbs, and approved barbecue and lawnmowers allowed. What firearms, if any, the government should decree as OK. What is the maximum permissable daily toilet paper and energy use (except for highly enlightened people that purchase carbon credits)...Eexcept of course things so special the government has no right meddling in. Like abortion at will, affirmative action, the privacy rights of terrorists to do as they must without the Nazi snooping into their lives, and gay anal sex. Plenty of gay anal sex. Preferably between happily married fudge packers...

There are plenty of past losers that could be dredged up. Many, like McCain, are already running. Along with Gore, why not Kerry, or Kennedy? How about Jerry Brown for President? Warren Beatty or George Clooney? Ross Perot's still kicking around and his daughter is happily married, so he can focuse past the government conspiracy to ruin her wedding plans to actually running the country.

5/29/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

This thread is disgusting.

Shame on America that a man like Algore has any space in the general media. He could be the subject of some far out mental aberration study in which father to son dementia is chronicled and studied by unknown specialists.

Here he comes again!

Mercy Lord.

I like Fred Thompson. I like the former U.N. rep. Mr. Bolton.

Iraq is turning around. Petraeus for President.

Now I feel better.

5/29/2007 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

You have to to pitch your case high enough to attract a devoted following. Humanity has an inherent attraction for the numinous, an inbuilt desire to find meaning in life, a call to religious expression. To tap into it, an aspiring leader must espouse a cause which at the minimum professes to save the planet. Lesser causes will not do. As practical matter, it is difficult to get followers excited about incremental improvements. Who wants to die for a half percent reduction in the unemployment rate? But if you pitch it as suffering in the cause of Justice or Freedom, then you are getting somewhere.

Al Gore the candidate would simply be another politician. Only policy wonks and addicts of C-Span could distinguish him from Hillary Clinton. Politicians, we know from long experience, can make things only incrementally better. There is no excitement there, except for chronically nervous. But a prophet! That is something rarer. Armed with a prophecy Al Gore can attract the sort for whom nothing but the highest stakes will do. Voltaire knew this already. Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer. "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him".

Without Global Warming, real or imagined, Mr. Gore would probably be at loose ends.

5/29/2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Except, Wretchard, Al Gore is a prophet who does not believe his own prophecy.

If he believed it he would not have a $12K monthly power bill. Even the Playboy Mansion probably doesn't run up that bill.

That's why he's going nowhere.

Or put it this way: Tom Cruise may jump around on couches, but people think he's nuts. They still might see his movies. But fundamentally, they laugh at him.

Same with the Goreacle. And not even Lord Xenu will get him elected.

5/29/2007 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Live not by lies" - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Lie the Democratic Party has lived by throughout the Bush presidency is the lie that the 2000 election was "rigged" and that George Bush was somehow an illegitimate President. From this lie - which someone, somewhere, undoubtedly thought was just the thing to stir up the "grass roots" - all the other lies and and all the other pathologies follow. If a frightening percentage of Democrats believe in 9/11 conspiracy nonsense, it is because they were conditioned by the original Big Lie of 2000. If the Daily Kos and Democratic Underground boards look like a convention of maniacs, crypto-Communists and crypto-Nazis, it is because these are the kind of people attracted by Big Lies. And if the Democratic Party is no longer capable of fulfilling the role of a responsible opposition in a representative democracy, it is because of the Big Lie that Albert Gore has allowed - has in fact encouraged - to fester and corrupt for too many years. This is his legacy.

"You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I want to forget." - Joseph Conrad, HEART OF DARKNESS

5/29/2007 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

The Vulcan Utopia by David Brooks in NYTime$ on May 29, 2007:

... Al Gore’s “The Assault on Reason” is well worth reading. It reminds us that whatever the effects of our homogenizing mass culture, it is still possible for exceedingly strange individuals to rise to the top. Gore is, for example, a radical technological determinist. While most politicians react to people, Gore reacts to machines, and in this book he lays out a theory of history entirely driven by them. ... TV allows political demagogues to exaggerate dangers and stoke up fear. ...

Fortunately, another technology is here to save us. “The Internet is perhaps the greatest source of hope for re-establishing an open communications environment in which the conversation of democracy can flourish,” he writes. The Internet will restore reason, logic and the pursuit of truth. The first response to this argument is: Has Al Gore ever actually looked at the Internet? He spends much of this book praising cold, dispassionate logic, but is that really what he finds on most political blogs or in his e-mail folder?

... Some great philosopher should write a book about people — and there are many of them — who flee from discussions of substance and try to turn them into discussions of process. Utterly at a loss when asked to talk about virtue and justice, they try to shift attention to technology and methods of communication. They imagine that by altering machines they can alter the fundamentals of behavior, or at least avoid the dark thickets of human nature. ...

5/29/2007 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

John,

And did Marlowe -- could Marlowe -- have told the truth about Kurtz? What could the denizens of Brussels, "the sepulchral city ... hurrying through the streets to filch a little money from each other, to devour their infamous cookery, to gulp their unwholesome beer, to dream their insignificant and silly dreams" want to know about Kurtz or where their riches came from? What interest might they have in Kurtz, that "shadow insatiable of splendid appearances, of frightful realities; a shadow darker than the shadow of the night, and draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence." But Kurtz faced it. And his judgment on himself was "The horror! The horror!"

In the end Marlowe told his Kurtz's fiancee as much as she would accept -- she told him what she wanted to hear.

"`Forgive me. I--I have mourned so long in silence--in silence. . . . You were with him--to the last? I think of his loneliness. Nobody near to understand him as I would have understood. Perhaps no one to hear. . . .'

"`To the very end,' I said, shakily. `I heard his very last words. . . .' I stopped in a fright.

"`Repeat them,' she murmured in a heart-broken tone. `I want--I want--something--something--to--to live with.'

"I was on the point of crying at her, `Don't you hear them?' The dusk was repeating them in a persistent whisper all around us, in a whisper that seemed to swell menacingly like the first whisper of a rising wind. `The horror! The horror!'

"`His last word--to live with,' she insisted. `Don't you understand I loved him--I loved him--I loved him!'

"I pulled myself together and spoke slowly.

"`The last word he pronounced was--your name.'

"I heard a light sigh and then my heart stood still, stopped dead short by an exulting and terrible cry, by the cry of inconceivable triumph and of unspeakable pain. `I knew it--I was sure!' . . . She knew. She was sure. I heard her weeping; she had hidden her face in her hands. It seemed to me that the house would collapse before I could escape, that the heavens would fall upon my head. But nothing happened. The heavens do not fall for such a trifle. Would they have fallen, I wonder, if I had rendered Kurtz that justice which was his due? Hadn't he said he wanted only justice? But I couldn't. I could not tell her. It would have been too dark--too dark altogether. . . ."


A little understanding then, for Al Gore. If his career is founded on a lie it is because that is what some of us want to hear.

5/30/2007 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Whiskey_199:

Well said.

Hatred wells up out of the village, contempt flashes back from the castle.

5/30/2007 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Algore,
The reason we voted for this:
(description by Deuce)
---
"How Dare Bush Attack Real American Citizens...

..who have actually served in the military and did the right thing for their country?

How dare he make light of the American people that see this bill for what it is, a fraud, amnesty and a slap in the face to real American citizens?

How dare this foolish incompetent man push for a public taking of the accumulated wealth of law abiding Americans who did things according to the law by rewarding those that did not.

How dare this un-read stubborn fool make claims to higher values than the people that erred in electing him to represent our values?

How dare this disgraced and discredited peacock, entrusted to enforce all US laws, now lobby to change the laws he ignored, all to the detriment of American workers and lawful citizenry?

How dare this shallow man, this vacuous president, so clearly unfit to lead, make a pretense to steer us forward?

How dare this blind fool define a future American vision?"

5/30/2007 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Buckhead said...

The pschyo ramblings of the Unabomber are indistinguishable from those of Al Gore in Earth In The Balance.

This is not a coincidence. They both reflect the same thread of intellectual history. The Unabomber entered Harvard College in 1958. In an excellent series of articles in The Atlantic Monthly in 2000 by Alston Chase entitled "Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber," the author states:

"The Unabomber philosphy bears a striking resemblence to many parts of Harvard's Gen[eral] Ed[ucation] syllabus. It's anti-technology message and its desparing depiction of the sinister forces that lie beneath the surface of civilization, its emphasis on the alienation of the individual and on the threat that science poses to human values -- all these were in the readings. And these kinds of ideas did not affect Kaczynsky alone -- they reached an entire generation and beyond."

Gore arrived at Harvard in 1965. Kaczynski graduated in 1962.

The articles are worth reading, and cast interesting light on the strange intellectual emissions of Al Gore.

http://www.theatlantic.com/cgi-bin/o/issues/2000/06/chase.htm, behind a subscription wall.

Near the conclusion the author states:

"The real story of Ted Kaczynski is one of the nature of modern evil -- evil that results from the corrosive powers of intellect itself, and its arrogant tendency to put ideas above common humanity. It stems from our capacity to concevie theories or philosophies that promote violence or murder in order to avert supposed injustices or catastrophes, to acquiesce in historical necessity, or to find the final solution to the world's problems -- and by this process of abstraction to dehumanize our enemies. We become like Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment, who declares, "I did not kill a human being, but a principle!"

Al Gore's messianic fantasy is to redeem our fallen souls and wash away our technological and environmental sins, thereafter to bask in idyllic harmony with Nature. Instead of dispensations from the Pope, you can save your soul with carbon credits, brokered by Al's company, the market maker in environmental salvation.

5/30/2007 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristides,
Well said.
Applies in Spades to this *Outlaw* in the Whitehouse ONCE AGAIN denigrating the law abiding citizens that elected him, as he steals their wealth and treasure to scatter to the illegal rabble, the better to insure future Democrat Victories.

5/30/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Chavo said...

There is an historical precident for the likes of Al Gore, it's William Jennings Bryan.

5/30/2007 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Oldsmoblogger said...

The climate movement is more like the gathering storm of the 1930s.

If Gore couldn't win as an incumbent running against a Tory lightweight like Jorge Arbusto (yes, I voted for him in 2004, but was I supposed to vote for Kerry? Please), what makes him think he'll do any better this time?

An upheaval may be coming, but a populist upheaval is every bit as much to be avoided as is an elitist yoke. Pat Buchanan is a populist. Huey Long was a populist. Populist movements have a way of producing Terrors, then strongmen. They become Bonapartist or Stalinist in the end.

Wretchard has it right, as usual. Here's where I pitch my case: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness....

That high enough? ;-) I think it's a hill fit to die on.

5/30/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger jane said...

Assault on Reason? If the climate crisis is akin to the “gathering storm of fascism”, are water vapor and CO2 Hitler and the SS, Gaia the new Jew, and Bush a Chamberlain?

Or, is carbon-emitting but cleaner air America still the Third Reich, Bush with his green Crawford home forevermore Adolph, and the Palis still the new Jews, suffering not only Israel but now weather changes without adequate supplies of parasols and galoshes from the UN and EU?

I'm thinking the Nazi analogies of the Dem-left need a little work, while Algore simply is a piece of work.

5/30/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

"He learned something from his very difficult time after 2000," says Schmidt. "I think he got more comfortable with who he is"

Really? He had military absentee ballots thrown out on hyper-technicalities, and he grew "comfortable" with that?

And does he really think we've forgotten about that?

5/30/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

People LAUGH at him. For one simple reason, easily grasped by all who look at him: he doesn't believe in what he is saying.

Worse, he's exploiting his fearmongering for monetary gain. He's the founder of a carbon offset company. The credits he claims he purchased to offset his lavish footprint? Part of a perk package given to him by the company. He's a fraud.

5/30/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

People obsessively think about democrats to better IGNORE el Presidente giving away a Priceless Gift bestowed upon us with the blood and sacrifice of our ancestors.

Like Sheep to the Slaughter.

DEMAND that your representatives uphold the law and require King Jorge to honor his oath of office.

Turn up the heat.

5/30/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

hpwhit said...
On a Hugh Hewitt podcast, I heard a Border Patrol instructor say that the Border Patrol can't deport an illegal with a ten or fifteen year record of misdemeanors.

You have to be a murderer to get deported by this government.

Well, what are they going to do when millions stop paying their taxes?

They let millions of illegals cross the border. Tonight Fox News reported that 60% of Latinos support Hillary.

That's great!

Goodbye Republican party.

Goodbye conservative values.

The man most despised by the BDS sufferers has been their greatest ally.

5/30/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Whit said"

5/30/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

IMMIGRATION BILL EXPOSED:
A study by the Heritage Foundation takes a look at the bill's most controversial component.

The New Bill's Burden
By granting amnesty to illegal immi­grants and creating massive new "guest worker" programs, the new legislation, if enacted, would impose massive costs on the U.S. taxpayer.
Latest Research and Numbers
---
Chart: Costs High for Taxpayers
---

A Bill That Earned Its Doubters

Heritage Table

5/30/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Major Garret thinks Pence may be our only hope.
Time to contact him.

5/30/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger ricpic said...

Marlowe did a kind thing. A lie told to assuage pain is a kinder, and a nobler thing than the truth. But then Marlowe wasn't caught in a mania; unlike Kurtz, unlike Gore.

5/30/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Wretchard!

You have exposed yourself. You are an unapolagetic,incorrigable, romantic.

Gore is an Assault on Reason.

So Gore at loose ends is a bad thing?

John, Fatman and Buckhead each contribute wonderfully to my view of Algore.

But my heart goes out to the kindness of your view of him. You overlook the super dark shadows all around and behind him preferring to see them as merely stage settings; photographer's license.

I only wish it were so. Thank God there are enough Americans who keep a sharp steady eye on Mr. Gore.

I never want to know
how dark is that soul.

5/30/2007 11:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Environmental prophet - remember that false prophets in the Old Testament were killed if what they said didn't come true - a hazardous occupation - short of death, perhaps some consequences of being outlandishly wrong so often would be order - like having to travel and listen to Jimmy Carter's drivel - may be counted as "cruel and unusual" come to think of it.
Brian

5/31/2007 07:52:00 PM  

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