Walter Russell Mead on Al Gore's downfall

| No Comments
Wonderful three-part essay at The American Interest. Mead is an excellent writer. First: The Failure of Al Gore: Part One
The Failure of Al Gore: Part One
It must be as perplexing to his many admirers as it is frustrating to himself that a man of Vice President Gore�s many talents, great skills and strong beliefs is one of the most consistent losers in American politics.

�All political careers end in failure,� said Enoch Powell; Gore has not won an election on his own since his 1990 re-election to the Senate from Tennessee. His 1988 presidential bid ended well short of the nomination. Many observers felt Gore was headed for defeat in a third Senate campaign as the south continued to swing Republican; Clinton�s offer of the vice presidential slot in 1992 gave Gore the opportunity to reach a national audience as his home state cooled. On his own again in 2000, gifted by the departing Clinton with the most bubbliciously expanding economy in American history and a comfortable budget surplus, and insulated from the innuendo and scandal of the Clinton White House by his still-vibrant marriage, he found the elusive road to defeat against a flawed and inexperienced challenger. Tennessee voted for Bush; Florida or no Florida Gore would have gone to the White House if those who knew him longest and best had rallied to his support.
A bit more:
Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value (Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch. Few celebrity cause leaders have had more or better publicity than Gore has had for his climate advocacy. Hailed by the world press, lionized by the entertainment community and the Global Assemblage of the Great and the Good as incarnated in the Nobel Peace Prize committee, he has nevertheless seen the movement he led flounder from one inglorious defeat to the next.
More:
But while some forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be. A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame. But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine. The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence. The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat. The most visible leader of the world�s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways. Mr. Top Green can�t also be a carbon pig.
Some excerpts from: The Failure of Al Gore: Part Deux
The global green treaty movement to outlaw climate change is the most egregious folly to seize the world�s imagination since the Kellog-Briand Pact outlawed war in the late 1920s. The idea that the nations of the earth could agree on an enforceable treaty mandating deep cuts in their output of all greenhouse gasses is absurd. A global treaty to meet Mr. Gore�s policy goals isn�t a treaty: the changes such a treaty requires are so broad and so sweeping that a GGCT is less a treaty than a constitution for global government. Worse, it is a constitution for a global welfare state with trillions of dollars ultimately sent by the taxpayers of rich countries to governments (however feckless, inept, corrupt or tyrannical) in poor ones.
And:
The green movement�s core tactic is not to �hide the decline� or otherwise to cook the books of science. Its core tactic to cloak a comically absurd, impossibly complex and obviously impractical political program in the authority of science. Let anyone attack the cretinous and rickety construct of policies, trade-offs, offsets and bribes by which the greens plan to govern the world economy in the twenty first century, and they attack you as an anti-science bigot.

To argue with these people about science is to miss the core point. Even if the science is exactly as Mr. Gore claims, his policies are still useless. His advocacy is still a distraction. The movement he heads is still a ship of fools.

It is a waste of time to talk science with Al Gore. It is a waste of time to listen to him at all. That, apparently, is what the world at long last is beginning to understand. The policy makers and the heads of state who only two years ago were ready to follow Gore up the mountain have softly and quietly tuned him out.

These days, he can�t even get his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Finally, a few excerpts from: The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues
The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues
Some readers are wondering why I am spending so much time analyzing the political problems of a former vice president. It is not out of any personal animus toward Mr. Gore. Though I�m not expecting any invitations to any of Mr. Gore�s lovely homes, the doors to the stately Mead manor in glamorous Queens are always open should the ex-Veep want to drop in for a hot cup of joe.

My interest in the decay of the former vice president�s public position is partly because � like Jimmy Carter � he has had such an active post-Washington career. Not even Ronald Reagan won an Oscar, and Reagan (though he deserved it) never got a Nobel. Gore�s signature issue, the climate, is a major one, and Al Gore has been at the center of the most important movement of international civil society since the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s.

The serial rise and fall of these vacuous civil society movements and the peculiar grip they exercise over the minds of some otherwise intelligent people is an important subject: why do so many people who want to help solve global problems waste so much time and money and, sometimes, do so much harm? Is there some way to harness that energy and idealism to causes and strategies that might do more good? What does the repeated rise and fall of clueless but well educated and well placed enthusiasts teach us about the state of our civilization and the human condition? Are there ways we could nip these Malthusian panics and idealistic feeding frenzies in the bud? Is there some way we could teach future generations to be a little smarter about politics and power so that the 21st century, which is going to have plenty of serious problems, might spend less time chasing mares� nests?
And this last one:
Al Gore is steeped in the Blue Social Model that I�ve been posting about; his social imagination has been so molded by modern American progressivism and the liberalism of the late 20th century that he literally cannot conceive of solutions in any terms the conventional center-left wisdom doesn�t make room for.

The trouble and even the tragedy of Al Gore is that he comes at the tail end of this tradition; he is a living example of what you get when a worldview outlives its time. He presses the old buttons and turns the old cranks, but the machine isn�t running any more. The priests dance around the altar, the priestess chews the sacred herbs, but the god no longer speaks. Like President Obama watching a universal healthcare program that he thought would secure his place in history turn into an electoral albatross and a policy meltdown, Al Gore thought that in the climate issue he had picked a winning horse. Judging from his Rolling Stone essay he has no idea why the climate movement failed, and no clue at all about how he could re-think the issue.

�Climate of Denial,� Vice President Gore�s �Rolling Stone� essay is not, I am sorry to say, very useful as a guide to resuscitating the environmental movement. It is largely reduced to the classic loser sandlot complaints: the other side didn�t play fair, they had bigger kids and the refs were biased. Al Gore seems to want the climate movement to behave like the French Bourbons: to forget nothing in the way of grievances � and to learn nothing about how to do better next time.
A set of three long essays but wonderfully written and well worth the ten minutes or so to read savor them. Mead is on the top of his game with these.

Leave a comment

August 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on July 3, 2011 10:41 AM.

A great one from Clients from Hell was the previous entry in this blog.

Gearing up for silly season is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Pages

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 5.2.9