A decade ago Al Gore released his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Second only to 9/11 it was the decade’s most significant event in shaping public policy worldwide. To mark the anniversary Gore has released An Inconvenient Sequel which has flopped. The politicians haven’t caught up yet but the public has lost interest in global warming – contrary to forecasts summer still feels like summer and winter still feels like winter. If there had been more scrutiny a decade ago of Gore’s life story we would have saved ourselves a decade of bad policy. Gore has written plenty of books but unlike every other vice presidential candidate in memory there haven’t been any memoirs. Why? Because Gore is politically ashamed of his past.
Gore’s father was a congressman and then senator for Tennessee for 32 years. His mother was an aide to über-liberal Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1956 Gore’s father lost a bid for the vice-presidential nomination and the family’s fierce ambition was channeled to infant Al. He studied politics and history at Harvard where he was elected student president. He’s confessed to smoking pot and a friend recalled ‘pot stimulated Gore’s imagination. He talked about what he would do as President. Political ambition coursed inside him like an underground river.’
Like his parents, Gore supported the Democratic Left. At college he described anti-communism as ‘paranoia and a national obsession’ and the US military as ‘fascist.’ In 1970, his father was struggling for re-election to the Senate due to his opposition to the Vietnam War which was still popular in Tennessee. After months of family anguish Gore volunteered for a war he didn’t believe in – his dad still lost but Gore knew one day America would ask ‘did you serve?’ After five months in Vietnam (far from the front line), Gore was discharged early after hearing the call to study religion. A few months into his theological studies he quit, made money in property (courtesy of his dad’s network) and worked as a reporter. Then his dad’s old congressional seat became vacant. Dad had learnt the hard way a lefty in Tennessee now had no future, so Gore campaigned stridently right-wing on everything: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-tobacco, anti-gay and born-again. It was 1976 and he won.
By 1985 Gore was one of America’s youngest senators. This was the height of Reaganism and Gore boasted he was a ‘raging moderate’. He and his then wife founded the Parents Music Resource Centre (PMRC) – which waged a morals crusade against rock music. Gore arranged congressional committees to investigate satanic and lewd influences on kids. Remember backward masking? Gore didn’t invent it but he did make it famous. In the mid-1980s the Gores were America’s Fred and Elaine Nile.
In 1988 Gore, 39, ran for president, finishing a dishonourable third after a slanging match with liberal hero and rival candidate Jesse Jackson. In the Democrats primary, Gore also introduced Willie Horton to the public and fatally wounded the nominee Michael Dukakis. It took years for African-Americans to forgive Gore’s 1988 race-baiting. Gore was devastated. He was just too conservative for the Democrats. Gore needed a makeover so wrote Earth in the Balance and the public met ‘global warming.’ Communism was dead, the Left needed a new cause and Gore delivered it in a worldwide bestseller. Lefties have short memories. Gore had redeemed himself.
When nominations opened for the 1992 election President Bush had stratospheric approval after liberating Kuwait. Gore calculated he would sit this one out and wait for the 1996 election. Only lightweights nominated for the Democratic nomination – Bush derided them as the ‘seven dwarfs’ which included the Governor of Arkansas. Gore was a national figure – Bill Clinton was not. But a recession hit and America warmed to Clinton. ‘Draft dodging’ and ‘womanising’ dogged Clinton, however, so when he weighed his vice presidential candidates a ‘veteran’ and former morals crusader ticked the boxes. The invitation was bittersweet for Gore (he was meant to be the next Democratic president!) but with Clinton looking like a winner Gore accepted. The ‘Dream Team’ shot to an overnight 11 point lead and victory.
Gore was a diligent VP who worked closely with Clinton but they were not friendly – the patrician Gore family were privately appalled their son had to serve under the commoner Clinton. Monica ended what relationship there was. Gore was furious Clinton’s recklessness had damaged his upcoming tilt for the presidency. The impeachment however backfired and Clinton had high approval on his departure. Gore’s resentment blinded him and ‘Clinton’ along with ‘global warming’ was jettisoned in campaign 2000.
On election night Gore conceded to Governor Bush but then retracted – an unprecedented act of bastardy in the history of democracy. It was also pointless. Gore contested the result to a 7-2 Supreme Court loss. In 1960, Richard Nixon was in a similar position but Nixon feared dividing America and conceded without dispute. Gore did neither and America’s acute polarisation today can be traced back to election night 2000.
Bar strategic forays Gore was largely quiet for six years. The first thing he did was write a book about family values but that didn’t take off so he plotted the revival of the cause that had rescued him in 1992 – global warming. He gave terrific performances on comedy shows to soften his wonky image and was the first significant Democrat to oppose the Iraq War. He endorsed Howard Dean in 2004 thereby locking in left activists for his coming crusade. In 2006 An Inconvenient Truth was unleashed – the book, the movie, the world-wide all-encompassing revolution. Saint Al and global warming were everywhere. After the bitterness of 2000 Gore was a liberal martyr and the press gave his ‘end is nigh’ thesis unquestioning approval. Millions if not billions were fooled temporarily into thinking life as we know it only had ten years to go. Gore, the most partisan politician, claimed ‘global warming is not a political issue but a moral issue.’ How cute. He demonised opponents with religious fervour – a sure sign it’s a bluff.
This simple fact was ignored all along – Gore has no standing to teach science. His academic research was on ‘Presidents and the media’ and yes he has proven profound skill in both these utterly non-scientific fields. Over the past four decades Gore has journeyed from hard left, hard right, centre and back to the hard left. Al Gore is a Pied Piper who the New York Times has estimated is on track to make a billion dollars from global warming.
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