By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Moving beyond Al Gore

In my latest for the Guardian, I argue that Al Gore, his admirable qualities notwithstanding, has used up his political capital when it comes to climate change. By contrast, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina offers the hope of substantive progress.

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  1. BP Myers

    Curious your comment that “Graham . . . harks back to a better time” given his own dogged effort to more than literally “bring down” a previous Democratic President, an effort that would have made Gore President, ironically enough.

    But Graham did have one of the more memorable lines to come out of Clinton’s prosecution. Of the President’s late night phone calls to Monica and others, he said in his folksy drawl:

    ““I don’t know about you, but where I come from, anybody who’s making phone calls at 2 in the morning is up to no good.”

    And he had a point.

  2. Steve Stein

    So what’s with all the climate change talk now coming to a head? First there was Gore’s op-ed, and now both the Christian Science Monitor and Paul Krugman have items on it today.

    Walter Rogers at the CSM argues:

    Skepticism about climate change is going mainstream, and that is worrying. One-third of Americans now say global warming doesn’t exist – triple the percentage of three years ago.

    This defiance of science isn’t just harmful for the environment. It’s also distracting us from growing threats to US national security. Actual – not theoretical – effects of climate change are turning the Arctic into a potential military flash point.

    Krugman has a darker take in a short post on his blog today, “Very Scary Things”, drawing possible parallels to mass extinctions in the Paleocene when temps rose 6 degrees C.

  3. Neil Sagan

    Wherein Dan argues Gore should capitulate in the face of conservative opposition.

  4. Davio Van Lombirk

    I agree with Neil. Gore has been smeared by the GOP, so he’s no longer relevant?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Davio: I admire Gore, but life is unfair. Given the smear jobs to which Gore has been subjected, and given the fact that those smears have affected his standing with the public, do you really think he is still capable of persuading the unpersuaded? He’s welcome to keep trying, but I think he’s reached the point of diminishing returns.

  5. Steve Stein

    @Davio, it’s not that Gore’s been smeared by the GOP; he’s been the target of smears by the so-called liberal media for over 10 years now. I highly recommend Bob Somerby’s “How He Got There” on the subject.

  6. Neil Sagan

    Mocking Gore doesn’t change the evidence, no matter who is delivers the message.

    If Gore is being drowned out, it’s not by the mocking, it’s by the conservative media including FoxNews which likes nothing more that to harp of conservative point of view for months on end, when the facts support it and when they don’t.

    Dan’s thesis and conclusion fails due to his presumption that Gore’s influence is cenrtal to the outcome of the debate.

  7. Mike Benedict

    @Neil: Issues need champions. The world doesn’t up and decide the Berlin Wall needs to fall, or Hitler needs to go down, or Africa needs to be fed.

    Someone always has to lead the charge.

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