Friday, January 16, 2004

A Small and Pitiful Man

Thus did James Taranto describe Al Gore, in his ever entertaining and illuminative Best of the Web column of Friday, January 26th. Taranto thoughtfully provides a link to the text of Gore's speech, and I fear that James has understated the case. Al Gore is a once proud man, the scion of a powerful family with seemingly no barriers between his position as second in command to a popular president and his destination, the Oval Office. Then, what happened?

I shall not reprise the 2000 campaign and what exactly he did wrong that lost him the election. I am sure that some part of his defeat had to do with items that were out of his control, but surely most of the blame rests squarely on his broad shoulders. But after losing the campaign, he lost any chance of ever claiming his spot in the White House. He unnecessarily dragged the nation through six weeks of needless torture, and, after baring his soul to all who would look, we saw a small and pitiful man, who could not even win his own state, and who, after those six weeks, could not now get himself nominated to run for dogcatcher.

Now comes the year 2004, and Al the Pitiful picks the coldest night in years to declaim his understanding of the threat of global warming! And of course, in the process, he blames the whole thing on George W. Bush. In an example of the sort of demagoguery that will convince only the already convinced he makes statements such as
I don’t think there is any longer a credible basis for doubting that the earth’s atmosphere is heating up because of global warming. So the evidence is overwhelming and undeniable.
a statement which presupposes that the listener hasn't been paying attention. There may be a debate, but denying that the other side has any argument at all says that there can be no debate. Since the last vote in the Senate was 97 to nothing against Kyoto, without debate, Gore insures that his side loses. Without debate, no one's opinion can be changed. Pitiful.

But that's nothing. Then he comes up with this one:
These and other activities make it abundantly clear that the Bush White House represents a new departure in the history of the Presidency. He is so eager to accommodate his supporters and contributors that there seems to be very little that he is not willing to do for them at the expense of the public interest. To mention only one example, we’ve seen him work tirelessly to allow his friends to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Indeed, it seems at times as if the Bush-Cheney Administration is wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility and mining companies.
Wow. The first half of that quote reflects the Clinton/Gore administration more than any other. The second half... if the president "works tirelessly" to accomplish something that could be accomplished with an executive order, and fails to accomplish it, why, that belies all the rest of the speech, which is about how effective the Bush administration has been at gutting environmental regulations.

This speech has many more outright lies than is normal for a political speech. The best, or at least most egregious example, is his tireless reference to the "consensus" of scientists. As I have pointed out before, there is no use for consensus in science. All scientific discovery or advance has contradicted the consensus. Only one Newton, Galileo, or Einstein is needed to blow away a scientific consensus. Consensus is not a word used in science. It is a word used in politics.

Which is all that "Global Warming" is about anyway. Politics. From a has-been. As I said, a small and pitiful man.