Inhofe Gore’d

22 03 2007

Gore testifies

As my thesis is on climate change matters, I keep a weather eye (Hah! Get it?) on Al Gore, the highest profile spokesperson for the cause. Today, he gave testimony before Congress on matters related to climate change. According to David Roberts, he got off to a shaky start in his prepared opening statement, but perked up when he smelt fresh meat in the form of long-time climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-AK). Gore speared him.

Then — the hacktacular coup de grace — [Inhofe] asked Gore to sign a pledge to reduce his personal home energy use to that of an average American. As gimmicks go, this one would embarrass a high school student, but Inhofe’s band of knuckle-draggers seems quite pleased with themselves. I’m sure there were frat boy back slaps all around.

When Gore tried to respond that he’s purchasing green energy and offsets and trying to put solar panels on his house, Inhofe just rode right over him.

Ponder for a moment: What could any of that conceivably have to do with the business of the U.S. Senate? Even if you think Gore’s wrong, is trying to catch him in a clumsy gotcha the way to advance your case? What a small, sad man.

ThinkProgress has the video. More videos here.

I was interested in how marginalised people like Inhofe now have become, despite overt efforts on the part of Republicans to stack the committee with anti-Gore members on their side. This is a positive sign that deniers are slowly but surely becoming objects of derision.

This is by no means to say that the fight is over, especially when the “paper of note” can still produce front-page misleading broadsides against Gore like this one. And here in New Zealand, the main problem is a government that, hemmed in on all sides politically, seems afraid to take bold steps in addressing climate change. The Greens also appear to be the subject of a lot of hysteria from free-marketeer types. (These statements are provisional on my part at this point, as I have yet to really study the matter in-depth as I would like to.)

Anyway, though the fight is a long one — and I definitely need to take stock of my thoughts and make some wide-ranging strategic statements later on in the year — the day belongs to Al Gore. With the last word, Tom Watson draws a link between Inhofe’s humiliation at the Senate hearing with the wider slow-motion implosion of the Republican Party:

Inhofe’s staff tried one of those old-school “when did you stop beating your wife” tricks, attempting to trap Gore into admitting his own energy usage at his Nashville home. Swing, miss. But not to disgraced former law professor Glenn Instapundit:

A gimmick? Yes. A stunt? Yes. But it’s one that Gore has opened himself up to. That’s the problem with moralistic, messianic crusading — people expect you to live up to it.

Hee hee, that’s insta-panic right there – panic that Al Gore is bathing in incredible national and even worldwide popularity – that he accomplished more by losing the Presidency than George Bush did by winning it. Panic that Gore is about to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

And there was Al Gore, sitting in testimony as the grand winner of our political times – even as Republicans refused to testify under oath about their roles in the scandal over the political dumping of U.S. Attorneys. The great national nightmare for the shrinking right is just beginning.

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