Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore, Global Poster Boy

I don't mean to diss Al Gore here, but I am skeptical of the renewed blather hoping that the Vice President will run for President, even petitioning him to get in the race. At some point, personal health trumps patriotic duty and political power plays, and it seems Mr. Gore has opted for the former. He's still not the most comfortable guy in his own skin. Whether for public office or the global good, he is still a rather robotic campaigner.

You can take the man out of the beltway, but you can't take the scripted wonk out of Clark Kent, and that is what Al Gore is: the Clark Kent of the climate crisis. It remains to be seen if he can make even a methodical change into the Superman cape.

Of course there is a reawakening of the Clamorers for Gore. New talk of petitions and presidential runs, as if any of this could set back the clock or in any way erase the writing on the wall, that since Gore ran in 2000, the world (or at least America's position in and disdain for the world) has changed. Gore is probably not the right tool for the job, though he would make an especially good Secretary of State, and Hillary, won't you please offer him that plum?

The clamorers seem naive to me, and this prize blip too will pass, but meanwhile, Gore spin abounds: the presidency or the Nobel Prize? Nobody would take the Nobel or any prize over the presidency. Accolades are great, but compared to the kind of power where the rubber or the bombs or the treaties really do meet the road? Political power trumps being a poster boy for good causes in any century. So far, Al Gore has made valiant but only symbolic gestures toward solving global problems. Until the escalation of global warming is reversed, Al Gore is the poster boy for a great cause and one truly related to planetary peace and well-being and the global good and "saving the world" and all that. But we need to see a legion of men even better than him leading both the truly powerful and the truly powerless.


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