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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Al Gore

posted by on October 24 at 9:45 AM

(Prologue: During the Q&A, a woman got on an audience microphone, said she’d seen An Inconvenient Truth and wrote Al Gore a letter the next day, offering to quit her job and work for him. She never heard back, but wondered if Gore would accept her letter then and there. He did. Would that young woman please email We want to know if Al Gore gives you a job.)

The crowd at Key Arena seemed big, everybody primed to cheer on their Ezekiel, their doom and gloom prophet come from the wilderness with a message of repentance. Gore seemed caught in a tension between two tendencies: the desire to connect by playing the comedian (“put yourself in my place—I flew on Air Force Two for two years and now I have to take off my boots to get on a plane”) and the professor (facts, figures, ice earthquakes in Greenland, collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, desertification, CO2 levels, forest fire patterns, study after study after study).

He started with a few jokes, (“I looked in the rear-view mirror and there was no motorcade—they talk about phantom limb pain… “), said he “had no plans” to run in ‘08. Then he started the slide show and presentation.

It was long. It was convincing. It was sad, ranging from the poetic (“within 15 years there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro”) to the disastrous. Gore demonstrated the distortion of the science on global warming by the Bush White House. For example: Climate change is a cyclical phenomenon, but the period of medieval warming was a tiny blip compared to the cliff of warming we’ve measured since the middle of the 20th century. Gore also demonstrated the motive for distortion: lobbyists in the White House, the Philip Cooney scandal, et al.

Then he took questions, made jokes, was generally charming, and even hit the local angle, stumping for light rail and good architecture and urban design. It seemed awfully like a campaign event, but Gore insisted his campaign in ‘08 would be to get voters to press all the candidates about climate change.

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I continue to be amazed at the difference between the painfully boring wooden Al Gore on the campaign trail and the charismatic smart articulate Al Gore on the global warming war path. It makes me want to choke his presidential campaign handlers. It makes me cry that this man is not right now our president as he should have been.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 24, 2006 11:12 AM

I did not attend the Key Arena event but my take on "An Inconvenient Truth" was not the teachings of a "doom and gloom prophet" but rather a message of hope. We know the problem, we know what we have to do to correct it, and we know what leaders we need to elect to effect the necessary changes. That's a message of hope. This blog and many individuals misinterpret the message; we aren't doomed according to Gore, we are in a position to effectuate encessary change. That's empowering iof you ask me. What's depressing is people who heatr the message and remain convinced we are doomed. It's your own self-fulfilling propehecy.

Posted by Keven | October 24, 2006 1:40 PM

The early months of the Gore seffort were about as bad as it gets.

During that period I saw him a rally in mid town Seattle - all the difference in the world.

And his failure to turn Clinton soose in the south was also stupid. Bill can tell more tales with those folk than we can shake a stick at.

So sad, and look what Amedrica has instead.....

Posted by DARWIN | October 24, 2006 2:53 PM

I take your point Keven. Gore—like Ezekiel—stressed that we can turn the problem around if we learn to straighten up and fly right, but the bulk of the lecture concerned current and future disasters, from mass extinction to catastrophic hurricanes—in other words, doom. It's a rhetorical device and it's very effective.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | October 24, 2006 4:09 PM

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