Thursday, March 22, 2007
"Al" the Way Home
the highway scribe back after having taken a few days off.
Truth be told, nobody seems to notice and to be even more blunt, it would appear highwayscribery is visited more by folks responding to bits and snips of news generated by RSS feeds (don’t ask) than by regular fans.
Does this upset the highway scribe?
Not a wit. The beauty of blogging is just how unimportant it is - A Casual Affair.
Anyway, the editorial board got together and decided to drum up a post on highwayscribery favorite Al Gore.
The former veep’s life has taken a surprising, and well-deserved turn for the better. A film featuring his ideas and profile won an Academy Award a few weeks ago and Gore has also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Highwayscribery noted this, and predicted you wouldn’t hear too much about it from a mainstream media never much sympathetic to this sympathetic man.
(Editorial note: We don’t know Al Gore personally, which just read about him like the rest of you and came to the conclusion he is sympathetic).
The “New York Times” just did a piece on Gore’s reincarnation as a “recovering politician,” which we were going to riff on, but then got lazy and decided not to.
“Almost everywhere he goes these days,” the kindly written article noted, “Mr. Gore is met with the fuss of a statesman. His hair is slicked back in a way that accentuates the new fullness of his face. At the hotel, Mr. Gore’s perma-smile folded his narrow eyes into slits as he milled his way into a ballroom. Afterward, he accepted his customary standing ovation, slipped out a back door and into the back of a Lincoln Town Car, looking almost presidential.”
Instead, the editorial board settled in and watched some of Gore’s testimony before Congress over what (w) calls “the Internets.”
Al, as is oft-observed by the big boys, is thicker in the face and waist, grayer in the scalp, and eminently more comfortable with himself than in the days when fulfilling his father, Al senior’s, dream that he be president weighed so heavily.
Gore was in a delightful position upon his return to a city where he was never much appreciated to begin with. Few in life are blessed with revisiting a place from which they have been banished and dubbed pariah. And even fewer return the object of adulation and sought out as an authority on saving the planet from flooding and burning up.
And few in America have been capable of bridging the gap between intellectual life and pop culture the way “the Goracle” has.
Confession: highwayscribery does not get particularly hot-and-bothered about global warming. Scroll through the past two years of blog posts and you will find exactly one - that’s right - one post on the matter, and that’s because it involved none other than Al Gore.
That’s not because the scribe finds the matter unimportant, it certainly is. And it’s not because the scribe doesn’t believe it’s happening; it’s a risky luxury to do otherwise.
It’s just that global warming is not where the scribe and politics naturally intersect. Anarcho-Syndical in bent, highwayscribery is most concerned with the battle for social justice as it is waged in the workplace by organized and enlightened workers.
But the scribe digresses. This post is really about the hearings yesterday where Gore had the easy demeanor of guy with something on the rest of his former congressional colleagues in that he can do TWO things; the second developed out in the real world and away from the clubby confines of our elected representatives.
Oh, he had to know (r)epublicans would be chafing at being in the minority, and writhing at the comparison between the guy they put up to lead their party (and the country) and the guy who lost, but ended up the real “winner.”
Dennis Hastert tried to demean Gore with observation that he was now “a personality and a movie star.”
Which, of course, is nowhere near as cool as being a crook and a liar who protects colleagues that prey on page boys, because every vote in unquestioningly forwarding the (p)resident’s misguided agenda is crucial.
And then there was the testimony of Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma (r). We scribble “testimony” because even though it was Gore who was supposed to be answering questions and Inhofe asking them, the senator decided to do both.
At least Until Barbara Boxer waved her gavel in the former committee chair’s face and said, “I make the rules now. Elections have consequences.”
Inhofe used to chair the Senate Environment and Whatchamacallit Committee and made no secret of his disdain for the idea that greenhouse gas emissions are chewing up the ozone cap in our atmosphere.
It was painfully clear he couldn’t wait for his big “global warming smackdown” with a guy 100-times more intelligent than he, because Inhofe acted more like a small town alderman than a U.S. Senator.
He lacked graciousness, manners, and, worse, facts. Maybe Sen. John Warner (R) of Virginia can take Inhofe out for lunch in Georgetown and give him a few pointers on statesmanship.
At one point, Inhofe wanted to know why “you guys” never talk about when it gets really cold and then showed a picture of some icicles in Buffalo, NY for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D) benefit.
the scribe is no expert on global warming. But in his real job he’s written a number of related articles and asked the same question of a technocrat (without the “you guys” part) some 15 years ago. He was promptly informed that global warming heats up the world, but at the same time, destabilizes weather patterns and leads to extremes in temperature and other atmospherics.
It was disappointing news, but made sense.
How is it that a guy who chaired the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee never came across this basic information? And why don’t you call Inhofe at (202) 224-4721 and, using language far more gracious than he is capable of, ask him?
Years of congressional experience in his right pants pocket, Gore easily evaded the inferior man’s attacks, getting his message out, and cagily recognizing the Senate hearing gambits designed to discombobulate and distract the usual deer in the headlights summoned before THE GREAT MEN.
What the scribe means to say is that Al chewed Inhofe, Hastert, and the other yahoos, up and spit them out, largely because he seemingly could care less what his detractors say after all these years. He has, in two words, "moved on"(.org).
Ever lacking in imagination, the national media can only focus on the bland question of whether Gore’s running for president or not. The aforementioned “New York Times” article noted that:
“Friends say Mr. Gore is content to be an evangelist for the world rather than a candidate for office. Hassan Nemazee, a Gore fund-raiser in 2000 and a friend of Mr. Gore and his wife, Tipper, was host of a dinner for them last fall, and recalled that Mr. Gore expressed his disdain for the ‘tomfoolery of politics’ — the endless fund-raising, the repetitive glad-handing, the sniping among operatives.
And the scribe hopes that’s true. It’s more fun watching Al having fun being Al.