The war on Al Gore is really the specialty of the Daily Howler, but with all deference to Bob Somerby, let me take a stab at it today. The old war on Gore involved the claim that he had a kind of pathological obsession with becoming President of the United States. On this theme, the New York Times’ Healy and Leibovich:
>For Mr. Gore, who calls himself a “recovering politician,” returning to Capitol Hill is akin to a recovering alcoholic returning to a neighborhood bar.
That gratuitous aside puts the whole idea of testifying before Congress back in the old light of Al Gore will do or say anything to become President. But that’s par for the course, and has been amply demonstrated by the above sources.
>Global warming has gone Hollywood, literally and figuratively. The script is plain. As Gore says, solutions are at hand. We can switch to renewable fuels and embrace energy-saving technologies, once the dark forces of doubt are defeated. It’s smart and caring people against the stupid and selfish. Sooner or later, Americans will discover that this Hollywood version of global warming (largely mirrored in the media) is mostly make-believe.
And the rest of the op-ed is filled with claims about our extensive use of coal and its contribution to greenhouse gases and so forth. Kudos to Samuelson for not doubting the science of global warming like his colleague, George Will. But like George Will, Samuelson is guilty of confusing the Hollywood story on global warming–necessarily fantastical–with actual probable policy recommendations offered by experts. On any charitable interpretation of what Al Gore is saying, one can’t draw the conclusion that a magic wand will make the whole thing go away. But one can conclude, as has Gore, that there is a major obstacle to progress of any kind on the issue–the will to implement policies aimed at clean and renewable sources of energy.
This is where the new script meets the old one. Isn’t Al Gore some kind of political addict who thrives on the complexity of policy making (rather than simple-minded Texas bromides about the good and the evil)? At least Samuelson didn’t stick to that script.