I'm not sure which ad put out by Al Gore's new global warming ad campaign is worse -- the one featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich on a love seat, or the spots with the Revs. Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson noting their agreement on the issue.
I don't think Pelosi does herself any favors posing with that sultan of smarm, Gingrich -- even for an issue so dear to the left. Gingrich's role confirms the suspicion of many Republicans that the Newter will say any trendy thing to get his face in the limelight. Also, my first thought when I see Robertson and Sharpton on the same side is this: that any cause that can put them on the same side, well, it can't be good. And it's sure to involve cameras and professional lighting.
Over and again, Gore has argued that an overwhelming consensus of scientists believes that global warming is man-made and likely to have catastrophic consequences including a sea-level rise of some 20 feet. So who does his new three-year $300 million public advocacy campaign get to hype the cause? Two politicians' politicians. Robertson, a man who has warned that widespread homosexuality can result in "earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor." And Sharpton, who became famous during a 1987 race-tinged controversy involving a 15-year-old girl's unsubstantiated accusation that six white men raped her and smeared her with feces. The ads told me: Forget science; forget the steak. Savor the sizzle.
Gore's new climate-change campaign calls itself "We," as in "wecansolveit.org." But its focus is not on how We can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions now. No, it focuses on how We can tell others how They should think about global warming. We's focus is not on what We can do to reduce emissions, but what We can do to get Them to walk and talk in lockstep with the crowd.
So when you click on "We are Succeeding," you don't read about how entire towns have begun to carpool or that Hollywood biggies are giving up private jets to save the planet. No. For the most part, success is tallied by a convert count. As in: "Thousands Urge the Press to Ask Questions on Global Warming," "Stunning Response to Calls for a Global Treaty," "State Department Feels Public Pressure in Run-Up to Climate Conference."
Then again, the global warming movement always has been more about symbols and professing belief than results. Our betters in Europe have spent the last seven years scolding George W. Bush for scorning the Kyoto global warming treaty, which Bill Clinton never asked the U.S. Senate to approve. It was enough that Clinton said he supported Kyoto; true believers ignored the fact that under Clinton/Gore, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions grew.