Al Gore Has Time Magazine Coming and Going for Liberalism
Time's special issue on the 100 most influential people is a bit of promotional popcorn, allowing celebrities and statesmen to praise each other for their brilliance and good works (for example, Les Gelb flatters Condi Rice, Condi Rice flatters Oprah, Oprah flatters author Elie Wiesel). So it shouldn't be surprising that the magazine that made endangered Earth its "Planet of the Year" and used to beg routinely for punishing gas tax hikes allowed Al Gore to both be praised and offer praise on planetary matters. "There could hardly be a more opportune time for the country to be giving Gore another look," cooed the magazine.
The Gore puffery comes not from a celebrity, but from Time reporter Karen Tumulty, who fondly declares that it's time to take another look at Gore, and makes no mention of his greased-down, volume-up MoveOn.org jeremiads against Bush:
Rather than retire to the sidelines of public life, Gore has stayed in the game by continuing to fight for the environment and other causes close to his heart—whether as a teacher, an investor whose fund puts its money in socially responsible ventures or an entrepreneur who founded a youth-oriented television network.
Gore, 58, now finds himself in his unlikeliest role yet: movie star. The lecture on global warming that he has been giving for decades to any audience that would let him set up his flip charts has been turned into the indie documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The movie got raves at the Sundance Film Festival in January and will begin rolling out in theaters across the country in late May. In Los Angeles theaters, the trailers have been getting ovations.
There could hardly be a more opportune time for the country to be giving Gore another look, given that the man who edged past him in Florida is at his all-time low in the polls. But while Gore has not entirely shut the door on another run for President, he insists that he is "not planning" to be a candidate again. After all, 2008 is still a long way away. And in the meantime, Gore has decided, there's a planet to save.
Then Gore is allowed to offer laurels to NASA scientist/green activist James Hansen, a mini-profile headlined: "The Wisdom of a Climate Crusader." Gore began by noting his own glorious experiences as a Senate leader with Hansen, then elaborated:
The energy industry and its apologists continue to distort his findings, and the current White House continues to try to silence him. But Hansen has had the courage to stay and fight for the right to tell the truth as he sees it—and to fight against the pollution-as-usual policies that he describes as "a recipe for environmental disaster."
His message is beginning to sink in. The world's premier climate modeler has helped push Americans to their own tipping point—to the realization that global temperatures are rising dramatically, that the consequences are grave and that there are solutions available that can reverse those planet-altering trends. He not only speaks truth to power—over and over again—but he also has succeeded in making concepts such as "dangerous anthropogenic interference" understandable to a world that will be tragically affected by it if we do not change our energy-consumption habits.
When the history of the climate crisis is written, Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet's environment.