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calmblueocean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:25 PM
Original message
USA Today smears Gore

Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe

Al Gore has spoken: The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin."

Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.

For someone who says the sky is falling, he does very little. He says he recycles and drives a hybrid. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. (In reality, Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, pays this.)

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself."

The spew continues at:
The author of the spew? Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.

* * *

Ugh! I've seen this article linked and snarked at around the blogosphere today, and it just makes me sick.

This is what the right does to anyone who advocates practicing environmental stewardship. They roll out the same phony caricature of environmental activism that they have always used. You know, the one that requires anyone who utters a single word about the environment to be a cave-living nut-and-root-eating hermit in order to avoid *gasp!* being a hypocrite?

Just one problem: Gore has never been a turn-your-car-into-a-planter environmentalist. His fundamental argument is that we need to find better ways of doing *what we already do*. And he's never "rallied the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice."

Here's Gore in his own words:

"If people see that a near-term change is going to bring a midterm or long-term benefit that is far larger, then they're willing to say, Yeah, we'll do this because it means that. Unfortunately, the word sacrifice sometimes gets compressed into a plea for masochism. 'Ohh, you have to suffer. You have to do this because it's spiritually good for you.' Nobody's sayin' that, or at least I'm not."

His point is really the opposite of the one the wingnuts want to attribute to him. Instead of making environmentalism some kind personal purity test -- one that no one can ever pass, and that's doomed to fail -- Gore argues that the only way to make real progress is to change the systems and institutions we use. Move to a system of "true cost" accounting that doesn't reward profit at the expense of the environment. Transition away from the internal combustion engine. Find greener ways of generating power. It's only by changing these systems and institutions and other like them that we can change the world. Personal sacrifice will never do it.

Gore even started a freaking investment firm to help capitalize the new green, sustainable technologies that will help change these systems and institutions. You'd think the right would be applauding him! Instead they smear. They consistently bring the level of discourse down to the sub-basement. They encourage their believers to be ignorant and closed minded. "How can anything Gore says be true -- he has a big house!" That's their argument. And their minions nod their heads in agreement.

Some days I wonder if there's enough intelligence and compassion in the world to defeat all the stupidity and apathy.

Today's one of those days.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Kick & recommend & sigh
nice writing, calmblueocean
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calmblueocean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Thanks :)
I'm so glad DU is here.

I was reading the comments on the Digg thread and just going ballistic. It's great to have somewhere you can express yourself and know people will truly understand.
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. And if Al and Tipper lived in a yurt and wove their own clothes
and rode bicycles to generate their own electricity, then they would be made out to be BIGGER lunatics.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. My thoughts EXACTLY!
Not that I'd expect much more from the Hoover Institute - I mean, there's a name that redefines "suck" on at least two levels.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-12-06 04:52 AM
Response to Reply #8
18. LOL
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
16. well-put, Phoebe
When one considers the amount of derision Prince Charles got for criticizing unsustainable buildings, and growing organic produce -- I can only imagine the type of comments that would attract. "Oooh, look at the crazy hippies! Clearly unfit for public office!"
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RestoreGore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Typical Ignorant Attack...
By those who cannot refute the facts of the movie, so they attack Mr. Gore. Until those who continue to do this list their environmental credentials and what they are doing to be carbon neutral in their attack pieces, they are nothing more than hacks to me.

My Environmental Ambassador
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ovidsen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. Smear is right!
Some of Gore's critics wouldn't be happy even if he wore hair shirts, flagellated himself a lot, and only used his bare feet for transportation.

Here's a kick and a nom....
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dalaigh lllama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. And we're not as green as that author thinks we are
to swallow such drivel. Thanks for a great post, calmblueocean. k&r
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AtomicKitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
7. petty
BS from the peanut gallery ALREADY starting the smear of Democrats, and for what? To keep these asshole, corrupt, immoral jackals in office?
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. USA Today (somewhere between tabloid and newspaper) should be ASHAMED
to print this garbage. Thanks for posting, and reminding me why I don't bother to read USA Today even when given away free in hotels.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 01:51 AM
Response to Original message
10. some legitimate criticisms, imo . . . if you're gonna talk the talk . . .
you should probably walk the walk . . . if you really believe in what you're preaching, that is . . .

still love Gore . . . I'm just sayin' . . .
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calmblueocean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Legitmate, how?
Gore drives a hybrid, recycles, buys carbon offsets to pay for the carbon he, his family, and his business produce, and he's devoted his life to increasing awareness about global warming. How is that not "walking the walk"?

To pass your purity test, now he's supposed to give away his houses, wear a loincloth, eat twigs and berries?

I was going to ask which criticisms you thought were legitimate, but that just begins the whole purity test mentality, that ends with calling someone a hypocrite because the buttons on their shirt are made from plastic -- which is made of OIL! If you can't see that Gore is a committed environmentalist who cares about the future of the natural world and is making huge strides to better it, then you're blind.

I'm not trying to make a personal atttack here, and I'm sorry if this post comes off that way. But the whole attitude you're describing just pisses me off. If you go down this path, NO ONE ON EARTH is good enough to "earn the right" to their opinion. And that's exactly the way the right wants it.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. sorry . . . didn't want to start a brouhaha, and have no interest . . .
in discussing it . . . just a personal opinion . . . I still support Al Gore enthusiastically, and hope like hell he can be convinced to run for president in 2008 . . .
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calmblueocean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. heh
not trying to jump down your throat, either! :)

but I do think it's important to kill off this myth that talking about environmental stewardship means making a vow of poverty and living in a cave. It just ain't so.
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CardInAustin Donating Member (102 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-15-06 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #11
21. links?

"Gore drives a hybrid, recycles, buys carbon offsets to pay for the carbon he, his family, and his business produce"

Do you have links for this stuff?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
13. Well said calmblueocean,
Schweizer and by extension USA Today don't give a rat's ass about global warming or real leadership. They are only concerned with trying to change the frame of the debate, because they know they have been on the losing side of this issue and the American People are waking up to it.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
15. yes, I think that the author of that piece is missing one of Gore's points
Edited on Fri Aug-11-06 03:00 PM by Lisa
Gore tried to emphasize that concern about the environment should NOT be confined to those who are (as you put it so well) the extreme "hermit" type -- or for that matter, the sort who harp on it so much that it seems to be more about putting themselves on a pedestal, than trying to encourage others to join them in making positive changes. It is precisely the attitude that "if you can't have a zero footprint, don't you dare open your mouth", which is conveniently used by those who don't want to do anything at all. A classic example of creating a false set of choices.

My guess is that most of the people who successfully pressed corporations to produce non-phosphate detergents (and got governments to pass matching legislation) were NOT eco-fanatics who hand-washed their clothes with homemade biodegradable soap ... or constantly hectored those who didn't. They were normal, ordinary folks who saw a need for change.

I recently overheard a student criticizing an instructor at my college, for talking about global warming though she drives to work. Interestingly, he only tacked this criticism on at the end of a long tirade about how much he disliked this teacher for being a tough marker! Judging by the other complaints he made about "second-string" profs, I suspect that he would also have disapproved of me, for not being wealthy enough to own a vehicle and taking public transit to work.
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otohara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-11-06 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
17. Written By Right Wing Asshole
He's a creep and USA Today unfortunately gives him a voice!
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-12-06 07:26 AM
Response to Original message
19. We need a DU LTTE campaign against this editorial now. n/t
Edited on Sat Aug-12-06 07:26 AM by MasonJar
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Voltaire99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-14-06 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
20. So why exactly does McMansion boy need 14,000 sq feet in which to live?
When Democrats talk the talk but don't walk the walk, this is what happens. The green argument suffers because of their phoniness. Gore left himself wide open to attack.

Mind, this is hardly Gore's first hypocrisy. If he has made himself somewhat more useful in recent years, it is not without having left behind a long trail of dishonesty, war support and corporate subservience.

Those still clinging to fantasies are referred to Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn's excellent "Al Gore: A User's Manual" (Verso, 2000). Read the first chapter online for free:
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-16-06 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. Do you mean this Alexander Cockburn?
Edited on Wed Aug-16-06 04:59 PM by Uncle Joe
He is one of the primary reasons, Bush is in office today. So if you want to buy that slanderous piece of trash, why not just save your money and send it directly to the RNC?


But then, is it really surprising to see vanden Heuvel arguing in favor of error? To see her rush to say yes, but when Newsweek commits its latest blunder? Why does she defend the weekly rather than make an obvious statement: Theyve long done this sort of thing to us? Perhaps because vanden Heuvel herself enjoys waving utter nonsense into print. After all, why is George Bush in the White House at all? Heres the garbage vanden Heuvel was printing three weeks before the 2000 electionthree weeks before the close election which transformed American politics. The Nations Alexander Cockburn did the honors. Prepare to avert your gaze in embarrassment:

COCKBURN (10/16/00): What an odd presidential race! So long as George W. Bush keeps his mouth shut and remains in seclusion he floats up in the polls. His best strategy would be to bag the debates, take Laura on an extended vacation and come back a couple of days before the election. Meanwhile, Gore reinvents himself on an almost daily basis. Nothing has been more comical than his "populist" posturings about the Republicans being the ticket of Big Oil and himself and Lieberman being the champions of the little people...

Gore's "populism" is comical, yet one more facet of a larger mendacity. What suppressed psychic tumult drives him to those stretchers that litter his career, the lies large and small about his life and achievements? You'd think that a man exposed to as much public derision as was Gore after claiming he and Tipper were the model for the couple in Love Story, or after saying he'd invented the Internet, would by now be more prudent in his vauntings. But no. Just as a klepto's fingers inevitably stray toward the cash register, so too does Gore persist in his fabrications.

Recently he's claimed to have been at the center of the action when the strategic oil reserve, in Texas and Louisiana, was established. In fact, the reserve's tanks were filling in 1977, when Gore was barely in Congress, a very junior member of the relevant energy committee. The legislation creating the reserve had been passed in 1975. At around the same time as this pretense, the VP claimed to have heard his mother crooning "Look for the union label" over his cradle. It rapidly emerged that this jingle was made up by an ad man in the seventies, when Al was in his late 20s.

As a clue to why Al misremembers and exaggerates, the lullaby story has its relevance as a sad little essay in wish fulfillment. Gore's mother, Pauline, was a tough character, far more interested in advancing Albert Sr.'s career than in warbling over Gore's cot. Both parents were demanding. Gore is brittle, often the mark of the overly well-behaved, perfect child. Who can forget the panicked performance when his image of moral rectitude shattered at the impact of the fundraising scandals associated with the Buddhist temple in Los Angeles?

As most of our readers understand by now, theres a term for work like this; Cockburns piece was political pornography. And by now, everyone surely understands the fact that dare not say its name; everyone knows that the two-year War Against Gore which Cockburn channeled actually put George Bush in the White House. In short, everything against which our flower now rails was put into play by that twenty-month onslaught. And it wasnt enough that vanden Heuvel failed to fight it in her journal; weeks before Americans voted, she was actively pimping the porn which changed every one of our lives! Are you really surprised to see her now defending Newsweeks right to party? After all, people who enjoy printing garbage themselves will often rise to defend the great practice. And yes, that garbage did appear in the Nation, put into print by vanden Heuvels firm hand. This week, shes out there defending Newsweek, and arguing that the toilet tale probably happenedengaged in the silly, pointless politics that has long harmed progressive interests.
By the way, heres the final paragraph of Cockburns piece. Does anyone on earth still believe this?

COCKBURN: Gore's a fibber through and through, just like Bill. A sad experience in the closing weeks of the campaign is to encounter liberals desperately trying delude themselves that there is some political decency or promise in the Democratic ticket. There isn't. Why talk about the lesser of two evils, when Gore is easily as bad as Bush and in many ways worse? The "lesser of two evils" is by definition a matter of restricted choice, like a man on a raft facing the decision of whether to drink seawater or his own urine. But in this election there are other choices, starting with Nader and the Greens. It isn't just a matter of facing seawater or piss.

Was Gore easily as bad as Bush? That is a matter of judgment, of course. But Cockburn found his way to this conclusion by reciting a litany of fake, phony taleslies the mainstream press corps dreamed up during its two-year War Against Gore. Gores a liar, just like Clinton! The press corps said it again and againand they invented phony misstatements to prove it. Are you surprised to see the woman who printed this political porn toting seawater for Newsweek?
FOR HISTORY-LOVERS ONLY! THE NATION, PIMPING FOR BUSH: To state the obvious, Cockburn was rattling Bush campaign spin in that remarkable column. To help establish the historical context, heres part of Mike Allens news report in the Washington Post about Gores strategic oil statement:

ALLEN (9/24/00): For the third time in a week, Vice President Gore's aides today found themselves explaining a possible exaggeration from a campaign appearance.
Earlier this week, Gore faced questions about why he had told union leaders he had listened to "Look for the Union Label" as a lullaby, even though he was 27 when it was written. (An obvious joke, Gore said Friday.) His campaign also conceded that he had given prescription costs from a Democratic study when he had implied the prices concerned his mother-in-law and his dog. (His staff said the underlying point, that the same drugs can cost more for humans than for dogs, remains undisputed.)

Now, for what Texas Gov. George W. Bush is trying to promote as strike three. "There he went again," Bush said today.

On Friday, during a discussion at a news conference about the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat rising oil prices, Gore said, "I've been a part of the discussions on the strategic reserve since the days when it was first established."

Bush, speaking by satellite to the Pennsylvania Republican Party from Orlando, said today, "Problem is, the reserve was established in 1975, two years before Al Gore even went to Congress." Earlier, Bush said, "My opponent, unfortunately, has spent the week misleading Americans."

Gore's campaign replied that although the reserve had been authorized by Congress in 1975, it began operating in 1977, the first year Gore was in Congress. He was a member of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce energy and power subcommittee, and his staff said he had been part of the discussion and votes on the reserve, and had voted to increase the amount of oil in the reserve...

Although Gore has an explanation for each of the incidents and none seems earth-shattering, Bush has begun stitching them together in his speeches to suggest that, as a Bush news release was headlined today, "Gore Makes Things Up."

Gore's credibility has surfaced periodically as an issue throughout the campaign, so heavy news coverage is given to statements that might be chalked up to rhetorical license if they came from another public figure. Whatever the validity of the charges, the statements in question have given ammunition to Bush, and Gore's staff has spent hours answering questions about them.

Gores credibility has surfaced periodically? Lets be a bit more frank: Starting in March 2000, Bush began calling Gore a liar all over the nation, joining an ongoing war which the mainstream press had been waging since March 1999. No, Bush didnt paint Gore as a flip-flopper whenever possible, as Jonathan Chait weirdly said in the New Republic last fall (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/9/05). Bush kept painting Gore as a liar. So did the mainstream press, over the course of two bizarre yearsand so did the heroic Nation, our great progressive journal. Meanwhile, on the micro level, the union lullaby and doggy pill stories completely transformed the race in September 2000, as Gore seemed to be pulling away in the polls. For Howard Finemans amazing explanation of these utterly trumped-up stories, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/24/03. Oh yes, by the wayFineman works for Newsweek, the utterly laughable publication whose water vanden Heuvel now totes.

For the record: Gores statement about the union lullaby was, quite clearly, an obvious joke. Even Bob Novak said so. And regarding the doggy pills: Gore had cited the data from an unchallenged, year-old House study, accurate data which many Dems had cited in the previous year. (He added two more accurate factshis pet Labrador and his mother-in-law were both taking the drugs in question.) But so what? The press corps was painting Gore as a liar, and it was willing to work with these accurate data. In the Washington Post, for example, William Kristol lost his mind about these accurate statements by Gore. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/30/04. Warningprepare to be amazed by the things Kristol wrote.) But then, Cockburn sold the truth away too, writing in that progressive publication, The Nation.

Finally, one key point: We know! We know! We understand! Youd rather believe in progressive tooth fairies than hear the truth of your recent history. But please dont send us e-mails saying its time to get over the Clinton-Gore years. We have liberal spokesmen to pen that brilliant advicespokesmen who are always ready to offer prescriptions for the demise of your interests. So if you want to dream on dumbly about the shape of your recent history, we know of an excellent way to achieve it. Just dont visit the incomparable site where youll hear what really occurred.

IT WAS THE MAINSTREAM, NOT THE CONSERVATIVE: For the record, it was the mainstream press corps, not the conservative, which invented the long string of tales about Gore. Who came up with the union lullaby nonsense? Walter Shapiro, USA Today. Who came up with the doggy-pill clowning? Walter Robinson, of the great Boston Globe. (Earlier, who had invented the Love Story nonsense? You hate this, but it was Frank Rich and Mo Dowd.) Readers, all good scribes were in a tizzy to think that Clinton had gotten those bl*w jobs. The natural reaction? Invent a string of crackpot tales to punish the gentlemans next-in-line, Gore. And yes, this actually is what happenedthis is what put George Bush in the White House. Are you really surprised that this gaggle of goons carries water for dear Newsweek now?

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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-17-06 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
23. Response from Gore's office
While I would love for Al Gore to be re-elected to the Presidency in 2008, and I agree that he is not a "hypocrite" -- I also have to agree with OneBlueSky. If it was me releasing a book and a movie about how to limit the impact of global warming, I would think about switching my electricity supply to renewable sources BEFORE the book and the movie came out. It's all about public perception and not giving ammo to your enemies. You would think that Al Gore - of all people - would understand this by now. OK -- end of mini-rant.

Here's the official response from Al Gore's office (one of 3 letters published in USA Today)

Gores' green commitment

The op-ed attacking former vice president Al Gore's environmental record was extremely misleading.

Former vice president Gore has worked to implement the recommendations from his movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth, and that includes his personal commitment to live a zero-carbon lifestyle.

He reduces the global-warming pollution for which he is responsible and then, each year, finances additional reductions elsewhere until his net impact on the global climate is reduced to zero.

He has long since switched to a hybrid car and was already in the process of adding solar photovoltaic units to his home before the commentary was published.

In addition, the Gores have donated 100% of all the profits from his movie and book to the fight against global-warming pollution.

The assertion by author Peter Schweizer that the Gores were swimming in Occidental stock is also off base. At Mr. Gore's request, all of his father's stock in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum was sold almost six years ago as the estate was closed. So, although Mr. Gore has and will continue to call on his fellow Americans to do their part to combat global warming, he isn't asking of them what he isn't willing to do himself.

Rather than vilifying a person who is trying to make a difference, wouldn't it be more fruitful for Schweizer to join the effort to solve the climate crisis?

Kalee Kreider, communications director
Office of Al Gore and Tipper Gore

In Gore We Trust :)
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