By now everyone knows I am the number one fan of the idea of an Al Gore presidency. I think we need him not just because he is the best and brightest but because he has an inate decency and humanity rare in politicians. He is smarter than almost everyone, he is decent, he is experienced and he has great character.
Here is what the Washington Post published today.
Oh, and by the way.... I don't give a damn if he has gained some weight, must we always have that banal reference? Good lord, so have I. It's been a freaking depressing 5 and 1/2 years.
Boring Al Gore has made a movie. It is on the most boring of all subjects -- global warming. It is more than 80 minutes long, and the first two or three go by slowly enough that you can notice that Gore has gained weight and that his speech still seems oddly out of sync. But a moment later, I promise, you will be captivated, and then riveted and then scared out of your wits. Our Earth is going to hell in a handbasket.
You will see the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps melting. You will see Greenland oozing into the sea. You will see the atmosphere polluted with greenhouse gases that block heat from escaping. You will see photos from space of what the ice caps looked like once and what they look like now and, in animation, you will see how high the oceans might rise. Shanghai and Calcutta swamped. Much of Florida, too. The water takes a hunk of New York. The fuss about what to do with Ground Zero will turn to naught. It will be underwater.
Think of that, much of the coast underwater, large parts of our oldest most historic cities. What about Europe, Asia, India, Africa and Australia? Most of the great cities of the world are on the coast of one continent or another.
You cannot see this film and not think of George W. Bush, the man who beat Gore in 2000. The contrast is stark. Gore -- more at ease in the lecture hall than he ever was on the stump -- summons science to tell a harrowing story and offers science as the antidote. No feat of imagination could have Bush do something similar -- even the sentences are beyond him.
But it is the thought that matters -- the application of intellect to an intellectual problem. Bush has been studiously anti-science, a man of applied ignorance who has undernourished his mind with the empty calories of comfy dogma. For instance, his insistence on abstinence as the preferred method of birth control would be laughable were it not so reckless. It is similar to Bush's initial approach to global warming and his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol -- ideology trumping science. It may be that Gore will do more good for his country and the world with this movie than Bush ever did by beating him in 2000.
Gore insists his presidential aspirations are behind him. "I think there are other ways to serve," he told me. No doubt. But on paper, he is the near-perfect Democratic candidate for 2008. Among other things, he won the popular vote in 2000. He opposed going to war in Iraq, but he supported the Persian Gulf War -- right both times. He is smart, experienced and, despite the false caricatures, a man versed in the new technologies -- especially the Internet. He is much more a person of the 21st century than most of the other potential candidates. Trouble is, a campaign is not a film. Gore could be a great president. First, though, he has to be a good candidate.
PS... I have a very good friend who is a conservative who said to me about 15 minutes ago (as we were driving home from rehersal) "we better start doing something about global warming". Boy was I tempted to rub it in. But all I said was "but remember Bob, 5 years ago people were making fun of the idea".