By now, I'm sure none of us are too certain about Al Gore's real intentions about entering the presidential race - he certainly hasn't been shy about promoting his new book and getting his name out there. The sense is that here is someone who might actually know how to handle the awesome responsibility of the position, and who still has a soul, but he might also have a plot.
I've been hanging fire after reading the Nation Magazine (Alexander Cockburn, specifically, in his Beat the Devil occasional column) blast Gore. Reeling might be more like it. I don't think it's any more possible to track the alignments and inner political code of some Nation Magazine angles than it is to do their crossword puzzles (does anyone?), so I'm forgiving myself for not getting it (actually, they might have dropped the crossword -- maybe they figured out that no-one did it, or that it was too metaphorically related to their content?). I was waiting around for the followup column, which promised some perspective on the state of the environment as promulgated by the "fear mongers", so called.
Gore was targeted among the fear mongers (I'd thought they were all right wing, in the simple sense that there's where the profit from fear is, though clearly a cause can profit from fear too), tarred with Tennessee relations to Nuclear and Clean Coal, and pretty much dissed altogether as a self-promoter. I, and a lot of other readers for sure, were sorely disappointed when Cockburn demurred for another round, licking his wounds for having been blasted so sorely in return, instead of making good on his promise of perspective on the true state of the environment. Then he rolled out arguments debunking global warming theories which sounded for all the world like the ones out of the shameless right.
What's going on here? Polemics, I guess. For sure, it is important to remind ourselves that Gore is filthy rich and well connected, and therefore by definition isolated from reality, as though, I guess, the vested slants from wealth and power connections are different in kind from those of the ideologically devoted of any stripe. Catholics have their slant, evangelicals theirs, neo-conservatives theirs, but the money power slant is the one the Nation is ideologically devoted to rail against. But I felt taken aback to find the trustworthiness of Gore at least implicitly related to the trustworthiness of Bush-Cheney. Yet another brander of truth.
But those guys are just out and out liars and manipulators, who have moved so far beyond slants, toward power for its own sake that many of us wanted and needed someone like Gore. Someone credible as a power-broker, but still more credible as standing outside the soul-compromises which seem required of a player.
I refuse to go far with the notion that he was hurt by having been cheated of the presidency, as though that fact grants him a credibility credential. If you follow that line, then you are logically required to assume that he is a self promoter. I think the idea is that you serve as a politician. You're not supposed to do it for your own sake.
I can certainly buy, as I said in the last screed, that he has been terminally burned by the political system in its current state, and for sure is having way too much of a blast on his current global warming tear. He seems to understand that when the political system is broken, the way to real influence is apart from politics. Bush-Cheney haven't exactly gotten away with their felonies, any more than mega-corporate vegetable mongers get away with their dirty processes in our new media culture.
Of course, that cleansing only takes care of stuff with a global media reach, while, sans a viable professional fourth estate, the Internet mediated citizen-corp can't fill in against all the daily corruption which is gotten away with now more than ever. Because that takes vocation and funding.
So, where is the real power? Is Cockburn right that Al Gore knows only about money mediated power, and that mongering fear suits some occult purpose of his? Are we all being truly hoodwinked by the global warming stuff, such that it provides cover for the earth poisoning and defenseless people-exploitations which more properly should be our main concern? Is global warming just a way to position the global-corp money power to market needless remedies for non-existent problems descendant from mega-oil profits, which can't last forever? And how does one separate the oil guzzling-global warming connection which Al Gore details, from all the underlying evil which The Nation and all good left wingers must be devoted to doing battle against? Finally, how does one reconcile the agendas of Left and Right coming to the same conclusions about global warming. It can't be that their agendas are aligned.
We know that the Bushies had wanted to deny global warming because they'd assumed it would get in the way of their global corporate agenda. The argument about politicizing science gets good traction, and guilt follows without trial. Maybe they're revising for the same reason Cockburn comes around to the other point of view. But I want some argumentation. I have to think Cockburn is either just way wrong, or about to pull a Hitchens.
Still, Gore remains tainted for me. I've been awakened to his undeniable essential nature, and what I'd thought was simple boastful self-promotion now starts to find its agenda.
Maybe my agenda is that I am plainly disgusted by what first-world life has become, and so it suits me to find an endgame. I suppose that defines the anxiety of a world disaffected by the Christ story, but which once bought it hook line and apocalypse (the brain-dead true believers don't count, no matter their numbers, since truth can't be decided by a vote). Endtime nostalgia, or something.
Actually, there's my rub. How can Cockburn get in bed with the God-will-call-us-home-so-soil-our-nest-with-impunity crowd? Has the eschatological link between Marxism and Christianity finally poked through the rhetoric? Cockburn relates carbon-credit economics to the selling of indulgences by the Church.