The Swift Boating of Al Gore

It comes as no surprise that the right wingers are responding to Al Gore winning the Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth by attempting to swift boat him with attacks based upon the amount of energy he personally uses. While they still attempt to, it is getting harder for conservatives to deny the science of climate change now that it has become the consensus of scientific thought. This leaves their most common strategy of resorting to smears, knowing that the conservative pundits and bloggers will repeat any claim without any requirement for evidence. No matter that all the documented evidence refuted the claims about John Kerry, and that his accusers were found to be paid partisan hacks with a political agenda–its an attack on a Democrat so it will be passed off as truth.

Just as the Swift Boat liars were found have an agenda, James Johnson and James Boyce have found that those raising the charges against Gore are also Republican partisans. So far they have uncovered the following:

Tennessee Center’s President Drew Johnson comes straight out of the right’s network, coming from Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute and the right-wing-funded National Taxpayers Foundation.

They are part of the right’s State Policy Network. According to PFAW,

“SPN is a national network of state-based right-wing organizations in 37 states as well as prominent nationwide right-wing organizations. Through its network SPN advances the public policy ideas of the expansive right-wing political movement on the state and local level.”

As of Feb. 16, the Tennessee tax dept. considers them “not a legitimate organization” because of their misrepresenting themselves involving questions about the group’s opposition to a state crackdown on drug dealers.

Think Progress has contacted Al Gore for further clarification. (By the way, if you need evidence of how little regard right wingers have for honesty or rational thought, check out the comments by a troll there by the name of Patrick1.) Think Progress received the following answers:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

In a sense purchasing carbon offsets is something that conservatives, who claim to support the free market except when it comes to the real world, should understand. Of course we understand their mind set which makes them not want to understand or acknowledge such a solution.

The mind set in work here is to paint the opponents as extremist crazies and only attack the straw men they create, as opposed to responding to their opponents’ actual views. To the conservatives those who of us who oppose the Iraq war as being counter to our national interests are unwilling to defend America from real dangers. Those who exercise our rights to criticize the government are called unpatriotic traitors. Those who oppose the corporate-welfare schemes of the Republicans are called socialists. Similarly, when dealing with global warming they try to obfuscate the fact that this represents the consensus of the scientific community by claiming it is a religion. They claim those who speak of climate change are tree huggers who oppose the advantages of modern life. When they run into those who want to take real world action, such as lowering their carbon footprint and buying offsets while still living an affluent life style, they call them hypocrites for not living as predicted by their phoney stereotypes. Al Gore’s sin here is not his actions, but not being the caricature of an environmentalist which they would make him out to be.

Update: Halperin’s Team Continues To Report Right Wing Smears as News

Republicans Are Losing the Fiscal Conservatives

I found, via Andrew Sullivan, more evidence for an argument I’ve made many times here that the conventional distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, or liberals and conservatives, over economic matters no longer apply. Sullivan points out a statement from Frank Luntz in The Washington Post:

My polls show that Democrats now hold a perceived advantage with voters not just on reducing deficits and balancing the budget but on an issue long seen as a GOP strength: ending wasteful spending. That alone should jar Republicans into taking a fresh approach.

I’ve long maintained that the Republican claims of supporting small government represents their preferred rhetoric, not reality. As Sullivan also points out, rather than showing evidence of supporting fiscal responsibility, “they seem far more concerned to shore up the battle against abortion and gay marriage.” Or, as I wrote yesterday, Republicans can no longer being taken seriously with regards to developing public policy when they have made ignoring reality part of their political philosophy.

There was a time when being a conservative meant supporting fiscal responsibility and avoiding unnecessary foreign entanglements. Today that’s a far better description of Howard Dean, John Kerry, and many other Democrats than of any prominent Republicans. Of course you’ll never hear this from Republicans who prefer to demonize their opponents rather than engage in an honest discussion of the issues. Earlier in the op-ed, Luntz wrote:

It is unfortunate that the Republican Party is currently dominated by hyperpartisan, gut-punching professional politicians and expert technicians whom I wouldn’t want to face at the dark end of the electoral alley. They specialize in the flawless execution of “wedge” politics. That may have worked well in past elections, but no longer. The latest gimmick is “branding” — a Madison Avenue technique — to reverse the Republican slide. But political parties are not brands, slogans are not a replacement for ideas and you don’t sell leaders the way you sell widgets.

Strange. That’s exactly what I thought Luntz’s role has been in the GOP all along.

Quote of the Day

Take your pick from the many quotes on religion posted today at Democratic Underground. It looks like a useful link to keep around for the next conservative that argues that this is a Christian nation and the fouding fathers didn’t really support separation of church and state.

Posted in Religion. Tags: . No Comments »

Oscar Win Stimulates Further Speculation of Gore Run

The publicity from last night’s Oscar win has predictably started yet another round of speculation among those who would like to see Gore elected President again. Politco provides a good round up of his recent activity and comments, much of which has already been the subject of posts here and around the blogosphere. They quote Donna Brazile:

“Honestly, this was the inaugural parade we all envisioned,” said Donna Brazile, his former campaign manager. “Gore’s political stock is hot right now. I don’t know if I would cash in now with so many players still on stage. There’s no reason to force him to declare tomorrow. ”

Indeed, Brazile said the former vice president could wait as late as the time states begin requiring delegate slates and statements of candidacy, since he could raise money quickly and much of the campaigns’ budgets are devoted to a long nominating process he would avoid. “This was one of those rare moments, similar to the civil rights movement, when you experience the ground shifting,” she said. “Perhaps it’s not a movement for a presidential run, but a moment for the debate to start for real change on how we live on planet earth.”

Washington Whispers speculated yesterday that Gore could wait to enter the race as he could finance the early stages of a run himself:

If you’re wondering why, despite his denials, Al Gore remains the most talked about nonpresidential candidate, it’s this: His friends think he’s done so well in the private world that he could bankroll the start of his own 2008 bid. “If Al Gore wants to run, he will come with all the means necessary,” says longtime ally Donna Brazile. “Al Gore is someone who can pull it off at half time,” she said. But he’s got competing interests for his wallet: Friends say he also wants to expand his global climate change campaign.

Obama and Decisions of War and Peace

Andrew Sullivan has posted another statement from Barack Obama from 2002 in which he showed he understood the problems of invading Iraq. He also made it clear he would have voted no on the Iraq War Resolution. This is why he stands a chance of beating Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

The question isn’t whether or not someone has apologized for their vote, or now says they will get us out of Iraq. This is a matter of fundamental judgement. At the time of the IWR vote it was clear that invading Iraq was unnecessary and would lead to disaster. Obama realized this while Clinton and Edwards did not. As Obama has said, “The authorization vote is relevant only because it gives an insight into how people think about these problems and suggests the sort of judgment they apply in evaluating a policy decision.”

My main concern is not over how they voted or what they say about their vote now, but whether I trust the candidate to make the right decision over matters of war and peace in the future. Obama comes out far ahead of Clinton and Edwards on this test. In 2004 I supported John Kerry despite disagreeing with his vote because Kerry spoke out before the war warning, as Obama did, that the difficult part would be after Saddam was overthrown should we go to war. Despite his vote, Kerry made it clear before the war began that his vote to authorize force as a last resort did not justify going to war in the absence of evidence that we were threatened by WMD. Unlike Edwards and Clinton, Obama and Kerry were saying this before the war began, and didn’t wait until a majority of voters shared this view. Obama also realized that giving such authorization to Bush would be a bad precedent to set and would be a mistake.