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


  1. 1
    dsmith says:

    I have a .pdf to the electric bills (they are all over the rightwing sites) and they also have the gas bills, so there is evidence out there. You just haven’t looked for it.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    You’re missing the point. Nobody disputes Gore’s energy bills. The problem is the dishonest manner in which Gore’s bills are being presented, falsely claiming that the fact that he uses electricity somehow contradicts his arguments regarding climate change. In taking conservation measures and buying the carbon offsets Gore is doing exactly what he advocates. The reports are also dishonest in portraying attacks coming from an energy-industry financed conservative group as coming from a nonpartisan think tank.

  3. 3
    dsmith says:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond in kind. I appreciate the dialog.

    I have to say though, some have looked deeper into Gores “carbon offset” purchases and found that he is purchasing these offsets from his own company, number 1. And number 2, where is there ANY evidence that the money actually goes to do anything? Even I have looked for that and couldn’t really tell. Some of these companies look downright suspicious.

    Can you provide evidence that something is actually done with these carbon offset purchases? I haven’t been able to find any concrete evidence. Second, who is planting these trees or making these windmill farms? Where?

    Additionally, it’s nice that Gore is buying these carbon offsets (if they do actually exist and help), but you have to admit, his electricity usage (not the price he pays) is massive! Why wouldn’t he not only buy carbon offsets, but also cut down on his consumption so he could have a negative carbon inprint?

    It’s like back when the Catholic church was buying your sins. That way, the rich could go out and sin like crazy, then just buy these sin taxes and be redeemed. Or like the swampland in Florida that was sold to many different people and no one could build a house on the property.

    There are just too many questions on Gores side of the fence here. If he is SERIOUS about global warming, and if he truly believes that the planet is going to suffer to such a massive extent, why isn’t he doing ALL he can to reduce his consumption? Is it necessary for him and Tipper to live in a 10,000 square foot house?

    Look, I’m by no means a communist or minimalist. I don’t begrudge anyone who lives the high life (myself included), but when you preach about the climate and make your entire living and existence on this one issue, you should walk the walk. It’s as bad (yes, it is) as the preacher getting caught in a homosexual relationship! You have to admit that.

    By the way, the think tank may not be non-partisan, but the documents are real. I’ve seen them. They even have his name and address on them. It’s hard to deny it. Please, don’t shoot the messenger.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Whether Gore’s carbon offsets are a good solution is a totally different subject. The arguments against Gore are that he is being hypocritical here, but in fact he is doing exactly what he advocates.

    Why should’t Gore live in a 10,000 foot house? Many of his wealthy conservative critic do. They misrepresent his views by claiming he opposes modern technology and the ecnomic benefits of our society. Gore is taking the steps he advises others to take with regards to reducing their carbon foot print. Conservaties can’t have it both ways in claiming the issue is bogus and also criticizing Gore because he isn’t doing even more than he advocates to fight climate change.

    “Why wouldn’t he not only buy carbon offsets, but also cut down on his consumption so he could have a negative carbon inprint?” He is. He’s taken several steps to reduce the energy use, which would otherwise be much greater. He also reportedly in the process of taking additional steps to further reduce the energy use.

    Again, the validity of the documents is not the issue. They are misportraying the information to lead people to a totally false conclusion.

    I’m not just shooting the messenger by exposing the think tank. It is being claimed that a nonpartisan think tank did this investigation when actually this is an oil-industry financed conservative group which is set up to launch this dishonest attack.

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