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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Al Gore In London: Global Chill From A Case Of The Big Head

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Britain's Daily Mail is reporting that Al Gore seemed insufferably boring and big headed during a recent charity appearance in London. It was the kind of review that dogged him during his days as a public official. In London, Gore was described as delivering a lousy speech that left supporters cold; he picked up a fat fee and wouldn't mingle with the crowd that paid to see him talk about global warming. If so, it might be a reversion or resumption of the kind of moody moments that Nobel winner Gore was known for during his U.S. political career as vice president and senator.

Over the years, as a newspaper reporter who covered Gore every now and then, I witnessed such episodes. Once, on the military airfield tarmac at Fort Campbell -- as troops returned from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s -- Gore turned aloof and wouldn't speak. It was a joyous welcoming ceremony and heart-lifting moment to see soldiers come home from war and reunite with loved ones. Gore, however, was absolutely stony. He was Tennessee's U.S. Senator at the time, and he seemed like a grouch. It was a puzzling performance. Another time he came to inspect flooding along the Ohio River in 1997. He was vice president, did a quick photo op and mostly stayed away from people in their damaged homes. The Secret Service reportedly was concerned about his safety -- that debris in the Ohio River was hazardous. Cops, fire crews, relief personnel, even clowns from Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, were comforting those in shelters or battling the flood waters. But Gore beat it out of town, and it was a moment that raised eyebrows.

Then, a few years later as he campaigned for the presidency, he stopped at a Montessori school near downtown Cincinnati. It was a stultifying appearance, only adding to his reputation at the time as a wooden man or robot. Now the report from London, which sounded too familiar:

"Paul Hetherington, media manager for Water Aid, said: "Pictures couldn't be taken and people were being moved out of the main hall so they wouldn't experience the event. It was very disruptive. We had to apologise to people who were invited. We wanted to say thank you for all the support that many people had given us, but some of them were asked to leave. Many guests were invited by the hosts, so why should the speaker have any control over these guests and removing the media? It defeated the object of trying to raise awareness of the cause."

A Gore spokesman apologized for the limited availability at the London event.


  1. Why, in God's name, do people continue posting gratuitous, superficial criticisms of Al Gore -- who is almost superhuman in his accomplishments following a devastating, unjust loss. I can only conclude "envy" or else a deep-seated meanness of spirit. He is a prophet in his own time, a hero to millions, enormously talented and a man of surpassing integrity.

  2. I agree. He is ulike most politicians.

  3. Hi Anon --

    Al Gore is an odd figure. He probably would have been elected president if he had fought harder for the job and demonstrated any kind of affinity for what many call the little people. He bailed out of Ohio, a state he might havee won, and he bailed out of the legal fight with Bush. He was not animated when he should have been full of piss and vinegar and outrage.

    I am not trying to come across as a detractor. I am trying to say that Al Gore can be stiff and dull and difficult and terribly stuffy, moody, boring and wooden. I am not saying he is an evil or awful fellow. He just is hard to fathom. He no doubt is right about global warming -- but is that really the biggest problem world faces? He seems to be able to fly and drive anywhere he wants -- hydrocarbon effects be damned. Gandhi wore home spun cotton to make his point. Gore seems to travel by SUV and jet to make his.

    I'm just wondering why Al Gore is not talking about the problems of street crimes in the U.S., how drugs imported from Mexico, Colombia and Afghanistan etc are destroying our cities, how too many schools are crappy, how college costs are growing beyond reach for many Americans, how the war in Iraq may have been based on phony intelligence, how the banking and financial system is warped to favor CEOS, how jobs are moving offshore, how China makes Christmas ornaments for sale in the U.S. but one cannot freely practice Christianity in China, or even have free speech in that country, which is a one-party dictatorship.

    Instead, he says we are getting hotter. Gore was in the tobacco business. He is not a saint.

  4. Now a day global warming controversy is very hype. NASA sciencetists completely work on global warming research. According the sciencetists after 30 year earth is completely effected by global warming.

  5. Dear Rush, er.., Bill:

    Yes, Al is not a regular guy. And, he's certainly no George W. Bush, who's about as regular as a guy gets. So, is that really a good reason to elect one over the other?

    Unfortunately you and your pals in the press frequently develop some editorial angle and then recirculate it ad nauseaum. Why? I guess it avoids having to do any real critical thinking and makes your life easier. It also seems to sell papers-nothing like giving people the same old comforting, easily understood put-downs.

    A favorite editorial canard is that Gore claimed to have invented the internet. He didn't actually make that claim but did say he played a vital role in its development. Just yesterday I read an article by several of the people who did invent the internet. They were unstinting in their praise of Gore's understanding of what they were trying to do back then. They said his offer of government support was crucial. They described it as an example of just how helpful the government can be. They also said it was a model for future government behavior.

    When was the last time "W" was accused of orignal thinking or establishing a model for government behavior?

    You say there are more important issues than global warming. Really? What's more important than our seaboards and their tens of millions of populace sinking beneath the waves? And taking the world's ecomomies with them?

    And let's say, for argument's sake, that it really is only the second or third most important world-issue. Is that really a criticism?

    Here's a proposal: Why not judge Gore on the content of his ideas, however irritating you may find his personal idiosyncracies? And why not do the same for this year's crop of candidates? Perhaps by doing so we will avoid electing another likable lightweight.

    You know, George Washington is described as being a bit of a stiff. And his family, like Gore's, raised tobacco. They also lived on a huge plantation that was much bigger than their actual needs called for and they had this big fancy mansion up on some kind of mount, where they could look down on all the little people who lived around them. Using your criteria, he wouldn't stand a chance.