Gore At Grover’s

by Steven F. Hayward

Indeed, the former Vice President did turn up at Grover’s Wednesday Group meeting, apparently at his own request, to give an abbreviated version of his global warming presentation. As Grover’s meetings are off-the-record, I won’t relay any of Gore specific remarks (beyond repeating what I think he’d want Cornerites to hear–that global warming and the potential harm it may do to the planet should be recognized as a moral challenge by everyone, especially conservatives). But I think I can stay within the rules to make a few general observations about the experience.

First, Gore was funny, relaxed, and self-effacing, and he was received by the Group with the utmost politeness and courtesy, as it should be. John Miller is right to praise the guy for seeking to meet with a group of people not one of whom likely voted for him. His Powerpoint presentation on global warming was superbly done–the best I have ever seen either on this or any topic. (He has some dazzling graphics, and uses Powerpoint as it ought to be used.)

Gore took on all comers for about 25 minutes after the speech, and I thought most of his responses were not strong. He graciously acknowledged the merits of good points and some challenges put to him (including two from me, if I can boast a bit). But most of his answers, I thought, sounded like canned bits of the rest of his speech that he left out, and he didn’t, with few exceptions, join the fundamental premises at the heart of the questions. He also is not up to date on a few aspects of the climate change debate, but this is entirely forgiveable in my mind because it is almost impossible to keep up with this fast-moving scene.

Above all, Gore the practical politician may have come to realize something the environmental movement is resolutely clueless about: there can be no serious progress on any environmental issues without the participation of conservatives, for the obvious reason that the conservative movement is a potent force that is not going away any time soon. And with most other foreign conservative parties having joined the green/global warming bandwagon to some extent, this leaves the American conservative movement as the most significant remaining holdout. Most environmentalists want to demonize conservatives; Gore says he wants to talk to us. Good for him.

One final observation: I got the impression, simply from body language and maybe even a facial tic, that Gore doesn’t much like Hillary Clinton.

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