Newsweek’s Hirsch Pleads for Al Gore in ’08


By: Warner Todd Huston

I wasn’t aware that Michael Hirsh of Newsweek magazine was a writer of such biting satire but after reading his latest titled, “Why Isn’t Al Gore Running?,” I found myself marveling at his wit… or sad for his intellectual incuriosity should he be serious for an Al Gore candidacy for president in 2008. Unfortunately, my hope that he was displaying a Swiftian penchant for satire is easily overcome by the impression he is, indeed, seriously touting another Gore run for the White House. You Lilliputians be damned because Hirsh’s Goreliver stands astride the country — nay the world — like a colossus of Brobdingnagian proportions. And that is really, really big you should know. Not bad on Goreliver’s part for a drop out of divinity school, eh?

No, sadly I do believe that Newsweek’s Hirsh was completely serious when he imagines that Gore would make the ideal 2008 candidate. After all, according to Hirsh, Al Gore is saving the planet no less and what better way than to do it from the Oval Office? So, I’ll have to settle for ridiculing Hirsh’s efforts as opposed to saluting him for his biting wit and perspicacity.

To show Hirsh’s complete inability to grasp what qualifies a person as a great leader, the very first few words of his sycophantic puff piece seems to say that because Gore was seen in the company of two Hollywierd celebs, that must really mean something important.

There he was again on the world stage–in Oslo this time–celebrating his Nobel Peace Prize with singer Melissa Etheridge and actress Uma Thurman, the Hollywood hottie who called him “adorable” and said listening to him talk was “like watching a beautiful racehorse run.”

So, because Gore has the admiration of one B level actress and one aged songstress who hasn’t had a number one hit for 10 years (and even then it was in Canada — 14 years for a Hit in the US), we are supposed to be overawed with his star power? I’m not sure if Hirsh realizes it, but William Hung put out a big selling album once. If Gore sidled up to that warbler are we any better assured that Gore’s scientific acumen puts him the the Einstein club?

But wait, all may not be well. Hirsh scolds his idol for forsaking his duty to cure America and the world of its ills by not wanting to run for office.

But Al Gore isn’t running. Which raises the question: maybe Gore’s gotten a little too adorable–too comfortable in his role as a globe-trotting guru. What about his own damn country?

Oh, et tu Brute? The unkindest cut of all is disappointment that devolves into carping from a slobbering fanboy, isn’t it? I wonder if Gore just sent Hirsh an autographed pair of his Fruit of the Looms that Hirsh would be satisfied enough to forget all about this campaigning business?

Still, Hirsh is so in lust with Gore that he indulges in a seriously absurdist effort to rehabilitate Gore’s standing as a serious man. He even casts Gore into the literary role of a Shakespearian character to show how great his idol is.

Why isn’t Al Gore–Nobel laureate and enviro rock star, embodiment of the alternative history that never was, winner of the largest popular-vote total in U.S. presidential history (at the time) –seeking the job that many people still think should have been his in 2000? Yes, we’ve all heard that Gore’s reached a kind of peace within himself, and what fire that is left in his belly is guttering out. But shouldn’t this Hamlet of the Hustings be tormented with a little of the melancholy Dane’s anguished ambition, telling himself: “The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right?”

Talk about being overwrought. And I haven’t yet gotten past the very first paragraph of this love letter to failure!

Of course, you see, the whole country is out to get the apple of Hirsh’s eye. For even as Albert Gorxote de la Luncha is tilting at his windmills, the eeeevil Bushies are conspiring to undermine his Globaloney crusade. Hirsh gives us a litany of the many mean things that Bush has done to Al Gore as Gore, so concerned about our well being and improving the fortunes of his carbon offset selling company, mounted the stage at the Bali enviro-shakedown conference to address his fellow pretenders to the academia de la sciences.

Gore is obviously not without ambition to set things right: he appears to want to save the entire planet single-handedly. “Without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself,” he said in his Nobel acceptance speech. “It is time to make peace with the planet.” After receiving his prize, Gore flew onto Bali, where the U.S. government this week succeeded in single-handedly blocking a proposal that called on industrialized nations to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent by 2020. The Bush administration’s lonely stand at the two-week-long meeting of nearly 190 nations–convened to start talks on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012–came even as new NASA satellite data showed a frightening acceleration in the melting of the Arctic. “My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” Gore declared as the Bali negotiations bogged down. And that comes after 10 years of limbo for Kyoto, thanks in large part to the Bush administration. Even Australia, whose zealously pro-Bush prime minister, John Howard, was defeated recently in part because of his opposition to Kyoto, has now signed the protocol. That leaves the United States as the only developed nation that has not joined the agreement.

There is so much blarney in that bloated paragraph that one would be excused in thinking that Gore is less like a Guru and more like a Dodo whose socialist utopianism wrapped in the pretty trappings of scienceism is about to become extinct as more and more voices are raised on a daily basis calling his outlandish theories into question. Not that Hirsh is deterred by facts. After all, Hirsh IS saying that Al Gore could become president here. We are talking real fanaticism on Hirsh’s part, a fascination that precludes reason.

Also, the global warming issue was far down the list of Australian’s concerns in their recent election. But, it amuses to point out that even Howard’s leftist replacement, Kevin Rudd, has just spent time backtracking on his support for draconian Kyoto solutions to so-called “climate change.”

Next Hirsh deems that the solution to “climate change” is to get a president that will force the world to observe radical cuts in their economies and lifestyles to implement Kyoto.

Gore’s passion and prescience on global warming are admirable. But let’s get real: without a U.S. president who’s fully behind an emission-reduction program, it’s simply not going to happen. That’s the lesson of Bali. America is still the only superpower, and there is no replacement on the horizon. The way to really save the planet is to move into the Oval Office.

So, um, we shouldn’t use American power to stop the daily murdering of Iraqis under Saddam by invading Iraq and instituting regime change, but we should use American might to force other countries to worry about “climate change”? American interventionism is evil if Bush does it, but good if Gore does it? In this we can see the utter lack of a moral compass in Hirsh and his ilk.It says loads about their messianic presumptions, though.

But, after reading his entire piece — and I commend anyone with the stamina to get through the whole, long, interminable rant — one realizes that Hirsh may be less the Goreophile he at first appears and more just a prosaic Bushitler hater. As what initially appears to be Goregasms of love for the jolly green giant turns into antipathy for his not having beaten G.W. in a grudge match in 2004.

Well, Al, I’m glad you’re at peace, but your planet and your country aren’t. If you believe that instead of the “nuclear winter” that you and other politicians worked to avoid during the cold war we now face a “carbon summer,” as you put it in your Nobel speech, then why the devil are you cavorting around on stage with Hollywood types in Oslo? Gore, we must remember, originally took himself out of what many Americans believed should have been his rightful rematch with George W. Bush when the former veep announced at the height of Bush’s popularity that he wouldn’t run again.

And the gnashing of teeth and the wearing of sackcloth and ashes continues all the way from 2000, to 2004 to 2008! Woe is he, sayeth the Gore lamenter! I picture Hirsh standing in a field next to his downed craft, brandishing in the air a clenched fist damning his fate and lack of battle skills as G.W. “the red baron” Bush, zooms over head and flies his red plane to victory over and over again right in Hirsh’s ever reddening face. Like many of Hirsh’s type, he has become unhinged.

But, even as his Bush Derangement Syndrome reaches into his very soul, Hirsh sees a hint of hope, fleeting yes, but a sparkling bauble that he cannot resist reaching for.

Why not you, Al? The last time Gore decided not to run, memories of his close race with Bush were still fresh in the minds of unforgiving Dems. “In 2002, there was lot of anger at him within the Democratic Party,” says one former adviser. “He could have taken Bush in 2004, but the road to the nomination was not going to be easy. The party really treated him terribly.” Now he’s got real hero status, having transformed his image from wooden wonk to globo-guy. And while the Dems have several candidates of substance to choose from, serious doubts about electability continue to plague the two front runners. But time is running out fast for Gore.”The only way he becomes president now is if there’s a catastrophic collapse of the field, and something we haven’t seen in ages, a brokered convention,” says the former adviser. Better that, perhaps, than a broken environment.

The comedy gold here is priceless. Hirsh really should consider quitting his day job and taking up a seat at the table of the joke shop behind John Stewart’s The Daily Show. I mean, really. The guy has comedy chops that are second to none. Of course his capacity at political analysis sits at the opposite end of the scale from his comedic capabilities, sadly. So, in this case, we really should say Hirsh should quit his day job!

In any case, it’s hard to believe that between the panting, hanger on Hirsh and Al “the Goricle” Gore, the saner of the pair appears to be Gore.

And that is really saying something!

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