Home > Uncategorized > The Big "What If?" Question

The Big "What If?" Question

Al Gore has suddenly become the Richard Nixon of his generation: a two-term vice-president who narrowly lost a presidential election (although we all know he won in 2000), sits out the next election and then quietly, but effectively, reinvents himself. This is exactly what Gore is doing, with everything fromthis new film about the environment to his recent appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

So I throw out two “What If” questions for you to chew on: (1) What if we had put Al Gore in the White House in 2000 – how would the last six years been different. Obviously (1) we never would have gone into Iraq and (2) the environment wouldn’t be the mess it is today. What else?

Also, What If Gore makes a shot in 2008? Would you give him a second chance?

Here’s a recent column from the Washington Post:

“Liberals famously love John McCain, but that’s not the weirdest political
coupling. The oil industry and its Republican allies are rooting for Al
Gore, albeit unintentionally.

Gore stars in a movie that opens this week in New York and Los Angeles. The
film features the once and maybe future presidential candidate lecturing
about climate change: There are charts, bullet points and diagrams; there
are maps of ocean currents and endless iceberg pictures. It’s hard to say
which menaces the nation more: movie stars who go into politics or
politicians who go into movies.

Ordinarily this film would never have been made, let alone scheduled for
release in hundreds of theaters. But President Bush and the congressional
Republicans have created a Ross Perot moment: a hunger for a leader with
diagrams and charts, for a nerd who lays out basic facts ignored by
blinkered government. By their contempt for expert opinion on everything
from Iraqi reconstruction to the cost of their tax cuts, Republicans have
turned Diagram Gore into a hero. By their serial dishonesty, Republicans
have created a market for “An Inconvenient Truth” — the title of Gore’s
movie.

Republican dishonesty reaches its extreme on the issue of global warming.
Yes, climate science is complex, and nobody can forecast the earth’s
temperature with complete confidence. But the fact that scientists don’t
know everything isn’t a license to ignore what they do know: that the earth
is warming, glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising at an
accelerating pace — and that these changes are driven at least partly by
fossil-fuel consumption. The U.S. National Academies have confirmed this;
their foreign counterparts have confirmed this; and so has the world’s top
authority on the subject, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .
None of this is controversial.

Except among Republicans. Candidate Bush acknowledged that climate change
was a problem; once elected he denied it; then he denied the denial but
refused to let his administration do anything about climate. Lately he has
talked about ridding the nation of its oil addiction, but that’s because oil
finances Arab extremism. Bush has been silent on the link between oil and
global warming.

Meanwhile, others have been vocal. James Inhofe, the Republican who
ironically chairs the Senate environment committee, has described global
warming as the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” He
avoids scientists who might put him right: His star witness at a hearing
last year was Michael Crichton, a science-fiction novelist.

Then there is Conrad Burns, a Republican senator from Montana. “You remember
the ice age?” he asked Environment and Energy Daily this month. “It’s been
warming ever since, and there ain’t anything we can do to stop it.”

Every quote like this plays into Gore’s hands, turning his statements of
scientific conventional wisdom into heroic actions. But the Republicans and
their allies don’t see what they’re doing. Last week, in anticipation of
Gore’s movie launch, conservatives unleashed two TV ads on what they called
“the alleged global warming crisis.”

The ads are the work of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a group
backed by the oil industry that supplies the anti-scientific crowd with
arguments. “Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life,” both
scripts conclude, as the camera homes in on a girl with a dandelion. The
ads’ main scientific contention is that the talk of melting ice caps is all
wrong: “Greenland’s glaciers are growing, not melting.”

Well, the most authoritative and up-to-date statement on climate science is
contained in a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
that is circulating in draft form. According to scientists who have seen it,
Chapter Four says: “Taken together, the ice sheets in Greenland and
Antarctica are shrinking.” As to the possibility that the melting of some
ice caps is offset by the growth of others, the draft also says: “Thickening
in central regions of Greenland is more than offset by increased melting
near the coast.”

In other words, the ads are nonsense. So are some of the assertions on the
CEI Web site. The group suggests, for example, that polar bears have nothing
to fear from the melting of their habitat. But the Arctic Climate Impact
Assessment , a top-notch peer-reviewed source on this subject, has something
different to say: “the reduction in sea ice is very likely to have
devastating consequences for polar bears.”

Six years ago, Bush narrowly defeated Gore, apparently because voters
thought he’d be a nicer guy to have a beer with. But after years of
governmental bungling, of willful indifference to truth, the national mood
seems to be changing. Voters have seen that nice guys can screw up. And
technocrats with diagrams and charts have never seemed so interesting.”

What do you think? What if?

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  1. Anonymous
    May 25, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    I thought that you folks had finally realized that Bush won the 2000 election legitimately – please get over this – wake up and smell the coffee – and don’t forget to take time to drink some – it may clear your foggy thinking!

  2. Rich from Paso
    May 25, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    Al Gore is just as stiff, just as much a boob, and just as ate up with the dumbass as he has ever been. What gets me is that the 2000 election even came as close as it did. If the American people took just one second to analyze what Gore said, then you’d have to conclude that Gore was asking for an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the Clinton Administration, of which he had a major role (the #3 role behind Hillary to be exact). Gore would have tried Moussaui, flung some bombs at Afghanistan and declared victory in the War on Terrorism. There is NOTHING in Al Gore’s past that makes believe that the country would be one iota safer than it was under Clinton. Maybe, maybe not, we wouldn’t have invade Iraq, but that is secondary to the world-wide prosecution of the Global War on Terrrorism. We are in places like the Phillipines, Indonesia, the Horn of Africa, etc. I have no doubt that Gore would not have the military as involved in world wide operations. Gore is partially responsible for the immigration mess we are in due to his Citizenship USA program he created as Vice-President. Gore tried to get illegals made into US citizens super quick so they could vote for him in 2000. Al “No controlling legal authority” Gore thought it was okay to shake down Buhdist monks (intermediaries of the Chinese government I’m sure) for campaign contributions. There were jsut as many legal issues around the Clinton/Gore white house as the Bush/Cheney white house.

    As for Global Warming, I have posted several articles from the sun and water vapor, to cow burps, to volcanoes creating greenhouse gases and global warming. here is an article about a mini-ice age that may be coming. Kyoto is a “punish American business” protocol that does nothing to hold China, India or Russia (all non-signatories) acocuntable for their greenhouse emissions. Not only that but the benefits of Kyoto are minimal at best. A scientist, sho used to support Kyoto, said on a FoxNews special that we could end global hunger with half of the money ($75 billion) that will be spent trying to comply with the Kyoto Protocols world wide. Imagine, no more pictures of starving babies in Africa and Asia for $75 billion. Computer models for global warming are flawed, mostly because the baseline information is just not there; no one was alive in the 2000 BC with weather devices to record temperatures. Scientists are forced to try and infer temperature readings from core samples and ocean mud. Bottom line: the earth may be warming but the absolute doomsday, apocolyptical ravings from the environmental left are overwrought.

    President Gore? Heaven help us all.

  3. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    May 26, 2006 at 4:35 am

    Give us a break Dave. Exactly how is the environment worse off today than it would have been if Gore was in command. Would it have been better if he ordered millions of gallons of water released to have a photo op? Or maybe he is just so concerned with other people using fossil fuels, but it is ok for him. to drive about 500 yards in a convoy Algore is a big, fat liar and will do or say anything to be president since he was the dumbest VP ever. Here is a report and video DOCUMENTING how much Algor burns in his jet and other stuff

    In summary for now, Algore has no place in politics. He has lied many, many times about the Iraq Search for WMD’s and his enept supervision of people like Sandy Berger Saddam has 10X the WMD’s of the past in 1998 and was VP during the time where he allowed Nancy Pelosi and other to say similar things and Algore, being the smartes man in any room, should have wipped out his chart to correct us all. After all, he didn’t really invent the internet, he Created it!

  4. Rich from Paso
    May 26, 2006 at 6:10 am

    Here is a site with more Gore whoppers and outright lies. Remember the one in the presidential debate when Gore said he toured a Texas disaster area with James Lee Witt, a former FEMA director, and the truth was that Gore was no where near Texas when Lee Witt was there. It should have been “no controlling moral authority” over Gore’s abuse of the truth.

    Oh, did I mention that the Clinton/Gore administration was the one that gave us the Echelon program. That’s for all of you “civil libertarians” worried about Bush and the NSA.

  5. Todd from Sewerville
    May 26, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    You guys make me laugh. After six years of Bush-Cheney, I’d take just about anyone else.

  6. Rich from Paso
    May 26, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    Back to Dave’s original assertion that the United States would not have invaded Iraq under an Albert Gore Jr presidential administration: He may be right, but that wouldn’t stop Al Gore from talking about it and pandering to groups about it.

    Here it states that in 1992, Al Gore said that Bush 41 should stop coddling Hussein. In the same link, the Clinton/Gore adminsitration were the first to put forth the link between Iraq and al Qaeda.

    Here is a link to all of the quotes from Clinton and Al Gore on Iraq, Saddam Hussein, WMDs, and regime change.

    As late as June 2000, Al Gore pledged (pandered) to the Iraqi Nationa Congress that regime< change in Iraq was the stated policy of the United States. Here is what the INC believes Gore said.

    But when Bush enters office and actually goes in and removes Hussein from power, has Hussein tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and once and for all, ends Iraq as a WMD threat, Gore accuses Bush of lying to the American people about Iraq!!!! Gore said that Bush deceived America about the al Qaeda connection that Clinton/Gore Administration made in 1998.

    If Gore had won we would have been treated to four years of Gore talking about regime change in Iraq and a war on terrorism. It just means that Gore is a excellent presidential candidate of the Demo-Hypocrite Party. Say what you will but you have to admit that Bush does exactly what he says he is going to do.

  7. Anonymous
    May 26, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    Dave,

    It looks like your listeners have done a better job at supporting their arguments. If you think a politician can have any significant effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, then you really need to take a Biology class.

    Agreed, Bush has done a poor job as President, but your opinions on the environment have very little objective factual basis.

  8. Anonymous
    May 26, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    Don’t forget – “science-fiction” writer Michael Crichton has a Doctorate of Medicine degree from Harvard, which is certainly a more impressive scientific credential than any small-market talk-show host that I know of.

    Dr. Crichton also has compiled an impressive bibiography from reputable, main-stream academic institutions that refute nearly every claim about humans and their link to global warming. It can be found (in detail) at the end of his book – State of Fear.

  9. Rob
    May 27, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    first of all, can we stop with the anonymous posts, Anyone who won’t at least provide an identity is not worthy of recognition

    Rich-
    again, another well crafted and documented post. Almost persuades me… “ate up with the dumbass”…where does that come from?

    however, I would like to stick with the main point, which is the issue of global warming, or as it should be referred to, global climate change (GCC). Slinging mud does nothing to further the discussion. What we need to examine is:
    1)is GCC happening?
    2)is it in any way due even partly to our actions?(fossil fuel, deforestation)
    3)what can we do to prepare for any consequences of radical, or even subtle climate change?

    Point 1 – I don’t think anyone can deny that GCC is happening. You can always find dissenting opinions (there is still a flat earth society!)but just look for yourself – ALL temperate zone glaciers are retreating, and the polar ice caps are disappearing – that is an observable fact. What is misleading in much of the counter-GCC arguments is that no one climate effect will be consistent. Some icepack may increase due to increased precipitation, which is brought on by warming ocean temps. This is a fact – the oceans are warmer according to the NOAA (sorry, cant figure out how to post a link! I’ll post sorces at bottom) Another more serious consequence of this melting is the effect on ocean currents. Scripps institute has reported that the gulf stream is on the verge of shutting down. This is due to the increased amount of fresh water in the oceans (from glacial and polar melting) which affects a complicated process called the thermal haline
    circulation. Bottom line is that the gulf stream makes northwestern europe able to produce crops and not be a frozen tundra.

    Point 2 – No scientists deny that greenhouse gasses contribute to GCC. The question is how much are we contributing to the spike in CO2 and other gasses? (please drop the cow farts argument – it’s only an issue because we are on such a beef intensive diet) Even if we only contribute say 25% of the CO2 from industry, shouldn’t we work towards limiting at least that?
    Here’s a scary fact- much of the permafrost is melting. That permafrost keeps massive amounts of dead plant material from decaying, and thus releasing greenhouse gasses. This mass melting could be the tipping point.
    Point 3 – This is really where hopefully we can all agree. We should all be planning for this. The pentagon has developed a scenario where they examine what happens as the gulf stream shuts down and people migrate south to escape the cold. If you think the middle east is chaotic now, just wait!
    I think we REALLY need to stop lobbing global warming around as some sort of political football and calmly examine the facts, and determine a sound course of action. This blog is a perfect example – this whole discussion turned into a Gore slam-fest. That does no one any sevice at all.
    Rich, you are far too thoughtful in your arguments to engage in petty snipes like you did.

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/sea_ice.html
    http://www.solcomhouse.com/hotwater.htm
    http://www.physorg.com/news5769.html
    http://www.grist.org/news/muck/2004/02/25/pentagoners/

  10. Rich from Paso
    May 27, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    Rob,
    Nice Job. You’re right and I will apologize to Mr. Gore the next time I see him.

    You bring up some very salient points and I do agree that GCC and CO2 emissions are something that we can manage but not to such extent that we in the United States are supposed to radically change our lifestyles in the next 5 to 10 years to forstall a problem decades to come. Steps are already being taken to reduce the CO2 emissions by the US into the atmosphere. Things like CO2 injection into oil wells not only has the benefit boosting our domestic oil production and thus reducing the need for foreign, and less politically stable, sources of oil, which will lower prices but reduces the CO2 into the atmosphere. While this technology may be a five years away, every scientist agrees that “The Day After Tomorrow” movie scenario won’t happen. that’s not to say don’t worry about it, but we have time to plan, like you said. The main problem with combating GCC agressively now is that the technology is too expensive to be practical. Spain has built a power plant that produces zero CO2, but the problem is that the plant cost three times more than a coal fired plant and it produces a third less power. Since all costs are born by the consumer, we would pay three times the price and need three times as many plants to do what we are doing now.

    As for Gore, the main problem I have with Gore and his GCC obsession is that it is singular and unchanged. It is the only issue that Gore hasn’t flip-flopped on. He said the same thing in 1992 about GCC that he says (haven’t seen it, but it’s what I’ve heard), in his “Inconvienient Truth” movie. Most importantly: he was Vice-President of the United States for eight years and nothing was done. Gore was more concerned about shaking down Buhddist monks for campaign contributions, getting illegal aliens citizenship before the election and not dealing with bin Laden than his pet cause. Only when it’s close to an election year does he break out this movie. That’s why I never want to see Presiden Albert Gore, Jr.

  11. rob
    May 27, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Hey Rich

    The thing that scares me the most is what I skimmed over briefly – the melting of the tundra. I’m trying to find the research paper that states it but its gist was that the amount of co2 and methane tied up in the tundra would dwarf the amounts that humans have released throughout history, and basically all at once. This could be as I said the tipping point that leads to runaway warming. (ala what happened to venus) I don’t want to get too far off into doomsday stuff, but in geologic time spans (i.e.millions of years) stuff like this does happen (i.e Permian mass extinction 251 million yrs ago). I don’t claim to be an expert on all this, but a close relative of mine has a book coming out this year about global warming. He’s a planetary geologist at the U. of Arizona. He’s been studying this stuff since the 70’s – even back then he knew something was out of wack, and he thought we were heading into another mini ice age (ala 1100’s to 1500’s). I’ve seen the research he’s done and collected and it’s really scary stuff.
    The point you made about us not radically changing our lifestyles, well thats true, but what is the wake-up call?. Look at the line of cars on hwy 41 this weekend – huge 4-wheelers and SUV’s towing all manner of fossil fuel burning toys, just for a weekend of fun? Is fun that complicated? Do we all really need all that stuff? You said that the consumer must bear the cost for new, cleaner technologies. Thats ok by me, as long as its ensuring that we’re getting off our collective asses and doing something! Look how much wealth we ALL have. (see above)
    You brought up Spain – do you know that last year Spain passed a law that all new construction must incorporate active and passive solar technology. Why don’t we do that here? Hell, we have arch. standards in some communities that tell you what color and finish your house has to be, but we cant stick a $1000 solar panel on every new roof?
    As you said we have time to plan – but we HAVE NO PLAN as yet. Look at what the netherlands, germany, and scandanavia are doing in terms of alternative energy – they’re kicking our asses!. We are supposed to be global leaders but we are really setting a poor example in this.
    I didnt come here to defend Al Gore, just his message. That said, why do you have a problem with his GCC obsession? I find it refreshing that a politician can be well researched, thoughtful and consistent on an issue that frankly is not going to be politically welcomed by any of the power brokers and lobbyists (‘cept the sierra club!) I havent had a chance to research what the Clinton admin did or didnt do about GCC but I am researching and will post a follow-up.( BTW, how do you post links?)
    Coincidence – my uncle just called, his book is in final editing and should be out by end of this year. I’m going to approach Dave about having him on for a segment in the latter part of this year – that type of segment is long overdue. Anyway, good debate.

  12. Rich from Paso
    May 28, 2006 at 2:56 am

    Rob,
    More good debate! Okay, first things first… in order to show you how to do a link post I am substituting “your link here” for the actual link or else the link would work and you wouldn’t see it. Anyhow, to post a link you type the following:

    the word or words you want highlighted

    Simple as that.

    Okay, secondly, Al Gore has been consistent in his message, but only during election years. He trots out “Global warming” to energize guys like yourself, well-meaning, ecologically sensitive folks, and the eco-whacko base (you know, the ELF whackos and other kooks on the fringe left to vote for him. Since 2000, Gore has spent more time railing on and on about how “Bush lied to us! He played on our fears!” than he has about GCC. It’s only when he thinks about running for president does he break out the “ice caps are melting” mantra. If you do a Google search (another Al Gore invention – just kidding) on his speeches about GCC, the only occur during election cycles (1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006) I would happy to be corrected here, but I didn’t find any link on odd years. Have you seen the Gore video about him flying around speaking about GCC? It’s pretty funny. Peopel like Lorrie David, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore hypocritically fly around in private jets, burning tons of fuel, producing tons of CO2 to tell you and me, the unwashed masses, that we are the reason for global warming and we need to change our lives. That is the kind of hypocracy that turns me off to them and their message. Of course, CBS News says that he doesn’t want to run. May give him more credibility if he actually doesn’t run.

    Keep in mind that Spain, Holland, Germany and the Scandanavian countries are all so much smaller than the US in every way it is easier for them to be more “earth friendly”.

    As for the plan for the future, I think through a clever new tax policy (mine) wehre companies pay a 20% flat tax on all revenues (before expenses) and would be able to deduct 50% of their tax bill, 10% of which would be on renewable/alternative energy expenses and 10% on R and D for the same. Also, investing in the the technology will make it cheaper and therefore more affordable for the average Joe to use the technology. That will take time to develop so I say we need more nuclear power plants(build it in Death Valley or the Nevada desert; no one lives there) and geothermal power plants in places like OR, WA, CA, and WY to take advantage of the natural volcanism of the region. We need more R&D on hydrogen fuel cells to end the need for gasoline, especially for the military. Things like that. I concur that Global Warming is real, but it could be a natural occurance. Here is an article on the subject from Discover Magazine. Anyhow, good debate.

  13. Rich from Paso
    May 28, 2006 at 3:30 am

    Everyone, as the lone military voice on this blog, I ask all of you to remember why we have a Memorial Day and I ask that you all remember the sacrifices of our fellow Americans in war near adn far from our shores. For those of you that will use that hallowed day to launch yet another worthless protest about the Iraq War, I ask you not to take to the streets before you read this article from Victor David Hansen on the sacrifices of our servicemen and women in Iraq and this article from an Iraqi that details why things are going well in Iraq. I also ask that everyone remember that eeryone who has died in the War on Terrorism knew why they joined the military and why they fought and died. It wasn’t for oil or middle east peace, it was so the rest of America could sleep soundly in their beds at night knowing that there was someone out there to keep the bad men at bay and the homefront safe. That is why we serve and sacrifice, so you don’t have to. God bless America and God bless our heroes that gave the their last full measure for us all.

  14. The New Tone of San Luis Obispo
    May 29, 2006 at 6:32 am

    To All:

    We want to thank all veterans. Remember all of the people from the revolutionary war through the war on terror today that have fallen during combat. I want to remember the men and women who are serving this country enforcing the laws here in our homeland. Almost 20 per year are killed on duty here just in our state.

    We have a great country. It is certainly not even perfect, as there is no man-made government that ever will be, but I am sure that it is the best country on the face of the planet. I want to respect the and remenber all those who are not with us here on Monday, Memorial Day 2006.

  15. Guy Murray
    May 30, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Rich,

    Those young brave American men and women died, and continue to die so that Americans can also celebrate the right to protest whatever they choose. The right to protest is as much protected in the First Amendment and other founding documents as any other right. In fact it is the core bedrock foundation upon which our great country is founded. Protect and celebrate the right to protest that which you would spend a lifetime opposing, and then you begin to glimpse the true meaning of democracy.

    Thank you for the reminder of our brave American’s in harm’s way now, and those who have gone and died before.

    Regards,

    Guy
    Nipomo News

  16. Rich from Paso
    May 30, 2006 at 4:10 am

    Guy,
    I’m just trying to provide another perspective and I’m just trying to provide for an informed dissent. I all to well understand that the freedoms we enjoy were created through the very blood of fallen heroes. To have anything less than a free and open democracy would be to ensure that our servicemen died in vain and that will not stand as far as I’m concerned. Have a nice day.

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