Methinks Peter Schweizer doth protest too much. The Republicans have enjoyed a nice political bubble over the years when it comes to the environment. "Global warming? What global warming?" has been typical of their responses.
That's been changing since Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth (directed by Davis Guggenheim) hit the screens. Since then, the film has enjoyed some remarkable documentary-level box office. As a result, the American public is seeing what the rest of the world has for years: that when it comes to the environment, the Republicans and the Bush Administration have no clothes.
Yet one more area where right-wing fantasies failed to convince the prevailing facts to change themselves. Reality's a bitch. And people realize that Al Gore, whom the wingnuts ridiculed in the 2000 campaign, was right all along.
Those stale old jokes no longer stick. And the Republicans are scared.
Now the right-wing fictioneers who so expertly dismantled Michael Moore's public image with loud and repeated falsehoods, distortions and outright lies of their own are now turning their sights on Gore. Why? Maybe because they are finding the truth just a tad too inconvenient.
In today's USA Today, we get an early shot -- intended to be a barrage, but which comes off more as a bb-gun sniper attempt: right-wing Hoover man and dittohead-industry author Peter Schweizer has a petty little piece nitpicking Gore's life.
Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.
Smell a little envy there? This is a typical smear by the right, attacking Gore based on class. "He's not like you folks," Schweizer is saying to us "peasants" (a popular word used in right-wing power circles to describe us non-special folks born without silver spoons in our mouths). I don't know what Schweizer's lifestyle is like, but his Republican and corporatist allies live much fatter lives. Besides, this is about global warming, not about a real estate crunch.
Schweizer then goes on to talk about the apparent fact that Gore's estates have not yet switched to alternative energy options in their areas, and that Gore owns stock in Occidental Petroleum. Apparently these are to be considered glaring character flaws and indications of some big great hypocrisy. He also goes after the Democrats, who also have not signed up for alternative energy.
Then, in a well-practiced move of non-sequitur pseduo-logic -- a speciality of Schweizer and Coulter and the other writers in the alternate-reality books genre -- he suggests:
Maybe our very existence isn't threatened.
Not exactly stellar reasoning from a defender of the ruling class, is it?
Ironically, Schweizer doesn't acknowledge that us non-ruling-class Americans are already struggling with energy prices. We aren't cashing in on big trade with mass-polluter China, or raking in record profits from oil speculation, or laughing all the way to the bank with 10-figure government checks for no-bid contracts. The men in power are screwing over America big time, and we're supposed to get mad at Al Gore?
The issue here is not simply Gore's hypocrisy; it's a question of credibility. If he genuinely believes the apocalyptic vision he has put forth and calls for radical changes in the way other people live, why hasn't he made any radical change in his life? Giving up the zinc mine or one of his homes is not asking much, given that he wants the rest of us to radically change our lives.
In other words, if you can't refute the scientific evidence, then shoot the messenger. Global warming, according to Schweizer, is not a scientific theory with evidence in our faces every day. No, global warming is just what Al Gore wants. Get it? Our response to global warming should be tempered by the right wing's approval of Al Gore's politics and financial investments.
My own guess is that Schweizer is accusing Gore of simple class betrayal. After all, being rich and powerful, Al Gore should be a Republican, right? How dare he!