Mormons for Al Gore

Alas, this Mormon cannot even vote in the US, so my support of Mr. Gore is about as useful as a hanging chad. But I can cheerlead from afar. You see, in Britain or Bangladesh, the American presidency matters, and this Briton thinks Al Gore should be the next President of the United States (again). Question is, will he run? (I hope so.)

I just watched a compelling interview with Thomas Friedman, who makes the case for a “geo-political” environmentalism: oil feeds terrorism; $70-$100 barrels of oil feed dictators and kleptocrats; fossil fuel feeds global warming that could devastate our economies; ergo America’s national interest in the 21st century would be best served by leading the world in producing alternatives to oil. I believe Friedman to be talking sense on this one. Environmentalism is no longer about hugging trees (much as I love trees), but is also about security and prosperity.

Enter Al Gore, whose documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” shows he is willing to offer leadership on this issue. (Of course, we need not wait until ’08: George W. Bush could really salvage his presidency by making this his legacy issue.)

I believe a case can easily be made for Mormon environmentalism, but there are also other reasons to wish for a Gore presidency:

1. He has the internationalist chops and the goodwill to mend America’s image abroad.

2. He’s not Hillary Clinton.
3. His wife (don’t underestimate the wife!) has taken principled stands on “moral” issues.

4. When much of his party waffled, he spoke out strongly against state-sanctioned torture, wiretapping, and the folly that is Iraq.

5. The Democratic Party needs an elder statesman to add gravitas to the left-wing ideals of social justice, environmentalism, and international responsibility.

So, I say keep an eye on Mr. Gore; do not judge him for Clinton’s infractions; see beyond the stiff of 2000; don’t vote a single-issue (be it abortion, or indeed, enviromentalism); and if Romney runs, do not be afraid to vote out of the ghetto. In the meantime, I’ve got Tony Blair to deal with.

(The opinions expressed in this post are mine only. Many of my BCC co-bloggers would love a Cheney-Rumsfeld ticket.)


  1. Sorry to be contrary Ronan, since I think you’re great. To give perspective on my views, I think I like Bill Clinton better than Al Gore. And I don’t like Bill Clinton.

    I haven’t given much thought to who I’d like to see representing the Democratic ticket. I guess it’s about time to start thinking about it.

  2. D. Fletcher says:

    I can’t vote for Al Gore, the one Senator who took exception to my uncle’s confirmation as head of NASA (after the Challenger disaster).

    I asked my Dad about this at the time, and he said “Gore must want to get his name in the paper.”

  3. Steve EM says:

    That fat boy better go on a seriuos diet if he’s looking to run. Gore couldn’t even carry his home state; I think that means he’ll never get another chance.

    Why is it all the major party candidates have been stupid appearing people the last few cycles (Bush 43, Gore, Kerry)? Bush just seems utterly asleep at the switch these days. Kind of like the leadership of our church, but without any age related excuse.

  4. Steve EM, are you just looking for any excuse to be critical of the leadership of the Church? Honestly, without trying to pick a fight, that seems like a low blow. There might be times in Church history when you could almost get away with saying something like that, but GBH is in his nineties and he’s still speaking in General Conference. That man has more energy and spirit in his nineties than you or I will ever have. Cut the leadership a break.

  5. D. Fletcher,

    Wow, your uncle was a candidate for head of NASA? How cool is that?

    Is he a scientist, or a public policy person, or a military guy, or something else?


    I actually really like Gore for all the reasons you mention, but I don’t think he has an icicle’s chance in a really hot place of being elected. He’s far too widely despised, though I don’t really understand why.

  6. Thanks, Danithew.

    James Fletcher was one of our greatest.

  7. Ronan– I think Gore has very little chance of a political resurrection. Sure, he’ll be a respected elder statesman ala Gary Hart and Jimmy Carter, but I don’t see him ever holding a national office.

    I think a Democratic president in 2008 is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point, but it sure as heck won’t be Gore. He has zero charisma, has really let himself go, and has only one issue that only a few (rich) people care about.

    He’s a loser, Ronan. You can do better.

  8. Here is one Mormon Democrat who could vote for Gore if he runs again :)

    Personally I think his time has passed, although he would definitely get my vote if he was the Democratic Candidate. Once he broke away from his handlers, he has seemed much more free, and willing to say what he believes and not just what he thinks people want to hear. This is an extremely attractive position for a politician.

    Personally I would rather see Barak Obama run, although I am not sure that America is ready yet for a President with a name like that. Shallow? Sure, but I think most of the electorate gets no lower than the surface most of the time.

  9. OK,
    So we’ve got:
    a) he’s fat
    b) he offended my fa-mi-ly
    c) I don’t like him
    d) he’s boring

    Keep up the substantive criticisms!

    Ronan, Founder and Only Member of Mormons for Gore

  10. Oh, and Steve EM: put a sock in it, man!

  11. I’m with S.V. I like him but there’s no chance in hell he could win and since we democrats are so divided and have a hard time winning anyway, it seems like a bad choice to back Gore. Also, I don’t love Tipper. I know you tried to make a case for her and her moral values but…
    Also, please no one vote of Mitt Romney. Please, please no.

  12. Ronan,

    It looks like the web address is still available. Commentary on U.S. Presidential candidates, by everyone’s favorite Briton in Vienna. I think there’s a potential audience there, mate, especially if you can leverage your BCC and Headlife notoriety just a little. I recommend that you book the website fast, before someone else notices that it’s available.

  13. I dunno, Ronan. A-D all seem like campaign-killers to me. You know, they last for almost 2 years here, not three months. I’m starting to suspect that you’re not an American at all.

  14. D. Fletcher says:

    He didn’t offend my family. He purposely voted against against common sense, in order to get some publicity.

    His vote prompted a New York Times editorial to censure my uncle’s re-appointment to NASA. Later in the week, an apology was printed in the paper.

    Gore is way too big for his britches, and now I guess I mean that literally.

  15. 10. Oh, and Steve EM: put a sock in it, man!

    Nevermind the previous comment, Ronan. Your comment #10 earns you my vote.

    (Does that help, really? Is Mr. Gore getting reports, as we speak — “it appears that Mr. Head is making inroads among the ‘pretentious’ demographic . . .”)

  16. Ronan, when I think of why I don’t like Al Gore it comes down to the overwhelming feeling that he is fake, scripted and robotic. I don’t think the example I will give will help your criticism of lack of substantiveness in criticism … but here’s the comparison that comes to mind. When Bill Clinton plays saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show, it feels like something he would really do. He knows who he is and he’s comfortable (perhaps too comfortable) in his own skin.

    On the other hand, when Al Gore plays football on the lawn with his family, instead of feeling like an impromptu spontaneous moement, it feels like something his team decided he should do for the country to see.

    Those are two sort of defining moments I remember from their past political campaigns.

  17. Danithew,
    Sad, very sad. Bush won in 2000 largely because he chuckles; Gore lost because he doesn’t like football. Give me a policy critique, man!

  18. Elisabeth says:

    I liked Gore way back when he was a Senator and wrote Earth in the Balance and invented the internet. Liked his beard phase, too.

    His wife is annoying, however. I remember in high school (college?) that she made a big stink about explicit song lyrics – what a square.

    So yeay on Al, nay (neay) on Tipper.

  19. Ronan, honestly I haven’t thought about Al Gore in a long time. So I admit I have difficulty talking about specific policies of his that I disagree with. And I don’t feel like going back and researching his last campaign. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll think of something.

    On the point of his wife taking a moral stance, I recall reading that during his presidential campaign (or perhaps preceding it) he and Tipper basically begged Hollywood’s forgiveness for their involvement in the PRMC campaign (or whatever the acronym was).

  20. Tipper has a silly name, for sure. People seem to like Laura Bush. Why?

    You wait, children. I have faith in America that they can vote their brains in 2008. Uncle Ronan knows!

  21. It was the PMRC – the Parents Music Resource Center. I would have linked to the Wikipedia page on the subject, but it has a picture of Rage Against the Machine protesting the PMRC. Let’s just say they are standing naked with their war clubs hanging out, large letters “P” “M” “R” “C” written on each of their chests and their mouths covered with tape.

  22. Here’s a link from Drudge with a video: “Al Gore: An Inconvenient Story.”

  23. Ronan,

    The 2000 election boiled down to “Bush is a moron and Gore is an ass.” (Yes, those were vastly overstated stereotypes, but they still stuck). And the country split on the question, with the difference coming down to the margin-of-error inherent in the electoral vote system. It’s not a big vote of confidence if you can’t beat a perceived moron.

    The perception of Bush now, I think, is less of a moron now than in 2000 (though also less genial). But people still think Gore is an ass.

    And a substantial segment of the country would rather have a moron than an ass in the White House. Chalk it up to the native libertarianism. I think the idea is, “a moron will just keep his hands off of things and let the country run itself; he may make mistakes, but that’s far better than the ass, who will affirmatively seek out ways to screw things up.”

    It’s not a position I’m all that sympathetic to, but it’s one that has a lot more life than people like to admit. So that’s one strike against Gore.

    Another is the boring label. Probably unfair, but it’s there. Gore will always look boring because he was around for 8 years next to Clinton. It’s the Courtney Cox effect — she’s quite attractive in her own right, but she’ll never be perceived that way, because for 8 years she was in the spotlight next to Jennifer Aniston, and that will make most anyone look bad by comparison.

    I don’t think the Dems should put Gore into a box where he doesn’t fit. Let Gore be what he is — a smart policy-wonk type. The Dems need to find a good front man, and Gore is not that.

    The President doesn’t need to be the policy wonk, any more than a band’s lead singer needs to write all the songs. You’ve got to have good songwriting, and you’ve got to have a good front man, but the two don’t necessarily have to come in the same package.

  24. Lord save us if Al Gore decides to start writing songs.

    [By the way Kaimi, I noticed the score of that song you wrote is now available (along with all other songs printed in church magazines) on I was trying to figure out how to link to it hours ago when my computer crashed.]

  25. Is it wrong for a man to hope….? But seriously, Al is a different man now. If America takes another look they may be surprised. And he’s spot-on about the environment.

    So, if not Gore, which Dem would you like to see run?

  26. Danithew,

    Without being too self-promote-y, let me suggest you look at the links in my T&S bio, available off the T&S sidebar. (Matt occasionally changes the links as a prank, but they seem to be working right now).

  27. Kaimi, point noted. I thought the links to these songs were new.

    Ronan, excellent question. I’d like to see what Democratic candidates should be considered. Of course it would be fun to see Harry Reid run against Mitt Romney. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. :)

  28. I really think the environment won’t be a winning issue until it starts costing us money.

  29. Ned, it is. And lives. Read this Friedman link. This is a message I think people can begin to understand: high gas prices, Iraq, the unstable Middle East, Iran, Al Qaida – OIL, OIL, OIL. Go green. Oh, and it’ll help Polar Bears too.

  30. Elisabeth says:

    Methinks more people think Bush is more of a moron now than in 2000 or 2004. If 20% approval ratings are to be believed, anyway (.05% in Massachusetts, which is the percentage of Mormons in Massachusetts).

  31. I might have voted for Gore before the election. My vote for Bush was more a protest vote against Clinton, but I would have been happy to see either man win, I thought they were both good men.

    But I was completely disgusted with his behavior during the recount. I was disgusted that there was a recount.

    I was really bi-partisan until then. Well, I still am, but I sure don’t like Gore. I’d vote for his wife, though. Yeah, that’s a thought.

  32. Jonathan Green says:

    I like Gore more than any of the other proposed candidates of any party. Ronan, we could meet up in Munich or something for a rally.

    (Which wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented: when I was in Bonn just before the ’96 election, the area around the ward building was plastered in LaRouche campaign posters.)

  33. Ronan,

    Very good question.

    According to Wikipedia, the frontrunners are:

    Average of All Major Polls

    Hillary Clinton 38.46%
    John Kerry 15.68%
    John Edwards 14.14%
    Al Gore 11.83%
    Joe Biden 5.71%
    Wesley Clark 4.00%
    Bill Richardson 3.00%
    Russ Feingold 2.60%
    Evan Bayh 2.38%
    Mark Warner 2.23%

    Edwards is probably one of the best frontmen of that group. But I kinda like Barack Obama myself.

  34. Jared E. says:

    I agree with Elisabeth that the general perception of Bush is that he is a complete jackass. Gore though? I mean really? Gore may be intelligent, but I don’t think he is trustworthy at all. His whole position on tobacco just smacks of hypocrisy.
    And can you get any stiffer, the guy is like a freakin piece of wood!

  35. Steve EM says:

    #4 and others, I’m a straight talker and both our Federal pres and church leadership are a sleep at the switch. We’re more than a little overdue for a new hymn book. I know we’re starting to see some LDS gospel choirs, but that’s a grass roots effort that has nothing to do with our leaders. Then there’s our poor missionaries wearing 1920s period clothing for bike riding. And our leaders think that makes a positive immpression on people?Need I go on?

    Kaimi and Ronan, I’ll put a sock in it when you guys pull those sticks out, you knee-jerk apologists.

    And Ronan, your country is still using 19th century bathroom plumbing. What do you know about popular democratic politics? Wanna know why Tony Blair can lead Labor and get away governing like a Tory? He’s likeable! Al Gore isn’t. It’s that simple.

  36. Sorry, Ronan. Concerns about high gas prices do not equal concerns about the environment. They reflect concern about money.

    I’m sorry, but environmentalism is a upper-middle class issue, and always will be. Poor people want decent wages.

  37. And cheap gas!

  38. your country is still using 19th century bathroom plumbing. What do you know about popular democratic politics?


  39. I read a great article about Gore the Environmentalist in last month’s wired. It’s online.

    The Resurrection of Al Gore

    Apparently, he’s loosened up a lot, investing in Green Tech, and making money. I liked the bit about him “suffering pain like a phantom limb, looking in the rear-view mirror and realizing his motorcade was gone.”

    I’d vote for him. Heck, I did vote for him. But I’ve pretty much given up on the Dems having the sense to nominate someone electable. Hillary? Ohhhh the pain. If she gets past the primaries, we can kiss the White House goodbye for another eight years, and while we’re at it, look at another decade of fundamentalist insanity.

  40. Steve, a new hymn book, missionary dress and gospel choirs are your points to prove that the church leadership is asleep at the switch?

    Yes, in fact, you do need to go on. But I wish you wouldn’t.

  41. Steve EM says:

    Ronan, I’m referring to your separate hot and cold water taps. An amazing spectacle in the 21st century from the same country that once blessed the world with the plumbing genius of T. Crapper. What happen?

  42. No, I know that, Steve. Just wondering what it has to do with “democratic politics.” Tit-for-tat America bash: your electric sockets belong in the third world, man. They spark everytime I unplug the vacuum. Tell me how you can lead the world with plugs like that?

    Anyway, Edwards or Obama then?

  43. I agree that the whole “dull” thing is an electoral point against Gore. But I wonder sometimes: am I the only person in this country who wants boring public officials? Come on, why does our president have to be a really exciting person? We have movie stars for that.

  44. Ronan, I’m an American who would like to see David Cameron as Prime Minister. Do you care? (You shouldn’t.)

  45. Mark B. says:

    If we Yanks had enjoyed the prospect of 4 (or 8) years of being spoken to as if you were all a bunch of third graders, we would have elected Gore.

    Instead, of course, we’ve had 5 years (and three more to come) of being spoken to by a third grader.

    Pick your poison!

  46. The problem with American politics lately is the strength of the far-right and far-left wings of the parties. You have to kow-tow to them in the primaries, and then find a way to appeal to the normals in the center.

    That’s why we don’t get good presidents. They have to be tight-rope walkers to get elected, not good leaders.

  47. gst,
    I don’t care, but then DC as PM would have zero effect on you. Not so the American president on me. Alas.

  48. I liked Edwards’ campaign during the primaries last year, but when he got on with Kerry, I found myself strongly disliking him. Not sure if anyone shared the same sentiments.

    I feel as what a lot of Al Gore has been saying has been more in the attitude of, “See, I told you so…” It seems a little petty.

  49. Tom Manney says:

    Al Gore did, in fact, win a presidential election. He can do it again. I don’t think the boring factor weighs nearly as heavily on him as it once did. John Kerry was infinitely more wooden.

    I think people would look to him as a very welcome alternative to Bush, Kerry, and Hillary — who is almost certainly unelectable.

    The only problem is that I’m pretty sure he won’t run again.

  50. Tim J.,

    I feel that Al Gore has bent over backwards to try not to appear in the attitude of “See, I told you so…”

    Under the circumstances, it would be difficult to impossible to say anything intelligent without a hint of that attitude seeping in, so I think you’re holding him to a somewhat unfair standard.

    Kind of like when someone disagrees on a particular policy, and their opponents wonder why they can’t be more “bipartisan.”

    And the people who continue to stick their heads in the sand on global warming need a little scolding of the “I told you so” variety anyway.

  51. gst,

    Cameron continues to strike me as a boring lightweight. So much more entertaining to listen to William Hague during Prime Minister’s questions.

  52. Bill,

    Almost every speech he gives starts with some comment like “I’m the former next president” etc., etc.

    BTW, I didn’t vote for Gore, but can’t imagine he would have done any worse than Bush has done.

    One more reason to dislike Gore: his Columbine speech. Blah! It’s hard for me to imagine how Gore wold have handled the events immediately following 9/11 with any resolve whatsoever. It was Bush’s finest moment, though every moment since then has pretty much been a disaster.

  53. Tim J.,

    Telling people to express their patriotism by going shopping?

    I can’t say for sure that Gore would not also have flattered his fellow Americans under the same circumstances, rather than asking them for some kind of meaningful shared sacrifice, but, since as you say, Bush’s finest moment didn’t have much follow-through, Gore’s hypothetical less-than-finest moment probably wouldn’t have had far reaching consequences.

    In 2000 Gore was the voice of the status quo. Things have deteriorated to the point that he is now a voice for reform.

  54. It seems that, to the extent voters vote on a candidate because they perceive him/her to be ‘strong’ on an issue that concerns them, more voters see the need to be strong on terror than on environmental concerns (for better or worse). Plus, I think that even to the extent that people think environmental concerns are important, there is an understanding that we can do more to affect terrorism (engage it, go to war with it, which we’re familiar with from history) than the environment (it just seems bigger than us; we could do everything in our power to reverse trends but no guarantee Mother Earth won’t swallow us up). So, since I think Gore is seen as strong on environment and ‘weak’ on terror (or perhaps not seen as standing for anything in the war on terror, except to point out Bush’s mistakes), I don’t think he has a chance to win. Even if he ‘gets tough’ on terror to try to persuade people of his presidential-ness, I think voters will have the impression that the environment is his priority.

  55. You can take away my comments, Admin, but you can never take away my FREEDOM!!!!!

    Signed, Aaron Brown.

  56. I looked at that list of frontrunners and felt a little depressed. Where is Jed Bartlet when we need him?

  57. APJ,
    But the point is that oil-addiction, the environment, and terrorism are all linked. If that relationship clicks in the mind of the American people (and it should!), then Gore will seem prescient indeed. The point of the post was that environmentalism is rapidly moving towards the centre for good old patriotic, geo-political reasons. Please read the Friedman link.

    Would Middle American go for this?

    “You’re paying high gas prices and it hurts, doesn’t it? You know why gas prices are so high? Because there’s a growing worldwide demand for oil thanks to the growth of India and China and little hope that our supply will dramatically increase. This is unlikely to get much better. And you know what? High gas prices mean more money for the countries that produce oil, many of which are hostile to America, like Iran. Oil money helps fund terrorists and we have to spend your tax money fighting them. So, let’s stop using so much oil. It’ll make us safer and will save us money. Oh, and it will benefit the environment. There will be many more Hurricane Katrinas if global warming continues.”

    Money, Katrina, Terrorists. Money, Katrina, Terrorists. Money, Katrina, Terrorists.  Money, Katrina, Terrorists.

  58. Seth R. says:

    I voted for Gore. I voted for Kerry.

    I didn’t really like either of them. But I had a really bad feeling that Bush couldn’t be trusted with an adult’s job.

    Turns out I was right. We would have been better off if Gore had won. We would have been better off if Kerry had won. Neither of them were very impressive, but at least neither was a danger to society.

    That said, I found neither of them very impressive. Gore was alright, aside from a stiff personality. But right now he really isn’t projecting the image of a true winner. I don’t think he has a chance against ANY of the frontrunners for the Republican ticket. He looks tired and hasn’t really been able to hold any national attention.

    Kerry is the same way. The guy got his butt kicked by a complete loser. Only the die-hard right-wingers actually liked Bush in the last election. Most of the rest of us were looking for something better. Kerry didn’t make a convincing case. He’ll have the dubious distinction of going down in history text-books as the guy who was so utterly uninspiring, he couldn’t even edge out a failed President.


    Uh, no. I watched him during the last campaign. The guy is basically a talking hairstyle. He looks nice, but I never heard him say anything of substance.

    Wesley Clark would be interesting solely for the fact that he’d be a general running on a Democratic ticket. But if I want novelty, I can go to the circus. So, not convinced there either.

    Russ Feingold might be able to win my vote. This is solely because he’s one of only about two Congressmen on Capitol Hill to pull their heads out and realize that “I’m a Congressman for crying out loud!” The other one would be Arlen Specter (however you spell that). Feingold wins points solely for being gutsy enough to call for a censure of President Bush. Turns out 47% of America agreed with him. Too bad that 47% didn’t include any of the gutless wonders on Capitol Hill. But need to know more on Feingold.

    Hillary is really the only one out there right now acting like she expects to actually be President. Sure, she’s going to evoke images of the “Wicked Witch of the East” for many. But at least she comes off forcefully, even if chauvanists write it off to PMS. Right now, she seems like the most likely candidate.

    I don’t really hear much about any of the other candidates listed on Wickipedia. Which tells me they aren’t real contenders yet.

    And I’m tellin ya … If the Republicans try to put out another one of the “good ol boys” out there as a candidate, I just might vote for Hillary. I’m sick of this whole K-street thing.

  59. Gore? Who’s Gore? Ronan, I want a post on Gordon Brown…

  60. For folks in love with Gore, I have two words for you: Adlai Stevenson. All it would take is a Gore nomination and they would become the same person. Wonkish. Thoughtful. The thinking man’s liberal. Beloved of coastal cognesceti. Horribly stiff. Condescending. Self-righteous. Unelectable. Two time losers. (And I say this as an associate at a law firm that proudly claims Stevenson as a former partner.)

    Anyone thinking about presidential candidates should consider this fact: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri have voted for the winning presidential candidate in almost every presidential election since Woodrow Wilson. Kentucky people! Tennessee! Gore winning Kentucky!?! To win a presidential election you must carry the South and some combination of Florida, Texas, and California. My advice: Find a nice southern governor to support. (Sound familiar?) Warner?

  61. Gordon Brown will be the ultimate loser. He’ll get a year or so as PM (he’s been waiting 20 years for that) then lose to Cameron in the General Election. As of today, I’ll be voting Conservative.

  62. So what’s to like about Cameron, other than the fact that he is not tainted by any Blair-associations? As I recall, you were rooting pretty hard against the Conservatives in the last general election…

  63. Nate,
    Cameron’s, um, er, not scary-looking… Dammit! BTW, I voted Tory last year too. Right there you have the gulf between American and European politics: in the UK, I vote to the right; in America I would vote Democrat.

  64. Gore? He really comes off as a self righteous and that is a major turn-off for me. He doesn’t have a chance at a national election.

    On your other comments:
    I’d like to understand why Mormons don’t take environmentalism/conservation more seriously. I find myself as a fiscal conservative, a social moderate, and pro-environment. When I was a member of the Sierra Club and my LDS friends and family would find out…They would look at me and say things suggesting that the Sierra Club and Greenpeace were the same thing. BTW, I’m no longer a member because the Sierra Club mailers/magazines were only sensationalism and mindless political dribble, with the occasional well thought out piece.

    I find the Democrats reprehensible on most social issues and the republican party disgusts me. What is a guy like me supposed to do?

  65. rleonard says:

    Environmentalism is an issue for Blue State liberals and foreign socialists. Will not move any swing voters in the swing states one iota. Gore has abandoned his roots as a former Southern conservative populist Democrat and has sold out to the elitists in the media and his party. This issue will kill him with the pick-up driving, deer shooting, regular folks in the swing states between the coasts. From Michigan to WV to New Mexico. Also he wrote a book that basicly equated alternative families as the norm. Also not a good strategy for swing voters

    One NPR last night a liberal science reporter was debunking Gores examples of global warming. I can see the ads now. Gore wants your Suburban/mini van/pickup truck while he flys around in a Jet and travels in motorcades.

  66. Seth R. says:

    The problem with the Sierra Club and other mailine liberal groups is that their efforts have transcended the practical and ventured into the ideological.

    For example, I heard a new report of local community groups in the Los Angeles area who are working with local community leaders to find real solutions to neighborhood pollution problems (like hazardous site clean-ups). They made overtures to the Sierra Club and basically got a cold shoulder. No one even bothered to return phone calls.

    These groups sometimes tend to activism for activism’s sake. If you can make a Federal Case of it, the Sierra Club will be eager to back you up. But if all you’ve got is a presentation before the County Planning Commission … well, you can forget about any help from even the local Sierra Club chapter.

    The ACLU is the same way. Image-obsessed.

    This is why Mormons (who tend to favor common-sense solutions over “making a statement”) tend to look down on high-maintenance advocacy groups.

    Oh, and it doesn’t help when they unite forces with folks who claim all religion is evil and all the religious are lunatics.

    “Running naked with wolves” doesn’t help either.

  67. Ronan: If it is any consolation, Thatcher is my all-time favorite conservative…

  68. I stand corrected. It was not the Tories but Howard that you disliked. (BTW, didn’t he write a book about Pitt or Cromwell, or some other notable from English history who conquered something or another?)

  69. Re: 66

    Agreed, that the Sierra Club doesn’t want folks like me (Married, children, active Mormon) because it goes against their idealology (like zero population growth, etc.). That’s why I don’t choose to be a part any more. On the other hand, I still maintain that watchdog groups like that are good in states like Idaho and Utah where it seems no one is looking out for the future on environmental issues.

  70. rleonard says:

    The Bishops wife in one of the wards I lived in once was a greenpeace member. She also drove a suburban, had 5 kids and lived in a $750,000 house.

    Most of the ward members found it a little silly that she was a Greenpeace member. She hated the fact that many of the High P would go bird hunting together.

    I have found that most mainstream LDS in the US are far to conservative to have any interest in elitist enviro groups

  71. Sign me up for the environmentally-conscious but fiscally conservative party.

    Or, better yet, nationalize Ian Richardson and get him to run under his pseudonymous F. U. screen name—then he’d get the young vote based on the pun, the conservative vote for his political stance, and the liberal vote b/c he’s European. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen House of Cards, you simply must!)

  72. Gore, Friedman, Bush…. Call it the environment, the economy, the war on terror… Cut away the political trite- the issue is America’s (and Europe’s) dependence on foreign oil. The West continues to back corrupt regimes and hinder economic reform in some pretty nasty countries with every barrel purchased. It’s oil baby! It’s the age we live in. And this issue isn’t new to our generation. But new technologies are adding a sense of legitimacy to familiar tunes.

    There have been remarkable advances in alternative energy sources during the last decade or so. New materials, more efficient generators, better crystal growth technologies, etc.; these advances are making wind and solar power viable alternatives- economically and environmentally. But they can not ever replace oil completely! In fact, nothing currently in extistence can- not even the much hyped hydrogen fuel cells for that matter.
    The fact is, gasoline taxes, hummer bans, current renewable energy sources, etc. look good on paper but that’s about it. Wanna ease the pain a bit? Look at nuclear power. Look at building new oil refineries here at home. Build a solar park or a wind turbine. But it is pointless to talk about not using foreign oil until the technology exists to do so. It’s not here. It’s barely even on the drawing board. Quit asking politicians for a shiny green future. Only scientists will know the answer.

  73. Out of idle curiosity, who is the current frontrunner for the Republican ticket? Frist? McCain? Romney? I would think that Gore could beat Frist, be trounced by McCain, and have a close race with Romney. But, I may be wrong.

    I like what I have seen of Barack Obama, but I don’t know his politics very well. Gore is a better choice to run than Hillary Clinton, as, as much as Dems like her, the Republicans hate her much, much more.

  74. JimmyH, you’re talking my pet issue. I want a urgent national effort on par with the space and weapons races to develop new energy technology with the goal of ending our dependence on foreign oil. Scientists need more money and we need more scientists working on energy technology. I know there are already billions being spent on energy technology research, but there’s no sense of urgency and this is an urgent problem. We went to the moon just so we could say we did it before the commies. We have enormous brainpower and capital in this country and it’s time to make developing energy alternatives a major mission. If it were up to me I’d take all the money that’s currently devoted to the war on cancer and give it to physicists and engineers. And this is coming from a biologist. I believe that that money would do more good faster if it were spent on energy technology. We’re pretty darn healthy right now (obesity notwithstanding), but our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is costing insane amounts of life and money.

  75. HP, right now the top three are Condoleeza Rice, McCain, and Giuliani. Romney’s around #6 or 8. Here’s the link to the Wikipedia page:

    I don’t think Gore could beat any of those three.

  76. Seth R. says:


    It would probably help if Exxon Mobile wasn’t buying up all the patents on energy efficient technology and deliberately sitting on them.

    Disclaimer: I got absolutely nothing to back up that assertion. But I want it to be true, so there!

  77. You might be right, Ned Flanders, that environmentalism is only an issue for the white middle class. But that’s where the swing voters are. If soccer moms go Dem then the election is over.

    Global warming would have to be one issue in a broader message that emphasizes reasoned policy making instead of wishful thinking.

    The Bush administration has been anti-science and anti-expertise. As their policies were rooted in ideology and cronyism instead at the expense of reason, the outcome has been disastrous. Four four years, Bush successfully appealed to people to trust him. By now he has been wrong so many times, voters are suspicious of him now. They have labelled Bush and his adminstration as incompetent and manipulative.

    In that context, a wonkish candidate like Gore may be the right contrast.

    Just like some voters turned to Bush in 2000 because they were nostalgic for his father’s life style after the Clinton scandals, voters may also want to give Gore another chance to redeem themselves for electing Bush in 2000.

    On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Republicans retained the White House in spite of the Bush disaster. They have a deep bench of attractive candidates: McCain, Giuliani, Huchabee, and Romney. Each one of them might be able to softly disassociate himself from the Bush disaster and gain the confidence of American voters.

  78. I don’t think that your evaluation of Edwards is accurate, Seth R. After all, the man campaigned on a strong message about economic inequality. Remember the two Americas speech?

    Policy played a much bigger role in Edwards’ campaign than in Kerry’s of Bush’s.

  79. Yeah, of those three, I can only see Gore giving Rice a decent fight. For that matter, I can’t see any Democrat really giving McCain or Giuliani a fight. Those guys have practically become icons.

  80. To second Hellmut, Edwards was, at the time, the most articulate and, seemingly, the most capable of the 4 figures vying for the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency.

  81. Seth R. says:

    Maybe you’re right about Edwards Hellmut.

    I just felt he looked really weak for the duration of being on the Kerry ticket. But that might just be because it’s hard to look all THAT impressive when all you’re running for is Vice President (can’t upstage the main man after all …).

    Great campaign slogan idea for Al Gore:

    “Atone for Your Sins –
    Elect Al Gore this Time!”

  82. But don’t you agree that Edwards changed (became much less likable) when he joined the Kerry ticket?

    Another thing to think about is America doesn’t like losers. If you lose one election, it’s difficult to win another.

  83. “Atone for Your Sins –
    Elect Al Gore this Time!”

    You’d better copyright that Seth, I have a feeling it will wind up on a t-shirt.

  84. R.W. Rasband says:

    Gore will never be president as long as Darrell Hammond is allowed to run wild on “Saturday Night Live.”

  85. jjohnsen says:

    No, I know that, Steve. Just wondering what it has to do with “democratic politics.” Tit-for-tat America bash: your electric sockets belong in the third world, man. They spark everytime I unplug the vacuum. Tell me how you can lead the world with plugs like that?

    Anyway, Edwards or Obama then?

    I like them both, but they need more experience. A Southern govorner is where it’s at.

    Russ Feingold might be able to win my vote. This is solely because he’s one of only about two Congressmen on Capitol Hill to pull their heads out and realize that “I’m a Congressman for crying out loud!” The other one would be Arlen Specter (however you spell that). Feingold wins points solely for being gutsy enough to call for a censure of President Bush. Turns out 47% of America agreed with him.

    Now there’s a nomination I could really go for. The things I’ve read about him really impressed me. I’m terrified that Hillary will get the nomination. Not because I don’t like her politics (I don’t, but will probably vote for whoever goes up against the Republicans)but because I don’t think she can win, there is so much anti-Clinton stuff still floating around.

  86. jjohnsen says:

    I’d like to add that it doesn’t matter who I vote for, like every other pro-Gore/Clinton/Edwards/Feingold/Obama Utahn posting, my vote doesn’t matter. With Utah being one of only three states that has a majority still approving of Bush, any vote other than Republican in a Presidential election is meaningless.

  87. Seth R. says:


    My staunchly conservative father always used to come home on election day and quip to my more progressive mother “well, I just canceled out your vote.”

    My wife and I left the folks in Utah and moved out here to Colorado – an actual swing state! So how ya like them apples?

    Take that dad!

  88. There is the precedent of Nixon, Tim, who lost for president in 1960, then could not even win the California governorship in 1962 and won the presidency in 1968.

    Of course, Dick came to a sticky end but that had more to do with his 1972 reelection campaign.

    A Southern governor would be a strong candidate. But I Warner wants to stick out Iraq. That’s not a war we can win any longer. Better an end with horror than horror without end.

    In light of the rising costs of housing, health care, and higher education, it will be difficult to sustain the middle class in the United States. Edwards recognizes that problem. That’s worth a lot.

  89. MikeInWeHo says:

    If the Democrats are stupid enough to nominate Hillary, they deserve to lose. And I suspect they are. Sigh…..she’d be a fantastic president, imo, and probably turn out to be Thatcher-esque (except for the liberalism, of course :)

  90. Seth R. says:

    I have to admit that the image of Hillary Clinton ordering unilateral air strikes on misogynist Iranian mullahs is rather entertaining, in a twisted sort of way.

  91. Seth R. says:

    If it did turn out to be Hillary vs. Rice …

    You just know that viewership numbers would increase for the debates. All those beer-and-potato-chip type American males hoping to see a catfight.


  92. One of my Irish coworkers bemoaned the outcome of the 2004 election and would always say, “Don’t you Americans know that Bush is hated by 90% of the people outside the US?”.

    My reply was always, “And that will be exactly why he’ll win.”

    The mark of being the European choice for American president is a stain almost impossible to overcome in American electoral politics.

  93. Well, why would we want the French to pick our president? I don’t care who their president is.

    Are you guys all Democrats? Just wondering, I’m not in any party.

  94. Seth R. says:

    I’m not a Democrat annegb,

    I’m a Mormon.

    All clear now?

  95. jjohnsen says:

    Annegb. I haven’t voted straight ticket, Demo or Republican, in any election after the first one I voted in. This past election I think I voted about 3/4 Democrat, but the one before that I voted 3/4 Republican. It all depends who I like after reading everything I can find. I find myself wanting to vote straight party Democrat this upcoming election because of how much I dislike Bush’s policies, but why take out my dislike of one politican on someone else?

  96. I’ve never voted for any one party, either. I tend to vote mostly Democrat in the state elections–I usually like the Democratic candidate better, but it’s also often a protest vote against what I feel to be a slightly oppressive atmosphere.

    I was just wondering.

    Seth, what does that mean to you? Are you being sarcastic or do you really mean that?

  97. Seth R. says:

    I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Libertarian.

    I think the Democrats are too often contemptuous of God and all those who follow him. I also think that they are often so anxious to preach tolerance that they have no values whatsoever.

    Morally adrift. That pretty much sums up America’s liberal movement.

    I think the Republicans party has largely drifted toward idolatry. Here are their idols:
    1. Prayer in School
    2. Meaningless religious displays in courtrooms and other public places
    3. Abortion
    4. Stock portfolios
    5. Patriotism

    And they’re damn proud of their idols too. So much so, that they are completely blind to “the beggars at their feet.”

    Libertarians have an overly idealistic view of human generosity. They claim that the only reason that people don’t donate to the needy more generously is because government is doing it for them. If government just went away, everyone would magically develop a social conscience.

    I suspect the reality is that they are just looking for an excuse to be stingy with their property. “The government made me do it!”

    Either way, Libertarianism is a bit of a childish reaction to the world.

    And no matter which party you belong to, they all worship the God of materialism.

    I choose neither the Pharisees, nor the Saducees, nor the Romans. I’m Mormon.

  98. Seth R. says:

    As a practical matter, I voted for Democrats while living in Utah on the theory that if our government is deadlocked, it at least won’t be as effective at taking us in the wrong direction.

  99. Seth, re comment 90: hilarious

  100. Frank Rich’s column in the Times reminded me that Gore opposed the invasion of Iraq when it was not popular to oppose it (i.e., before the invasion). That is enough to win my vote.

  101. BMarley says:

    You pick your PM and The People of the United States will pick their President.

    At the next war rally, I am going to stand around with my, “Rape Rooms Now”, “Democracy for WASP only”, “Americans Apologize to Saddam”, “A Dictator is just a penis and a potato”, etc… It is a good thing that the French didn’t abandon the US in its efforts to leave the Empire.

    I suppose Al Gore would have been one of the first to oppose the Civil War and World Wars.

    There are many positives in Iraq. The insurgents are led by a Jordanian and many of the fighters are from Saudi and Pakistan. Help the people of Iraq, don’t leave them during this critical period. When the Iraqi government no longer needs the US, we will be asked to leave.

    Some will ask why the US isn’t doing more in Africa. Well, it isn’t in the best interest of US Policy which is meant to extend the well being of the US citizens. It is like the old days when the US supported dictators like Marcos and Saddam. At the time they were our sons of bitches.

    As far as charity, it starts at home. The dole used to be something of shame. Now it is thought of as a right. Those who are able to work shouldn’t get one cent. They can root hog or die. I would prefer to provide support to those who are unable to work due to mental illness, etc… Single mothers aren’t my problem.

  102. Seth R. says:


  103. Aaron Brown says:

    Bob Marley, put down the bong, mon, cuz nobody can figure out what your rant has to do with the topic of this post.

    Aaron B

  104. Or, at least, share…

  105. BMarley says:


    Paragraph 1: Refers back to Post 1. Ronan, who must be a UK citizen, is lamenting the fact that he cannot determine the next President since he is not a citizen.

    Paragraph 2: Refers back to Post 101.

    Paragraph 6: Refers back to Post 98.

    The other pieces of my post you can describe as a rant since that is the easy way to marginalize someone when you have no response. I am fine if you disagree with my post, but don’t resort to labels.

    As for my weed, get your own.

  106. Seth R. says:

    Why do we have the word “rant” if we’re never allowed to use it?

  107. BMarley says:

    Why do we have the words like “mick”, “dago”, “frog”, “wet back”, “nigger”, “fag”?

    Did I say he can’t use the word rant? It is just an easy way to discount something without addressing it. The way the word was used puts it in the same category as stupid and crazy e.g. I don’t like Hillary so everytime she speaks I just say she is stupid instead of actually engaging in a conversation which may come to the conclusion that we just plain disagree. If someone doesn’t understand a post, they can question the writer and ask for further clarification.

    Online Etymology Dictionary which has the following definition:

    rant – 1598, from Du. randten “talk foolishly, rave,” of unknown origin. Ranters “antinomian sect which arose in England c.1645″ is from 1651; applied 1823 to early Methodists.

    And Merriam-Webster Online

    Main Entry: 1rant
    Pronunciation: ‘rant
    Function: verb
    Etymology: obsolete Dutch ranten, randen
    Date: 1602
    intransitive senses
    1 : to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner
    2 : to scold vehemently
    transitive senses : to utter in a bombastic declamatory fashion
    – rant?er noun
    – rant?ing?ly /’ran-ti[ng]-lE/ adverb

  108. he’s the best candidate out there simply because he is not stepping in line with any party. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are so out of touch with reality that both need to be removed. I would vote for him.

  109. Have y’all seen An Inconvenient Truth? I just saw it and wowsers. I’d vote for A.G. again.


  1. […] Well, over at BCC Ronan has started a discussion on the viability of Gore as a Presidential candidate. […]

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