History and hermeneutics

Last month in “Gore at leisure” we excerpted Al Gore’s New York Times review of a new book on global warming by Ross Gelbspan. Gore wrote:

In this new book, Gelbspan focuses his toughest language by far on the coal and oil industries. After documenting the largely successful efforts of companies like ExxonMobil to paralyze the policy process, confuse the American people and cynically ”reposition global warming as theory rather than fact,” as one strategy paper put it, he concludes that ”what began as a normal business response by the fossil fuel lobby — denial and delay — has now attained the status of a crime against humanity.”
I wouldn’t have said it quite that way, but I’m glad he does, and his exposition of the facts certainly seems to support his charge.

We noted how unhinged Gore seems even in a book review written at leisure for an audience of readers. In another part of the review that we ignored, Gore carried on in his usual style criticizing the Bush administration for its abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Now comes hizzoner Edward I. Koch in a letter to the editor of the Times Book Review with a bit of the relevant history:

In his review of Ross Gelbspan’s ”Boiling Point” (Aug. 15), former Vice President Al Gore called it a ”blend of passionate advocacy and lucid analysis” of global warming. Gelbspan’s book criticizes the Bush administration, documenting its efforts to ” ‘demolish the diplomatic foundations’ of the international agreement known as the Kyoto Protocol.”
Gore writes, ”The Kyoto Protocol (which may soon become legally effective if Russia ratifies it, even though the United States has not) has been criticized by many, including Gelbspan, for not going nearly far enough.”
Gore has taken on the job of educating the American public on global warming and regularly denounces the Bush administration for not ratifying the protocol. Gore has allies in this endeavor, including Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Senator John Kerry. The leading lights of the Democratic party all end up on the TV programs of Charlie Rose, Tim Russert or Larry King, savaging the Bush administration on this issue.
When I see their self-righteous spouting on this issue I am reminded of Joseph Welch’s admonition to Senator McCarthy: ”Have you no sense of decency?”
Here are the facts. On July 25, 1997, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, along with 93 other senators (with five senators not voting and none voting in opposition) adopted a resolution stating that ”the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto.”
Shouldn’t someone who has held the office of vice president of the United States and who has sought the presidency disclose the facts, even when reviewing a book? The reason that Gore’s name is not found with the 95 others is that as vice president presiding over the Senate, he could not cast a vote unless there was a tie. On the Kyoto vote the result was 95 to 0 against the treaty.

In his response to Koch’s letter (also in the link above), Gore simply refuses to acknowlege the comprehensive rejection of Kyoto articulated in the Senate resolution:

The ”Sense of the Senate” resolution that Ed Koch refers to actually took place five months before the Kyoto Protocol was even written, and was aimed at providing guidance to the negotiators on general principles. During the political give-and-take over its wording, that resolution was eventually stated so broadly that even the strongest supporters of a tough treaty ended up supporting it. Indeed, the author of the resolution, Senator Robert Byrd, has publicly criticized the subsequent misrepresentation of its meaning by opponents of Kyoto.

According to Gore, the “guidance” unanimously provided by the United States Senate “not to be a signatory to any protocol” was “stated so broadly” that it did not extend to the protocol that was produced in Kyoto. (Click here for the text of the Senate resolution.) We join Mayor Koch in lamenting Al Gore’s lack of decency, but Gore’s review and Gore’s response to Koch’s letter betray Gore’s deficiencies in a few other departments as well.

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