There’s one of those old journalistic “where-are-they-now” standbys in the New York Times today about Al Gore. The story is at turns unintentionally hilarious and also deeply revealing of what’s wrong with the world. Above all, the story seems much longer than the topic merits.
We know Gore has become a wealthy man, but what actual value-added to the economy did Gore perform to “accumulate more than $100 million in wealth”? Can you name any business he built (aside from trying for a carbon trading business that depended on political mandates rather than free market forces)? Seems more likely that many rich liberal friends took pity on him and showered him with money. That’s fine up to a point, but isn’t $100 million somewhere way past that point?
Plus there’s the blatant hypocrisy of the man. Sure, his “10,000-square-foot colonial in Nashville” has “geothermal wells, buried beneath the driveway, [to] cool and heat its 20 rooms.” Isn’t that special! Of course, his “luxury apartment at the St. Regis tower” in San Francisco (2,800 square feet, the story informs us) doesn’t have geothermal, but apparently it has his girlfriend. Then there’s his new abode in Montecito; no word on geothermal here. So maybe he needs all that $100 million to buy carbon offsets. And hey—he doesn’t always fly private! Sometimes he even takes Southwest Airlines to Nashville.
The story continues: “As for rubbing shoulders with the Washington elite, it is so unappealing that Mr. Gore has chosen to skip the Democratic Party convention in Charlotte, N.C.”—I’m sure the Democratic Party is grateful for this and returns the sentiment—“and will instead spend the next two weeks on his cable channel, Current TV, leading the coverage of both major-party conventions from New York.” CurrentTV still exists? I think the last we checked Power Line has more readers than CurrentTV has viewers.
I’ve always thought Gore deserved a little slack for having lost the electoral college vote in 2000 (though that was his fault more than hanging chads in Florida—a competent Democratic candidate would have won his home state or West Virginia), and I can imagine that losing in the way he did would drive someone out of his mind. There is some evidence that it did, as the story hints: “He dealt with the trauma not by conducting a shadow presidency in his imagination; rather, at first, he grew a beard, ate too much and got fat. . .”
And then there’s this: “’Al obsesses about what the world will end up becoming,’ said one friend of the Gores, ‘and I know that was tiring for Tipper to be around.’” Tipper ain’t the only one.