Is there any chance that the real message of Al Gore's global warming horror movie will be heard amid the din of speculation that he'll run for president in 2008? The clamor got louder in Sunday's New York Times, in which Op-Ed columnist Frank Rich explained why he hopes Gore runs, while political reporter Adam Nagourney got the uncandidate to reflect on not running. Gore had this to say about the presidency: "I wanted it, and it was not to be." How about running in 2008? "I am not pursuing it. I have been there, and I have done that."
That's not enough of a denial for you? How about: "Why should I run for office?" Gore said. "I have no interest in running for office. I have run for office. I have run four national campaigns. I have found other ways to serve my country, and I'm enjoying them."
In Nagourney's piece, Gore comes off as genuinely exasperated that everyone wants to talk to him about a possible comeback campaign while he's trying to spread the word about the perils of climate change. "What Mr. Gore wanted to talk about in a call from New York the other night, as he waited for his daughter to arrive with his grandchildren, was the threat facing Planet Earth," Nagourney writes. "'My whole objective is to change the mind of the American public so all the presidential candidates in both parties will want to talk about global warming,' he said."
Gore even counsels Nagourney to change beats. "But in a feisty and frequently argumentative telephone conversation, Mr. Gore brimmed with disdain at the state of American politics and political journalism, urging his interviewer to quit a career covering politics to turn to matters of real consequence. 'Stop covering politics; cover the climate crisis. It is not too late!' he said, with a boom of laughter." Why? "Politics, he said, has become a game of meaningless, mindless battles, conducted by unscrupulous methods and people, designed to transform even the most serious policy debates into sport."
Is all this bluster just succeeding in positioning Gore as an unlikely Beltway outsider, an appealing alternative to you know who? Maybe. Still, we can't help sharing Gore's frustration that all the focus on his political prospects is taking attention away from the really urgent issue: global warming.
It's getting hot in here.