There were a lot of Al Gore fans on hand as America's first Oscar-winning former vice president appeared today before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe wasn't one of them.
When it comes to global warming, Inhofe is to Gore as the Pope once was to Galileo. While Democrats lavished praise on Gore for his environmental work, Inhofe pounded away, first by repeating the charge that Gore's Tennessee home uses 20 times the electricity of the average American home, then by showing a photo of a flag that had frozen during a blizzard in Buffalo. He suggested that some of the conservation strategies Gore advocates are really just "gimmicks used by the wealthy so they don't have to change their lifestyle."
Gore seemed to realize there was little point in engaging, at least so long as Inhofe thought he was scoring points with conservative global warming critics. After listening to Inhofe rant, the man who would have been president said, "I'm sittin' here tryin' to think what I could do or say to reach out to you." The best Gore could come up with: He invited the senator to breakfast to discuss the issue further. Inhofe accepted.