Thursday, June 29, 2006

Al Gore 3.0

Al Gore 3.0
The man who won the presidency in 2000 is looser and more outspoken than ever. Is his global-warming movie a warm-up for a third run at the White House? (From the July 13-27, 2006 issue of ROLLING STONE) BY WILL DANA

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See images of planetwide damage caused by global warming and share your thoughts here.
It is probably not fair to say that global warming excites Al Gore, but get him going on the subject and he becomes possessed by the spirit of a Holy Rolling preacher, swelling and quaking in his chair, hitting high notes, speaking in tongues. We are meeting in a cramped waiting room outside two TV studios in midtown Manhattan. Gore is spending the afternoon here, knocking off a dozen or so interviews with broadcast outlets across the country, one after the other, intimations of the apocalypse sandwiched between the local-anchor happy talk and car-dealership ads in markets like Houston and Kansas City.

Gore is in the middle of an exhaustive campaign to promote An Inconvenient Truth, a surprise hit that transposes to film a lecture about global warming that he has given more than a thousand times in the past six years. (An accompanying book of the same title is climbing the best-seller lists.) But while Gore's message may be grim -- in a nutshell, a warming climate threatens civilization, and if the human race wants to survive, we've got about ten years to start turning things around -- Gore himself seems funnier, warmer and more relaxed than he ever did during his political years. You used to think: I wouldn't mind taking a class from this guy. Nowadays, you wouldn't mind having a beer with him. His recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, when he addressed the nation as president and boasted that gas prices were so low that the government had to bail out the big oil companies, was the single funniest moment on the show all season.

Gore's renewed visibility has only fueled speculation that this is all part of a carefully orchestrated plan to launch his third bid for the presidency. Although Gore refuses to rule it out, he suggests that he's having too much fun, and is too engaged in his various business interests, to subject himself to the endless slog of political life.

It's not unreasonable to hope that Gore runs, but the dream of a Gore candidacy also underscores the pathetic core of today's Democratic Party: It has become so unusual to hear a mainstream Democratic politician speak from a sense of conviction that when one does, people practically start begging him to run....