Inside the Beltway

Change the world

Former Vice President Al Gore is — for the 20th year running — calling for a “wrenching transformation” in society, and our lifestyles, in order to avoid ecological calamity that remains, as always, just over the horizon unless we heed the green Cassandra’s call.

Onetime Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, a top fundraiser today for former Virginia Democratic Gov. Mark Warner as he tests the 2008 presidential waters, is a longtime Northern Virginia auto dealer, putting motorists behind the wheels of Land Rovers, Volvos and Subarus.

“Can a car dealer help slow global warming?” Mr. Beyer asks in his latest mailing, headlined “Fight for a Cooler Planet!” and “Break this Seal, Change the World.”

Indeed, if somebody buys one of his new cars or SUVs, Mr. Beyer will plant a tree for them, roll out a free bicycle, and provide a pair of tickets to see the former vice president’s new movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which the mailer calls “a nonpartisan look at the science of our planet, presented by Al Gore.”

Reaction?

Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow and counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says: “If only we all drove Volvos, apparently. Somehow, I don’t think Don Beyer has seen the movie.”

Keep your chin up

Tired of all the Al Gore bashing is Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

“I’m sending Al a note this week telling him to keep fighting, to keep standing up for the truth no matter how vicious the attacks,” Mr. Dean pledged yesterday, noting Mr. Gore’s pursuit of solutions to global warming were actually compared by one pundit to Adolf Hitler’s pursuit of genocide.

Says Mr. Dean: “Facts are facts. Global warming is happening, and it threatens our very existence.”

Ted’s intrusion

We had to laugh when President Bush, touring the Laredo Border Patrol Sector Headquarters in Texas this week, was provided a close-up look at a video surveillance facility where more than a dozen screens displayed various vantage points along the Mexican border.

Wouldn’t you know while the president was eyeing the screens, a live shot appeared of a red-faced Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat. One screen, it turns out, was tuned to C-SPAN 2.

Covert campaign

He couldn’t win re-election in South Dakota, but that’s not to say he couldn’t become the next president of the United States.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will travel today to New Hampshire, which holds the first of the presidential primaries, where he will discuss a possible presidential bid in 2008 with citizens of the Granite State.

And after he gets an earful from them, the South Dakota Democrat will depart for the first caucus state, Iowa, where he’ll spend tomorrow night and Saturday.

He describes the two-state, three-day trip as “a logical progression” in seeking the presidency. And he says he will return to the pair of pivotal states for an “unscheduled driving tour,” to hear directly from the people “without staff or press in tow.”

Aging minds

Give Chris Matthews credit for permitting his guests more uninterrupted opportunities to express their positions.

And wouldn’t you know that by listening more, the outspoken host, on occasion, has even surprised himself by being in agreement.

“I’m getting to like you too much,” Mr. Matthews told Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, one night this week, each fully agreeing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that young adults today are much more opposed to abortion than previous generations.

“I remembered arguing this very point, this question of abortion with my own kids, particularly my daughter, who couldn’t understand why I would be opposed to [abortion],” Mr. Lott said at one point. “And then one day she became a young professional woman, and then she became a mother, and now she’s much more pro-life than even I am.

“Life has changed her,” the former majority leader concluded. “You know the old argument: When you’re young, if you’re not liberal, there’s something wrong with your heart. And when you’re older, if you’re 60 and you’re still liberal, there’s something wrong with your mind.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@ washingtontimes.com.

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