- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2004

The unabated anger of Democratic presidential candidates and the liberal media toward George W. Bush still feeds off their moral certitude that he cheated Al Gore out of the presidency in the 2000 elections.

That being said, it is ironic indeed Mr. Gore retains so little currency within today’s Democratic Party and, in some quarters, is even regarded as somewhat of a joke.

Only a few weeks ago, the media were reporting Al Gore’s endorsement of Howard Dean had virtually sewn up the Democratic presidential nomination for the peripatetic Vermonter.

Despite the enthusiastic nod from the titular head of the Democratic Party, Mr. Dean finished a distant third to John Kerry and John Edwards in Iowa. Unable to rebound with a victory in New Hampshire, Mr. Dean has now withdrawn from the contest, after his campaign ran low on gas and cash.

Why did Al Gore’s blessing turn out to be a primary kiss of death? Democratic insiders here suggest Mr. Gore simply marginalized himself in a series of three speeches that began last November and ended Jan. 15 on the stage of New York’s historic Beacon Theater.

The speeches, Mr. Gore’s first since the long count of 2000, were long and eagerly awaited. When delivered, however, they sounded angry, resentful, vindictive and mired in the quicksands of past glory — like William Jennings Bryan’s farewell performance at the Scopes Monkey Trial.

The Jan. 15 speech — coming only a few days before the Iowa caucuses — may have been the final straw for many Democrats.

On the coldest day in a decade in New York City, Mr. Gore — his exquisite sense of timing still intact — walked onto the stage of the Beacon Theater and charged President Bush with ignoring the perils of global warming.

Mr. Gore went ahead with the speech even though the Northeast was socked with a cold front that sent wind-chill temperatures plunging to 100 degrees below zero in parts of New England and produced Boston’s chilliest weather in nearly half a decade.

In doing so, the former vice president overruled his advisers, who feared his remarks would make him the prolonged butt of jokes from late-night talk show hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman.

Mr. Gore justified his remarks by insisting he could make the case global warming actually caused the record cold snap that rocked even the hardiest Northeasterners back on their heels.

“The extreme conditions are actually the end result of the planet warming,” Mr. Gore reassured his dubious aides. “The Bush environmental policies are leading to all of the extreme weather we are seeing.”

Mr. Gore was beating the proverbial dead horse in chiding Mr. Bush for his 2001 decision to formally reject the Kyoto treaty on global warming. After all, almost all of this year’s Democratic presidential contenders had backed away from Kyoto by the time Mr. Gore delivered his speech.

In fact, the remaining contenders, led by Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards, have said nary a word about the global-warming issue in recent weeks — not because they aren’t super-pro-environment, but the issue is saddled with Mr. Gore’s wackiness.

After all, a Democratic-controlled Senate in July 1997 voted 95-0 in favor of a resolution urging President Clinton not to send the pact to Capitol Hill for ratification. In the wake of federal and academic assessments that complying with Kyoto would plunge the U.S. economy into a prolonged and deep recession, Mr. Clinton wisely complied, despite then-Vice President Gore’s enthusiastic urgings.

Subsequent studies by respected world-class scientists have long since confirmed the Senate’s judgment in refusing to endorse Mr. Gore’s pet project.

In addition to Kyoto’s huge financial costs, recent studies strongly suggest even imposing its terms on every nation would do little to arrest the slight global warming that may be taking place. Kyoto, it should be noted, currently exempts China and India, the world’s two fastest-growing economies, from its restrictions.

New climate studies by scientists from such institutions as Harvard, the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology, the University of Virginia and Canada’s University of Guelph debunk the theories perpetuated by Mr. Gore and other global-warming alarmists. They show:

(1) The current global warming trend is part of a naturally occurring heating/cooling cycle that likely has been taking place since time immemorial.

(2) And the man-made emissions of the greenhouse gases scientists believe causes warming are insignificant in the total scheme of things.

Despite this overwhelming scientific evidence, Mr. Gore continues to demagogue the issue.

It’s understandable, of course, that Mr. Gore remains bitter after losing the closest and most hotly contested presidential election in recent memory. Rather than continue attacking Mr. Bush on the spurious issue of global warming, Mr. Gore should stop marginalizing himself and — well, maybe just chill out.

James L. Martin is president of the 60 Plus Association in Arlington, Va., a national senior citizen advocacy organization.

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