WEISBERG'S FAULTY LOGIC. Jacob Weisberg's new piece on Al Gore in Slate is simultaneously terrific and infuriating. On the one hand, he makes some of the same criticisms I made about the movie (its irritating excessive focus on Gore's personal journey and its refusal to discuss how and why the Clinton administration didn't do more to combat global warming). And, being the talented writer and thinker he is, Weisberg does so much better than I.
On the other hand, Weisberg twists all of this into a ridiculous thesis, sort of the Slate version of The New Republic's tendency to follow counter-intuition to some bizarre, plainly illogical endpoint. Weisberg argues that because the end of Gore�s political career has allowed Gore to finally focus on raising awareness about global warming, he will actually do a better job of saving the planet if he is not elected in 2008. In other words, Weisberg is seriously suggesting that because global warming is such a terrible looming problem, it would be better not to have the (possible) candidate most committed to dealing with it elected. Rather, it would be better to elect someone else and let Gore keep trying to bring pressure to bear on him or her from the outside. You can see how well that has worked during the Bush presidency. Those 1000 slideshow presentations of Gore's have really paid off with some major administration policy shifts that surely could never have occurred had Gore simply been President in the first place. In fact, following Weisberg's logic, I think that the way to solve global warming is to elect someone who is completely unwilling to admit it even exists. That way, Gore can get into an even more righteous state about how wrongheaded the administration is, and one day we'll all be grateful it worked out this way. Inhofe '08!