‘Global warming guy’ image renders presidency impossible for Gore

Emily Percival

Al Gore has won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Huzzah. Break out the champagne, unveil the chocolate cake with “Gore for Pres. 2008” in red, white and blue cursive icing. Sure, Gore’s gained a few pounds in the last few years and lost a few hairs, not to mention he’s still bearing the bruise from being thoroughly politically willow-whomped in his presidential bid.Emily Percival

But he’s written a best seller, fronted one of the most influential and successful documentaries in history, won two Academy Awards and now the Nobel Peace Prize, all in the space of roughly one year. He has the experience, he has the down-to-earth good sense, and the collective yell of the Democratic party seems to be “Run, Gore, run!”

But does he really have our support? How many Democrats would actually vote for Al Gore? Gore’s platform has always been grounded in environmental issues. His foray into global warming should not come as a surprise; he’s been involved in pushing environmental issues since his days as a congressman. He has no doubt found a group of loyal and fierce supporters in the environmental lobby, which he has helped to galvanize more effectively than any single person in recent memory.

Environmentalists, though easily classified under that nicely packaged term, have any number of varying opinions on varying issues. “The Environment” is a unique issue in this way. One can be for or against school prayer, for or against gun control. Are you against the earth? No? Great! You’re an environmentalist!

The global warming epidemic has served as the issue around which these loosely-termed environmentalists can gather. Finally, most environmentalists can point to global warming as an issue that is pressing enough to get in a frenzy over, scientific enough to offer actual solutions to, and political enough to feel like action is, on this front, possible.

Gore’s determined crusade has made it impossible to think of him without thinking of global warming, and this is why he can’t be president. Global warming is a frighteningly real prospect of change on a scale I can’t even conceive. But I want my president to be as fierce on matters of foreign policy, health care and nuclear proliferation as on global warming. It’s not that Gore can’t live up to my ideal, it’s just that I don’t think he can change his firmly cemented image as Global Warming Guy, and I don’t think people would be receptive to any attempt to change that image.

The Democratic Party has plenty of presidential candidates, and some of them are pretty compelling. Al Gore should stay where he can be most effective: working toward a single issue, with all his might and grace. Let other people screw up the country.