As political junkies know, Grover Norquist — a major player in the Republican establishment — holds weekly breakfast meetings, attended by everybody-who’s-anybody on the right. This is where much of the famed "message coordination" happens. It would take a brave Democrat to venture into that lion’s den.
I guess Al Gore is brave (stupid? foolhardy? running for president?).
He attended last week’s meeting to give a version of his basic PowerPoint presentation on global warming. According to Steve Hayward’s account (via Ezra), Gore was charming and the presentation was impressive, but the Q&A session failed to dazzle.
What bugs me about Hayward’s post is this:
Above all, Gore the practical politician may have come to realize something the environmental movement is resolutely clueless about: there can be no serious progress on any environmental issues without the participation of conservatives, for the obvious reason that the conservative movement is a potent force that is not going away any time soon. And with most other foreign conservative parties having joined the green/global warming bandwagon to some extent, this leaves the American conservative movement as the most significant remaining holdout. Most environmentalists want to demonize conservatives; Gore says he wants to talk to us. Good for him.
Hayward openly admits that the American conservative movement, with its unique alliance of far-right religion, corporatism, and lingering Southern cultural prejudices, is virtually alone in the world in still viewing sustainability and global warming as dastardly statist plots.
One might think this was an opportunity for self-criticism. But no, it’s the environmentalists that are "clueless." Why? Because they won’t talk to conservatives nicely. They won’t woo them with flowers and flattery.
What colossal self-absorption. The American conservative movement has almost single-handedly prevented the world’s largest super-power from joining the civilized world in combating one of the major threats of our time. And yet they’re not going to play nice until people stop saying mean things about them. The right’s victim complex seems immune to fact or context.
Update [2006-1-4 22:52:26 by David Roberts]: More from Hotline.