Ah, just as I expected. The Gore interview is kicking up quite a bit of feedback. And much of it is some variant of the following: "If Gore cares so much about global warming, why didn’t he do anything about it when he was in the White House for eight years?"

So, let’s talk about it. Lots and lots of hardcore enviros I know loathe Gore. They think he talked a good game on the campaign trail and then totally abandoned them when he got to power. There’s lots and lots of pent-up anger toward him.

Another line of thought goes like this: Two years after they got to the White House, Clinton/Gore got stuck with a Republican congress that made it a mission to block everything they tried. In this they were aided and abetted by big industries, notably Detroit. On top of that was an endless succession of trumped-up pseudo-scandals. They had to retrench and triangulate to survive. And their consultants and strategists told them that environmental issues opened them up to charges of lefty wackiness, and wouldn’t have any strong public support. So they did what they could given the circumstances.

To be honest, I don’t have a great grasp of the history. My inclination is to think that progressives in general and enviros in particular often have politically unrealistic expectations — an insufficient appreciation for the real constraints that politicians work under. This leads them to constantly valorize up-and-comers and then demonize the same folks once they get some power. A little realism would help. But like I said, I don’t have the historical details at hand.

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So let’s throw the floor open.

What do y’all think?

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