Readers of this site may well be burnt out on talk of Gore’s testimony to Congress. But if not, do check out Brad Plumer’s wrap-up — it’s good.

One point I think bears emphasizing. Almost all the analysis I’ve seen of the event — particularly with regard to the dust-up with Inhofe — discusses how it’s going to play to the public, as though Gore approached it as an extension of his movie, speaking for the cameras’ benefit.

I think that gets it all wrong. I don’t think Gore approached this as a public event. I think he approached it as what it was — a chance to speak directly to legislators. His primary goal was to inform and influence Congress, not the public.

Viewed through that lens, the kerfuffle with Inhofe was an irrelevant sideshow. Certainly no Senators were impressed with Inhofe’s theatrics.

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If you go back and watch the videos, what’s remarkable is that every legislator involved is really paying attention. They’re asking sincere (if occasionally goofy) questions. They really wanted to know what Gore thought about possible legislation, and he really wanted to help them.

One of Gore’s less-heralded activities over the last few years has been speaking directly with financial and political elites (see: Branson). This stuff goes on outside public view, but in many ways it’s just as consequential as his public leadership. I see his testimony yesterday as of a piece with that, not as a principally public event.

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