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Jimmy Carter and Al Gore – Two Peas in a Pod (that’s a Pea Pod, not an Alien Pod)

Scott on January 23, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Is it possible that Jimmy Carter and Al Gore were separated at birth?

OK, I know that they look nothing alike and they are years apart in age, so being twins is out of the question. However, their behaviors and strategies are so similar that you have to assume that at the very least, they attended the same self-help seminar for desperate Democrats looking to make waves in the deep end of the political pool.

Al Gore has Global Warming. Jimmy Carter has the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Though the issues are dramatically different, their methodologies are the same:

- Find a panic button topic or create a controversy (or if you’re lucky, find an issue that does both).

- Make hugely inflammatory statements that garner massive amounts of attention

- Use rhetoric that espouses debate and dialogue while all the while demonizing anyone who voices dissent or who desires debate and/or discussion

- Only attend those meetings that can be controlled and/or manipulated by either your people or by those sympathetic to your ideas

- Avoid any forum that might provide opportunities for discussion and debate that can’t be controlled

- Only grant media interviews to organizations that are sympathetic to your ideas

- Ensure that a prior consent agreement is in place to guarantee that nothing will be aired in an interview segment that might present you and/or your ideas in a bad light

Global Warming.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Different issues Same playbook.

Today, the Boston Globe is discussing Jimmy Carter’s upcoming “talk” at Brandeis University. Carter is coming to Brandies to promote his new book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Initially, this appearance at Brandies was to involve the former president along with one of the most vocal critics of his book, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz and Carter were to engage in an open forum discussion of the ideas underlying Carter’s book. However, Carter and his people threatened to pull out of the appearance unless the interaction with Dershowitz was nixed completely from the program. In fact, Dershowitz was not only disinvited from the event, he was placed on the “Don’t Allow Inside” list.

Rather than the discussion that was originally planned, the organizers asked students and faculty from the university to submit questions that they would like Carter to answer. The organizers have sifted through the questions and have identified 15 questions that they will have Carter answer. NO follow-up questions will be allowed from the audience.

Not everyone at Brandies is happy with the situation, however. Morton Keller, an emeritus professor of history, told the Boston Globe reporter:

“I think the format they’ve chosen is outrageous. It’s like a Soviet press conference. If you have the people in the camp of the speaker choosing the questions, you have to assume that they’re going to be fairly softball questions. It seems the administration could be doing more to ensure some nonpartisan basis for the selection of questions.”

So, let me get this straight: Former President Carter, the man who claims that the purpose of his book was to stimulate discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, refuses to engage in discussion related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those who wanted him on campus to engage in debate changed their minds and decided that debate wasn’t a desired outcome of Carter’s visit. Instead they’ve decided to present questions to Carter, which he will answer unchallenged and with no follow-up by anyone. Carter’s people decided that the presence of Dershowitz, an individual who is opposed to Carter’s views and his book, would be a threat to Carter’s ideas and so the Harvard Law School professor was banned from even attending the event.

Meanwhile, over in Al Gore’s neck of the woods (woods which will soon be under water), the scene looks eerily similar. On Sunday, January 21st, the Opinion Journal section of the Wall Street Journal ran a piece titled, “Will Al Gore Melt?” The piece was written by Flemming Rose, the culture editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten (of the Mohammed cartoons fiasco).

It turns out that former VP Gore was scheduled several months ago to do an interview with Jyllands-Posten about his book and documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The paper wanted the article to be an in-depth analysis of the global warming debate and so chose to include in the interview Bjorn Lomborg, one of Mr. Gore’s most vocal critics who has also written a book titled “The Skeptical Environmentalist.” The format was to be an interview/discussion involving the two men, moderated by the newspaper.

Everything seemed great until the day before the actual meeting and interview between Gore and Lomborg. According to Mr. Rose:

The day before the interview Mr. Gore’s agent thought Gore-meets-Lomborg would be great. Yet an hour later, he came back to tell us that Bjorn Lomborg should be excluded from the interview because he’s been very critical of Mr. Gore’s message about global warming and has questioned Mr. Gore’s evenhandedness. According to the agent, Mr. Gore only wanted to have questions about his book and documentary, and only asked by a reporter.

Mr. Flemming goes on to describe that later on that same day, Gore’s agent contacted the newspaper again to completely cancel the interview, an interview that was his sole reason for coming to Copenhagen in the first place.

Once again, let me get this straight: Former Vice-President Al Gore, the man who claims that the purpose of his book and documentary was to stimulate discussion and raise awareness surrounding the issue of global warming, refuses to engage in discussion related to global warming. When presented with a situation where someone was included in the discussion that would challenge Gore’s assertions and assumptions, Gore’s people became nervous. When Gore and his people couldn’t control the questions or the environment, the idea of discussion and raising awareness became a secondary concern, giving way to the fear of feeling foolish and looking ignorant. So much for Gore’s passion to protect the earth. I guess he needs to protect his image and ego far more than the planet.

At this point, both Mr. Carter and Mr. Gore sound like spoiled, petulant children who threaten to take their ball and go home if they don’t get things their way.

With any luck, they’ll threaten to hold their breath until everyone agrees with them. At least that way, they wouldn’t be able to talk anymore!

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