The Great Green Hope

By Rauber, Paul | Sierra, July-August 1997 | Go to article overview

The Great Green Hope


Rauber, Paul, Sierra


He's the most knowledgeable environmentalist ever to reach such a high office. But is that enough?

Vice Presidents Albert Gore may be the first national leader for whom Saturday Night Live was a significant influence. In his book, Earth in the Balance, Gore supplements references to Aristotle and chaos theory with mentions of the comedy show's "Yard-a-pull," a device for launching garbage into the neighbor's yard. In his public displays of humor. Gore relies on a very modern sense of self-irony, milking his stuffed-shirt persona for laughs. (How do you tell Al Gore from a roomful of Secret Service agents? He's the stiff one.)

Another topic of vice presidential humor is Gore's well-known desire to be president. He likes to dwell on the brief delay in Bill Clinton's second inauguration. "For five minutes I was president of the United States," Gore declares. "It was an important time for me and my family, and, if I may be so bold, for the country . . . "

An eventual Gore presidency is perfectly plausible, if not as inevitable as it seemed immediately following last November's election. His pristine reputation has since been famished by revelations of questionable fund-raising practices, causing his popularity to plummet nearly 25 points over three months. Of course, he can still recover before November 7,2000,and many environmentalists fervently hope that he does. A typical view is expressed by the Sierra Club's political director, Dan Weiss. "Gore is the best we could ever hope for," he says. "It's hard to imagine a more pro-environment president ever being elected."

After all, he did write the book. Earth in the Balance, a 1992 best-seller (250,000 hardcover copies at last count), laid out the stark realities of deforestation. water pollution. overpopulation, and especially global warming. "I have come to believe that we must take bold and unequivocal action," the then-senator wrote. "We must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization."

You just don't hear stuff like that from Bill Clinton or presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt. Indeed, many environmentalists have endured the indignities and disappointments of the Clinton era happy in the belief that Gore's turn is next, that someone who shares our sense of urgency about healing the earth would soon have the power to turn his ideals into action.

But will he? Gore was unavailable for interview for this article, and isn't even saying at this early date whether he'll run. But we can judge what kind of president he might make by what kind of vice president he is, and what kind of legislator--and environmentalist--he's been in the past.

Before he become an environmentalist, Al Gore was a politician. His father, Albert Gore, Sr., represented Tennessee for 14 years in the House and 18 in the Senate, so you could say Al Jr. was born to the role. (Gerry Trudeau once satirized him in Doonesbury as "Albert, Prince of the Tennessee Valley.") Gore Sr. was a brash, outspoken populist, best known nationally for his opposition to the war in Vietnam. Despite his own antiwar views, Al Jr. served a tour of duty in Saigon as an Army re porter, largely because he knew it would be political death for his father if he avoided service. (Self-sacrificial loyalty is a constant in Gore's career.) In 1970, Al Sr.'s principled position cost him his seat anyway. After stints as a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean and a law student at Vanderbilt, Al Jr. followed his father, first to the House in 1976 and then to the Senate in 1984.

The young Gore's legislative record was slight; he was better at raising issues than seeing them through the process. In the Reagan era, he became an expert on nuclear disarmament, mastering the minutiae of throw weight and megatonnage, but never transforming his expertise into legislation.

Surprisingly, Gore's environmental voting record in Congress was less than stellar. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Great Green Hope
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.