2007-10-15

Gore Derangement Syndrome

From the department of Everyone-loves-Paul-Krugman:
On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “...Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration. ...

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. ... For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.

Consider the policy implications of taking climate change seriously. ... It’s in the interest of most people (and especially their descendants) that somebody do something to reduce emissions of ... greenhouse gases, but each individual would like that somebody to be somebody else. Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater.

The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing..., either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. ... Climate change is ... global. ... So dealing with climate change ... also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.

Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate. Today, being a good Republican means believing that taxes should always be cut, never raised. It also means believing that we should bomb and bully foreigners, not negotiate with them.

So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

18 comments:

BLBeamer said...

Krugman is a smart guy.

How extremely disingenuous of him to say that "somehow" G. W. Bush was elected despite Gore's higher popular vote total in 2000.

If he really doesn't know how it could have happened, then I'm on the short list for the Nobel Prize in economics.

BLBeamer said...

Re: X Derangement Syndrome.

Professor Pot, meet Professor Kettle. Krugman's entire non-economics career is based on his deranged attacks on G. W. Bush, who, despite Krugman's best (worst?) efforts was re-elected in 2004 receiving more popular votes than Gore received in 2000.

Thanks one whole heck of a lot, Professor. Other than providing lots of red meat for his homies, no one seems to be taking what the good professor has to say very seriously.

One Salient Oversight said...

Krugman is a professor of economics at Princeton.

As for the 2004 election, Gore was obviously not running and Americans had been convinced by the Personality Cult that had developed around him during his first term. It wasn't until 2005 and Hurricane Katrina that Americans saw Bush for who he really was. Krugman, like myself and many others, saw the truth about Bush from the very beginning.

So, in that sense, any attack on Bush is hardly deranged. He has single handedly destroyed the conservative movement and irreparably damaged America's reputation and interests in the world.

BLBeamer said...

I know Krugman's academic CV. That's why I was careful to mention his "non-economics career". He's a highly distinguished and respected economist. I would not be surprised if some day he wins a Nobel himself.

My whole post was satire, Neil, not an attempt to defend G.W. Bush. For every person such as yourself who can't understand why people can't see through G. W. Bush, there's another who can't fathom why people don't see through the dopey hypocrite that is Al Gore. If you wonder why Messiah Al isn't more respected in the US, well, that's likely because you don't have to live with him!

You give Bush way to much credit for destroying the conservative movement, such as it was. He got lots of help from idiots like Pat Robertson and nearly the entire GOP Congressional contingent, just to name a few.

One Salient Oversight said...

You give Bush way to much credit for destroying the conservative movement, such as it was. He got lots of help from idiots like Pat Robertson and nearly the entire GOP Congressional contingent, just to name a few.

In some respects I agree. Certainly Bush played badly but the entire Republican Orchestra was out of tune as well.

But had Bush not been incompetent, what would have transpired?

* No invasion of Iraq.
* Efficient Federal response to Katrina.
* Capture of Bin Laden.
* Use of veto powers to prevent (or at least limit) Federal budget deficits.
* Appointment of skilled and competent people into places like FEMA and Attorney General.

Even with the excesses of people like Pat Robertson or Tom DeLay, if Bush was a competent leader then the "personality cult" around him, while odious, would at least have some justification.

In short, had Bush been competent, the Conservative movement and the Republican Party would be in a much better position, politically.

BLBeamer said...

But had Bush not been incompetent, what would have transpired?

* No invasion of Iraq.
An incompetent would not have been able to convince an even more incompetent Congress to authorize the invasion.
* Efficient Federal response to Katrina. This is tiresome. Unless and until one is willing to recognize just how thoroughly the local and state governments in Louisiana failed, even legitimate criticisms of the feds are empty.
* Capture of Bin Laden. Unprovable.
* Use of veto powers to prevent (or at least limit) Federal budget deficits. By far, Bush's most egregious failing. However, you were aware the US hasn't had a balanced budget since the Nixon administration, weren't you? You'll also note that the Democrats seem as unable/unwilling to propose a single spending reduction as the GOP.
* Appointment of skilled and competent people into places like FEMA and Attorney General. It's true that he's had some doozies, but every president has had people in their government that proved to be inept. Clinton had Reno, Albright, Christopher, Brown, and Cisneros. G. H. W. Bush had Baker, Darman, & Dole. Carter had his entire Cabinet and himself, etc.

I am risking looking like a Bush apologist with this post, which I am not, but why is it so hard to comprehend and acknowledge that perhaps your anti-Bush view is as skewed as Bush lapdogs?

One Salient Oversight said...

why is it so hard to comprehend and acknowledge that perhaps your anti-Bush view is as skewed as Bush lapdogs?

Good point. It is mainly due to my experiences in 2002.

I was no fan of Bush in 2000 and wanted Gore to win. I felt even back then that there was "something" about the guy that sent off warning signals.

When 9/11 occurred I was very apoliticial. Although I didn't like Bush even then I knew that he was the guy who had to do something about it so I was very supportive of the invasion of Afghanistan and to act against global terrorism. Most of the world was supportive of Bush and America as well.

My original feelings about a potential Iraq invasion in 2002 were positive. I felt that Saddam had WMDs and it was just too risky to give chemical weapons over to potential terrorists.

But I was also a stickler for doing the right thing. While I felt that Iraq should probably be invaded I also felt that it had to be done properly, with international approval and with all alternatives being exhausted.

Unfortunately this objective approach was not favoured by Americans in 2002. I became increasingly dispirited with America's overt aggressiveness towards Iraq in 2002.

As the UN went in and began their inspections, I felt that any lack of evidence should be taken as innocence. In other words, if Iraq could not be proven guilty then they must be presumed innocent.

In the 3 months before the war, all sorts of things occurred. There was the "dodgy dossier" and the "aluminium tubes", both of which showed beyond doubt that someone was making up evidence against Iraq and failing.

When Colin Powell did his Adlai Stevenson impression at the UN, showing fuzzy, ambiguous-looking vehicles and buildings and then claiming they were mobile nuclear, chemical and biological weapons factories, the entire Bush administration lost credibility.

Needless to say I was not convinced that Iraq was in possession of WMDs and, even if they were, an invasion could still not be justified.

As history shows us, Iraq had no WMDs. Powell was wrong. Both Bush and Blair created false information to create a war that had no purpose and did nothing to relieve the threat of Islamic terrorism.

To reiterate - Bush deliberately lied to gain popular support for an unjust war that has ended the lives of probably 1 million plus Iraqis.

So if I'm anti-Bush, it is because I base it on hard historical facts.

I also make sure I give credit where it's due. Nixon was a national embarrassment yet he managed to defuse conflict with China and the Soviets. Carter may have been clueless about the economy but he did broker a permanent peace between Egypt and Israel. Reagan may have been suffering from Dementia from even before he was president but he at least surrounded himself with talented and competent underlings. Bush Sr may have failed to impress but he was decisive and prudent when it came to Gulf War I. Clinton may have had a loose zipper and some shady friends but he managed to walk a fine line between good economics and good social policy that led to remarkable levels of wealth being generated and distributed.

Bush. What good things have I to say about him? So far I cannot name one good thing he has done in both of his terms so far.

Dave Lankshear said...

To reiterate - Bush deliberately lied to gain popular support for an unjust war that has ended the lives of probably 1 million plus Iraqis.

Where did you get that? I thought the most extreme version was 650 thousand, exactly half of the number that died under Saddam and Sanctions. And that's the kids.

Not saying I am still "for" the war, we were lied to. But it's not black and white either. Something drastic had to change.

One Salient Oversight said...

The most scientific version is 650,000 (Lancet) but that was only up to 2005. Another Lancet study should be released next year using the same methodology and will measure mortality up to 2007. I expect it to be in excess of 1 million.

Then there's the 2 million or so who have left Iraq. How many of them have died?

Dave, even with sanctions and Saddam, the current situation is far, far worse. Remember that the oil for food programme resulted in a large drop in infant mortality rates.

To reiterate - the sanctions kept Saddam from WMDs and the oil for food programme was saving the kids. Then Bush stuffed it up.

One Salient Oversight said...

And also remember that infant mortality was decreasing in Iraq up until 1991. What happened in 1991 that caused all those kiddies to die in the years after that? Hmmm...

BLBeamer said...

But had Bush not been incompetent, what would have transpired?

To reiterate - Bush deliberately lied to gain popular support for an unjust war that has ended the lives of probably 1 million plus Iraqis.

Which is it? Is he a total incompetent or an evil, manipulative genius who fabricated the case for war to satisfy the oil lust of his Texas Mafia cronies?

See, this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. The case against Bush is so unfocused and incoherent, that it loses any credibility and makes reasonable people lose interest.

I happen to believe that the case against Bush can be made, but the unhinged and deranged hurt that case by not being satisfied with laying out his factual faults and errors. He must be a cretinous, immoral, subhuman Uber-Hitler with special superhuman gifts for killing people in fiendishly clever ways. And those are his good points.

BLBeamer said...

The Lancet study's methodology was dodgy and therefore vastly overstates the case, but it is unseemly to argue over the exact amounts of dead people. We all agree people are dying.

I have a problem with the anti-Bushies claim that every single one of those dead people should be laid at the feet of Bush. Why should the barbarians actually doing the killing get a free pass? These folks weren't exactly shoe clerks before the war.

One Salient Oversight said...

People who didn't like what the Lancet's study said were the first to question the methodology. It needs to be pointed out that the study was peer reviewed. To my knowledge, no peer-reviewed scientific study into Iraqi mortality exists that contradicts the Lancet study and/or proves its methodology to be incorrect.

It's all very well to disagree with the methodology and say that its conclusions are wrong. It's another thing to come up with your own scientific and statistical study that is peer reviewed which comes up with a different number. If the study is so flawed, why haven't its detractors produced an alternative that is allegedly of the same objective standard?

Moreover, the Lancet study was done twice. First in 2003 (published in 2004) and then in 2005 (published in 2006). The first study counted around 98,000 deaths. The second counted 654,965.

The second study's methodology was the same as the first, and the researchers discovered that when they examined the timeframe of deaths and extrapolated back to 2003, the figure they arrived at was very similar to the 2003 result.

What this means is that the second study essentially proved both the validity of the first study and also proved the statistical accuracy of cluster-sampling as a way of determining mortality rates.

And finally, the methodology used by the Lancet study has been used for years to determine mortality rates in natural disasters like famines or floods in third world nations.

One Salient Oversight said...

Which is it? Is he a total incompetent or an evil, manipulative genius who fabricated the case for war to satisfy the oil lust of his Texas Mafia cronies?

I have no idea why he did it. Some say oil and maybe that is true. I think he probably did believe that WMDs existed in Iraq but instructed Cheney and other to create false information to make the case for war. He trusted his instinct but his instincts were wrong.

See, this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy. The case against Bush is so unfocused and incoherent, that it loses any credibility and makes reasonable people lose interest.

Not really. The facts are very plain. Bush claimed that there were WMDs and there wasn't any. Evidence was released to the media to bolster these claims that were subsequently shown to be forgeries (Dodgy Dossier).

He also made clear links between Osama and Saddam but there's no evidence of this. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was all about 9/11 but Saddam wasn't involved in it at all.

And was Brownie doing a heckuva job? FEMA's response to Katrina was woeful, even when you take into account the state and city government making mistakes. A hurricane and the disaster that befalls a region of the USA is the responsibility of the Feds to look after. Before heading up FEMA, Brownie headed the International Arabian Horse Association, which he mismanaged so badly that it had to merge with another horsey group.

I happen to believe that the case against Bush can be made, but the unhinged and deranged hurt that case by not being satisfied with laying out his factual faults and errors. He must be a cretinous, immoral, subhuman Uber-Hitler with special superhuman gifts for killing people in fiendishly clever ways. And those are his good points.

Bush isn't a Hitler, but he has killed more Iraqis than Saddam ever did. Whether this was done deliberately or done because of incompetence (or both) is not the issue. The issue is that he did it, and for that he should be jailed as a war criminal.

And did you know that Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was involved in a plot to overthrow the US government back in 1933? See Business Plot.

BLBeamer said...

My son's home from college so I don't have much time tonight. I'll jot a few thoughts down and I hope you'll forgive me if they are incomplete or inarticulate.

I am not going to argue about how many Iraqis have been killed because I believe it's unseemly. I believe the Iraq Body Count response to Lancet is convincing, even though IBC's count is itself understated.

Regarding the feds role after a disaster, you seem to have a misunderstanding of the relationship between the state governments and the federal government.

Furthermore, I didn't state that FEMA did great, so why do you keep trying to prove they did not? Louisiana is arguably the most corrupt state government in the Union and has been for ages. Ignoring the LA state govt complicity in the disaster is nothing more than an attempt to lay all the blame on Bush. He deserves no more nor less than his fair share of blame (and there's plenty), but not for the decades of graft and corruption in LA that resulted in the levees not being maintained.

I heard Bush say in a press conference that Saddam was not linked to 9/11 so that one I am flatly contradicting. Please don't bother with the "penumbras and emanations" argument which others have tried to use to prove what Bush really meant.

It's really intriguing to me that, even though I alluded to a case against Bush, you don't seem interested in what that might be.

What possible relevance could Bush's grandfather's actions have? Did you know Al Gore's father was a racist? Did you know that Bill Clinton's brother is a drug addict?

One Salient Oversight said...

First, your stated policy concerning using military force if necessary to disarm Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction is a just cause. In just war theory only defensive war is defensible; and if military force is used against Saddam Hussein it will be because he has attacked his neighbors, used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and harbored terrorists from the Al Qaeda terrorist network that attacked our nation so viciously and violently on September 11, 2001.

Some text from the Land Letter, a letter to George Bush sent on October 3 2002, signed by Richard Land, Charles Colson, Bill Bright, James Kennedy and Carl Herbster.

I know this doesn't prove that Bush believed it - but it proves that American Christians certainly did at the time.

One Salient Oversight said...

My job is not only to protect America today, but to anticipate problems, as well. And obviously I started a significant and important debate about Iraq. I did because I -- because I understand the threat of Iraq. This is a country that said he would have no weapons of mass destruction, and he does. This is a country that has defied the United Nations 11 straight years, 16 different resolutions. He's completely ignored the international body. This is a country who has made it clear he'd like to have a nuclear weapon. And when our inspectors -- or the inspectors went into the country right after the Gulf War, it was estimated that they were months away from having a nuclear weapon. This is a country that hates America, hates the people in the neighborhood. This is a country which has invaded two countries unprovoked. This is a country, the leadership of which has actually used weapons of mass destruction on its own people, on citizens who disagreed with him. This is a country who gassed its neighbor s. This is a dangerous man.

Prior to September the 11th, 2001, we thought two oceans would protect us. We thought we could kind of step back, and say, this may be somebody else's problem, in another part of the world, and we may or may deal with it. After September the 11th, we've entered into a new era and a new war. This is a man that we know has had connections with al Qaeda. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al Qaeda as a forward army. And this is a man that we must deal with for the sake of peace, for the sake of our children's peace.


- George W. Bush, October 14, 2002.

BLBeamer said...

Links to al Qaeda - which there were - and links to the actual attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 is not the same thing.

There were links to al Qaeda. They were murky and not entirely understood, but the links did exist.

Not all American Christians felt that way. I opposed the Iraq invasion (and I was not alone) and was disappointed in Charles Colson, a man whose work I admire and support.