The above cartoon by Nick Anderson of the Houston Chronicle makes a good point.
Just as the 2004 election was decided partly on the critical issue of what John Kerry did or did not do on a Swift Boat in the late 1960s, it now appears that, at least for the moment, the debate over global warming and climate change will revolve around the crucial issue of Al Gore’s utility bills.
And now Arnold Schwarzenegger’s forward-looking efforts on the global warming issue are being impugned because of his frequent plane flights from Sacramento to his home in Los Angeles. To learn more, see syndicated columnist Debra Saunders’ Do as I say, not as I spew.
I wouldn’t particularly want to defend Gore and Schwarzenegger’s energy use, but this is typically stupid American politics. If what Gore and Schwarzenegger say about climate change is true–and I think it more or less is–then we have a terrible problem on our hands, and Gore’s and Schwarzenegger’s personal energy bills are completely irrelevant.
I think stuff like this is one reason (among many) why so many people around the world are anti-American. Granted that most of these countries are more screwed up than the U.S. is, and that many of these countries could learn much from us. But think of how it must look to a guy in, say, Portugal or Costa Rica. America is the most powerful nation/empire the world has ever known, and it holds much of the fate of humanity in its hands. Yet our presidential elections are incredibly expensive and time consuming farces which often center over anything but the issues.
Perhaps European elections are just as stupid, but at least they get it over with in six weeks. How would we expect the world to feel in 1998, when the most powerful man in the world spent most of his time closeted up with his lawyers trying to figure out how to avoid being impeached over personal sexual misconduct? I don’t blame other countries for being resentful.