Trust the right-wing nutjobs to rack up an issue where none exists. On the heels of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth winning couple of Oscars, a clearly dubious policy research organization, Tennessee Center for Policy Research (sorry, no link love) dug up Al Gore’s utility bills [via email from Niket]. In their role as an allegedly ‘independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan research organization’, they tout exposing Gore’s hypocrisy for consuming “22,619 kWh — guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year.” Of course, a cursory look at their website reminds us of the now infamous Swift Boat for Veterans hit job on John Kerry and TCPR are clearly not independent let alone nonpartisan. In fact, Gore responded to the allegation and suggested that he buys carbon offsets in his attempt to reduce his ecological footprint, which undoubtedly is larger than any of us thanks to his globe-trotting talks on global warming. But is he a hypocrite?

Frankly, he is as much as a hypocrite as Bush is for not sending his currently unemployed daughters to Iraq. The latter implications is absurd and even Bush’s harshest critics will admit it. Not so with the global warming skeptics. Any chink in the armor they find in supporters of global warming, which is basically everyone with a basic understanding of science, they’ll use it to further their cause of denial. As Amanda Marcotte succinctly puts it:

After years of being fed a steady diet of propaganda that says that everything from regulation on polluters to diplomacy is some sort of strike against freedom while also being asked to support a series of pointless laws meant to restrict pot smoking and birth control, wingnuts have grown accustomed to believing that the only legitimate government restraints on liberties are those that strike at behaviors that are suspect only because they bring pleasure to the unwashed masses. As such, they view the necessary restrictions on carbon use as some sort of moral crusade against sins they personally like to indulge and so they grasp at the “hypocrite” slander, as if that meant something.

Exactly! So aren’t the right wingnuts also subject to hypocrisy too? And if this latest charge has political undertones, I fail to see them. Gore isn’t running for office or even openly supporting those who are. This is a classic case of refusal to change old habits or to cling on to obsolete ideas or technologies that have been proven to harm everyone on this planet.

Also looking at the bigger picture, has proving Al Gore’s hypocrisy reduced the threat of global warming? Or even disproved it? I bet not. Al Gore himself admits that mere individual effort is not enough to reverse global warming although collective actions of individuals might make a dent. He largely implores big government, which unfortunately is a reality today, to make policy changes to further the fight against global warming. Such changes does not necessarily mean forcing everyone to buy a Prius but in fact shifting priorities from emphasizing use of fossil fuels to using renewable non-pollution energy. A slight change in percentages in subsidies that the government regularly doles out can have a profound impact.

The entire smear campaign is trying to get rid of the guilt and pass the buck. As Amanda says, “Calling Al Gore a hypocrite and deciding this excuses your SUV-driving doesn’t change the facts; the planet will still fry even as your conscience is clear because you called Gore a hypocrite. Even if Al Gore were the highest carbon emitter on the planet, this would not change the truth about global warming one bit.” Many are also touting Bush’s green Crawford Ranch and claiming that he is more green than Al Gore. Well, in that case, why doesn’t Bush talk his walk? And definitely Bush can be even more ‘greener’ by talking about the green technologies he uses on his ranch. But he chooses not to. Why? Because it would be hypocritical?

Once again, the global warming issue is beyond what Al Gore chooses to do. He is simply a face to the movement that people tend to identify easily with. If the right wingnuts can attack Michael J. Fox for supporting the cause for a Parkinsons disease, then I guess I cannot expect any better from them. I guess, the attempt to find dirt on Obama hasn’t turned up anything so they are choosing to attack individuals who aren’t even running. I feel sorry for them.

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