Al Gore, Where Art Thou?

Remember last summer when you couldn’t turn on any TV channel without seeing Al Gore in all his glory — telling you the earth is in a planetary emergency — requiring an aggressive response from the federal government?

Throughout 2007, Gore went wire-to-wire — testifying in front of Congress, presenting a Grammy or doing a victory lap with his Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize. No one in the liberal media could seem to get enough of the former vice president.

But since accepting his Nobel Prize back in October, the left’s most tragic figure of the last decade has been conspicuously quiet as one of the mostly hotly debated Democratic presidential races in history has unfolded.

In the midst of his Live Earth Concert Series publicity tour back in July 2007, remember the seven concerts on seven continents that were supposed to put climate change at the forefront of political dialogue. Gore had higher aspirations than what has come to fruition. He told NBC “Today” co-anchor Meredith Vieira that if he did his job correctly, all the presidential candidates would make the issue of climate change their top issue.

Nothing of the sort has happened.

The scientists aren’t “virtually screaming from the rooftops now.” The discussion didn’t even get started. In the last two Democratic debates, with all the hoopla CNN and MSNBC, not a single question was asked about a carbon cap-and-trade system, the plight of the polar bear or the penguin or any other doomsday scenario implying the planet is in a climate crisis.

It couldn’t be more timely. The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, a conference of scientists and public policy professionals analyzing the climate change issue, will be held in New York City March 2-4 — just in time for the final battles for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Even Franklin Foer, editor of the left-wing The New Republic, noted Gore’s absence in the stages of the campaign leading up to the Iowa caucus. He pointed out to an audience in January at Politics & Prose Bookstore/Coffeehouse, a liberal haunt in Washington, D.C., that he was surprised that neither John Edwards nor Barack Obama had cozied up the former vice president. He said a Gore endorsement would have been enough at the time to put either candidate in front — well on their way to Denver for the nomination.

But let’s suppose for a moment that Hillary Clinton had decided to play the climate change card. Imagine Clinton going in front of blue-collar workers in Ohio today, where according to almost every media outlet, the economy is the issue that is front and center. Clinton did try to give the economy a “green” spin at the Democratic debate in Cleveland on Feb. 26, but not very convincingly.

“I helped to pass legislation to begin a training program for green-collar jobs,” Clinton said. “I want to see people throughout Ohio being trained to do the work that will put solar panels on roofs, install wind turbines, do geothermal, take advantage of biofuels — and I know that if we had put $5 billion into the stimulus package to really invest in the training and the tax incentives that would have created those jobs as the Democrats wanted, as I originally proposed, we would be on the way to creating those.”

The people of Ohio have to feel better about their personal finances after hearing that. After all, Ohioans have been knocking each other over all the way from Toledo to Cincinnati for more solar panels, wind turbines and ethanol.

But, since Clinton’s strategy now is to tout her ability to offer substance over the style of Obama, she hasn’t quite pulled it off with the issue of the economy. Imagine if she had her feet held to the fire and had to explain to a crowd in a state that has lost 23 percent of its manufacturing jobs since 2000 that she is going to save their economy with these “green-collar” jobs.

We can dream, can’t we? Unfortunately for Clinton, no one’s buying it.

According to a Nov. 11, 2007 editorial in The Washington Times, if a bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) were signed into law, every man, woman and child in the United States, more than 303 million people would be responsible for $494 a year. And that bill is much milder than any global warming regulation Gore would impose on the American people.

Obama and Clinton have battled back-and-forth over NAFTA, the 1994 trade agreement signed into law under Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. Obama claimed that agreement cost Ohioans 50,000 jobs in a recent speech. However, neither has seemed very willing to step up and go in front these same people and explain to them the importance of giving up even more jobs to overseas countries in the name of battling anthropogenic climate change — something an agreement like the Kyoto Protocol would likely cause.

So, where has that media darling Al Gore been throughout the late stages of this Democratic presidential campaign? Why has he been conspicuously out of the country — last reported seen in the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland by a Swiss newspaper on February 26?

If I had to venture a guess, it’s because he’s not careless enough to try ramrod the issue of global warming down Democratic primary voters’ throats when he knows his policy ideas are a losing issue for the American economy. It’s just a crying shame he’s not been out there peddling this “all-important cause” when Democratic voters are really paying attention and doing their homework.