I almost fell off my chair a couple of mornings ago when I spotted a front-page story in the New York Times about Al Gore’s profiteering from the stimulus package and impending climate legislation. But I quickly regained my balance after figuring out what the article was really all about.
Perhaps it is news to Times’ readers that Al Gore has made a bundle off climate alarmism — enough to put $35 million in a private equity fund that invests in a variety of green (i.e., government-dependent and taxpayer-subsidized) technology projects. But many of us clued in to Al Gore’s exploding fortune almost two years ago when Fast Money magazine first estimated Al Gore’s net worth at over $100 million — up from about $2 million when he left the White House in 2001.
Is it sour grapes or worse, un-American, to begrudge Al Gore’s success — after all, isn’t he a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit and the free enterprise system?
But the Al Gore story may not be one rooted in the ideal of a hard-worker selling for a reasonable profit a product that adds value to peoples’ lives. Gore is an eminently well-connected, long-time Washington, DC apparatchik who exploited the political career he inherited from his father to scare ordinary citizens and legislators into passing laws that profit him. Al Gore is no Horatio Alger: more a P.T. Barnum.
Insight into the rise of Al Gore’s riches-to-more-riches story begins with the conceit of his 1992 book “Earth in the Balance” — a book “catalyzed,” in Gore’s words by his son being hit by a car while walking out of a Baltimore Orioles baseball game in 1989.
Although the driver of the car was not speeding and was not cited by the police at the scene of the accident, he was later charged with speeding and failing to exercise proper precaution upon seeing a child in the road. A jury subsequently acquitted the driver, leaving the responsibility for the tragedy with Al Gore for failing to hold his young son’s hand while crossing the street. But the outstanding issue remains, why did Gore, a power Democrat Senator, allow the groundless prosecution of an innocent man proceed in Baltimore City, a powerful Democratic stronghold?
Al Gore’s green crusade of fear has since left no child unexploited — at least until a British court ruled in October 2007 that Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” could not be shown to school children without a disclaimer about the movies multiple errors which amounted to virtually 100 percent of its scientific content. When the BBC interviewed Al Gore about the decision, Gore admitted to presenting false facts because, as he explained, including uncertainty in the movie would only fuel critics.
Al Gore, apparently, will say and do anything to advance himself.
When asked by the New York Times about his profit motives, Gore only answered in an e-mail that said he was simply putting his money where his mouth is. Perhaps, but it is probably more accurate to say that he is putting his mouth where his money is ─ although he is loathe to acknowledge this fact and the Times seemingly quick to excuse him.
With incredible chutzpah, Al Gore testified before the House last spring that he has no profit motive connected with his global warming activism.
At an House hearing in April Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn) asked him about his partnernership in the mega-green venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins which has invested more than $1 billion in dozens of companies that stand to benefit from the cap-and-trade bills now in Congress. Responding, Gore brazenly asserted that he was donating every penny he made to his nonprofit (which lobbies for climate legislation), adding “And, Congresswoman, if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don’t know me.”
It was apparently “a bridge too far” for the New York Times reporter to notice that Gore’s House testimony is entirely inconsistent with Gore’s e-mail to the Times.
At the same House hearing, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise asked Al Gore about Gore’s business interests with Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse that also stands to reap windfall profits from climate legislation.
But Gore made facial gestures that seemed to imply he had never even heard of Goldman Sachs and then said that he had no business relationship with the firm. But forgetting about the fact that one of Gore’s investment firm partners is a Goldman Sachs alumnus — and once you’re from Goldman Sachs, you’re always from Goldman Sachs — Gore’s Kleiner Perkins single largest investment is in a firm called Terralliance, a firm whose other major investor is Goldman Sachs.
The grand irony here is that during Gore’s exchange with Rep. Scalise, Gore accused the fossil fuel industry of lying for 14 years to Scalise and the American people about global warming. As it turns out, Terralliance, an oil driller, is part of that fossil fuel industry.
It is said that Horatio Alger’s heroes gain wealth and honors and achieve the American Dream by “leading exemplary lives, struggling valiantly against poverty and adversity.” Were there Horatio AlGore stories, in contrast, they would be filled with tales of ruthless exploitation of innocents, lies, hypocrisy and gross profiteering.