Among the more amusing about-faces in conservative knee-jerk politics is conservative criticism of Al Gore for being a successful investor.
No, I’m not kidding.
Back in April, Gore testified to a House Energy and Commerce Committee in April — one of the committees where Gore was a shining star when he was a Member — and he ran into a challenge from Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blakburn who tried to play bad cop in grilling Gore about his investment work. Since leaving politics Gore has worked to put his money where his advocacy is, backing green industries and energy efficiency projects. Blackburn is a Republican representing Tennessee’s 7th District. Blackburn appears not to understand how cross-examination works.
In most discussions I’ve had on warming issues over the past two months, advocates for doing nothing almost always bring up Gore as as “profiteer” for investing in green businesses.
It’s as if conservatives and Republicans have forgotten how business works in a free-enterprise system, and they think that free enterprise is tantamount to communism.
T. Boone Pickens used to be a favorite witness for Republicans to call at Congressional hearings. Pickens was, and still is, a staunch advocate of free enterprise, and he advocates a lot less regulation than most Democrats want. Then Pickens’s investments, especially his vulture investments in dying companies where he’d sell off the assets and put the company out of existence, were touted by Republicans as indication that Pickens is a genius.
A hard look at Gore’s investments shows him to be nothing more than a free-enterprise advocate who leads the way in green investments. He has made huge gambles in businesses that warming skeptics claim won’t work — and his investments have tended to pay off, to the great consternation of warming do-nothings who understand markets.
This story in the New York Times suggests just how well Gore has done, and how much his leadership in investing might benefit us. It’s worth bookmarking for your next discussion on what we should do about global warming — because you know somebody will try to make it about Al Gore. It just galls the heck out of conservatives and anti-science folks that Gore is right so often, and that he is such a practitioner of the Scout Law.
Anti-pollution is good business. Reducing the dumping of poisons into the air and water makes sense, and it makes a better economy in the long run. Sometimes it makes a better economy in the short run, too. Gore stepped into the marketplace, a very capitalist act. His investments paid off, demonstrating that markets do work, and demonstrating that green business is smart business. What are Republicans and conservatives thinking in taking after Gore’s business success?
Oh — Boone Pickens? He used to have an office in Trammell Crow Tower when our offices at Ernst & Young LLP were a floor or so away. We shared elevator rides many times, and he is in person as gracious and smart as he appeared in those Congressional hearings years ago.
Maybe Republican anti-green politics is coming home to roost.