Thursday, March 22, 2007

21st-century version of the Scopes trial?

That's how Dana Milbank of the Washington Post described Al Gore's encounters with Congress yesterday on the topic of Global Warming.

I watched several clips of the hearing last night, and I think Dana outdid himself with creative writing skills for this particular piece. A few of my favorite paragraphs:
It was, in many ways, a 21st-century version of the Scopes trial. Only this time, Gore, like William Jennings Bryan a failed Democratic presidential nominee, was playing Darrow, champion of scientific thought. Inhofe was playing the Bryan character, defending his beliefs against the encroachments of foes such as the National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations and the Oscar-hoisting former vice president.

Republicans found all the fuss rather distasteful. A sour Dennis Hastert (Ill.), the former House speaker, called him "a personality and now a movie star."

"Rin Tin Tin was a movie star," Gore demurred. "I just have a slide show."

But this was no match for Gore. "The planet has a fever," he lectured Barton. "If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don't say, 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that tells me it's not a problem.' If the crib's on fire, you don't speculate that the baby is flame-retardant. You take action."

The audience laughed. Barton started reading the newspaper, then discovered he wasn't getting much support even from his own side. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) admitted he paid to see "An Inconvenient Truth." Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), implicitly rebuking flat-Earth colleagues, said: "It's possible to be a conservative without appearing to be an idiot." Barton flashed a grin of annoyance.

Then in the Senate....
Inhofe warned him that "I want the same ad-lib time that you have." When Gore didn't answer his questions succinctly enough, Inhofe ordered: "I'm going to ask you to respond for the record in writing."

"Well," said Gore, "if I choose to respond to you verbally here, I hope that'll be okay, too."

"If it's a very brief response," Inhofe directed, then declared that Gore could not answer any questions until Inhofe had finished his allotted time.

Boxer broke in. "You're not making the rules," she said, raising the gavel. "You used to when you had this." The hall filled with applause.

Despite the "show" aspect of this, what remains to be seen is will Congress actually take action....


Tim said...

I think I'm in love with Barbara Boxer now.

It was great to see the clips of the banter you listed. I enjoyed seeing Gore back in Washington again. It made me think about how awful it has been these past 6 years when he should have been president.

Hooda Thunkit said...

"Despite the "show" aspect of this, what remains to be seen is will Congress actually take action...."

And then Al woke up. It was all a dream, a very, very bad dream...

And then, Congress passed legislation outlawing global warming.

News Grinder said...

Tim, I had the same reaction. The inevitable comparison is striking and hugely saddening.