I had heard about a two-part article Mead wrote examining why Gore is a poor leader for the environmental movement, but I only now read it. It is well worth your time.
My favorite quotation from Part I, which goes a long way to explaining the green failures:
Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.
But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.
What this tells the skeptics is that Vice President Gore doesn’t really believe the gospel he proclaims. That profits from his environmental advocacy enable his affluent lifestyle only deepens their skepticism of the messenger and therefore of the message. And when they see that the rest of the environmental movement accepts this flagrant contradiction, they conclude, naturally enough, that the other green leaders aren’t as worried as they claim to be. Al Gore’s lifestyle is a test case for the credibility of his gospel — and it fails. The tolerance of Al Gore’s lifestyle by the environmental leadership is a further test — and that test, too, the greens fail.
I’ve noted before that Mr. Bookworm’s greenism fails when we’re on vacation and someone else is paying the energy bills for his daily demand for two or three fresh bath towels. I have no problem with being cheap. I’m cheap, and therefore I conserve energy. I’m also cheap on other people’s behalf — I think its dishonest to save my money on electricity, but to waste someone else’s.
The greens have wrapped themselves up in a mantle of moral superiority, and that’s a tough garment to wear all the time. Their problem is that when they periodically cast that rigid mantle off for their own luxury or convenience, it’s pretty clear that they consider themselves so superior, they don’t even need the garb of moral superiority.