A few weeks back, Jimmy Carter cemented his place in history as Worst Ex-President Ever by publishing an anti-Israel book, which (in the words of 14 former members of the advisory board of the Carter Center) "confused opinion with fact, subjectivity with objectivity and force for change with partisan advocacy."
One of the telling incidents in that kerfuffle was Carter's refusal to debate Alan Dershowitz at Brandeis University. Dershowitz made predictable (and accurate) observations afterward in the Boston Globe:
You can always tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate.Zing! Which brings us to today:
The WSJ has an amusing (at least in part) article, written by Flemming Rose and Bjorn Lonborg, indicating that Al Gore may have observed Carter's behavior and thought: hey, good idea! Al recently travelled to Denmark to peddle the global warming gospel. Rose, who is an editor for Denmark's biggest newspaper, thought it might be a good idea to set up an interview with Gore. He also thought it would be a good idea to bring along Lomborg to the interview. Lomborg is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, widely perceived as a dissent from environmentalist orthodoxy. And then …
The interview had been scheduled for months. The day before the interview Mr. Gore's agent thought Gore-meets-Lomborg would be great. Yet an hour later, he came back to tell us that Bjorn Lomborg should be excluded from the interview because he's been very critical of Mr. Gore's message about global warming and has questioned Mr. Gore's evenhandedness. According to the agent, Mr. Gore only wanted to have questions about his book and documentary, and only asked by a reporter. These conditions were immediately accepted by Jyllands-Posten. Yet an hour later we received an email from the agent saying that the interview was now cancelled. What happened?Rose and Lomborg lack an answer to this question: "One can only speculate." It's doubtful that straightforward answers will be forthcoming from Gore or his camp. Instead, they'll be looking for softball questions from more docile interviewers.
The remainder of the article focuses on the issues Gore would have been forced to confront, had he submitted to the interview.
If the name "Flemming Rose" rings a bell, he was the one who made the call to publish the so-called "Mohammed cartoons" earlier last year. It seems that confronting religious orthodoxy of any stripe is one of his strengths.