Yes, that's right. I said it. Should Al Gore be involved in the United States race for President, absolutely. He's a former VP of the United States and he is a citizen of the United States. But, should he be sticking his nose into the North Carolina Lieutenant Governor's Race? No, because he doesn't have to live with the results. One of the things that bothers me most about this non-endorsement is the Dellinger campaign's reliance on family contacts yet again. When Dellinger raises money out of state based on his Dad's contacts - his supporters say that is okay. When NARAL gives its endorsement to a candidate because of his family connections - his supporters say it is okay. When Hampton visits Al-frickin-Gore, we're supposed to believe its because he supported shutting down a quarry next to the Appalachian trail or because since he began running for office he has posted several press release on the OLF and coal-powered plants. We are not supposed to think that it is because his Dad worked for Clinton/Gore as Acting Solicitor General and was Gore's lawyer during the Florida 2000 fiasco - and, his supporters say that is okay.
Well, I've got news for you, it is not okay. If Al Gore wants to non-endorse someone in North Carolina then perhaps he should be honest. Perhaps he should say that he's known Hampton through his Dad for years and that he is non-endorsing him based on that interaction and the respect he has for the Dellinger family. But, to pretend that Hampton's anemic public record on climate change was the cause for this trip and photo op, well that is just beyond the pale of believability.
But, if Al Gore wanted to be really honest, he would acknowledge the candidate in North Carolina who has been working on climate change for LONGER THAN he has - Dan Besse. While no other candidate for this office has a public record on climate change going back more than a few years, Dan Besse has been serving on STATE-WIDE environmental commissions and boards since 1985. Nineteen and eight five. As Hampton's press release email says:
Before he won the Nobel Peace Prize, before he handled the 2000 election debacle with such dignity, before becoming Vice President, Al Gore was a progressive Southern public servant in the tradition of great leaders such as North Carolina's Terry Sanford.
In fact in 1985, Al Gore had just been sworn in as a Senator from Tennessee, where he would begin to talk about the environment. But, Dan Besse had already done much more, in fact Dan Besse's first role in the environmental movement came in 1978 when he became Executive Coordinator of the Conservation Council of NC. In 1978 Al Gore was a freshman Congressmen from Tennessee, that is how long Dan Besse has been right on this issue.
So, with all due respect Vice-President Gore, North Carolina will figure out who is best for North Carolina. We already have a lot of nepotism floating around in this race, I don't think we need any more. What matters in this race is having the right beliefs on the issues and having the experience necessary to carry out those beliefs. When it comes to spooning with the business industry and their PACs, Walter Dalton is the leader. When it comes to having friends in high places, the Dellinger family fits the bill. When it comes to military experience, there is only one choice, Pat Smathers. And, when it comes to the environment there is only one choice. Dan Besse.
Maybe it is just me and the fact that I was born into a struggling, coal-mining family, but I just don't see that the womb from which you sprung and the connections that go along with that is a qualification for being Lieutenant Governor.