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Many of you were fascinated to read last week that 1,200 tickets for a speech by Al Gore disappeared in 10 minutes - in Idaho. As I wrote then, the demand convinced Boise State University officials to move the former VP's January 22 address to the Taco Bell Arena.

Well guess what? When those seats went on sale Tuesday, all 10,000 were snapped up in less than five hours. Two thousand tickets were held back for Boise State students, many of whom won't be back on campus until winter break ends next week.

"I understand the tickets went faster for this than for the Elton John concert," says Garry Wenske, director of the BSU-based Frank Church Institute, which is bringing in Gore to keynote its "Global Warming: Beyond the Inconvenient Truth" conference. (The British pop star's concert last fall nearly sold out in a day - but not quite.)

The Idaho Statesman newspaper noted that Gore is a far bigger draw than Boise State's basketball team, which - forever playing in the shadow of the Fiesta Bowl-winning football team - typically has a tough time drawing more than a few thousand fans to its games at the TBA. As the paper's editorial board wrote yesterday:

That goes to show, if you'll allow the cheap and inevitable pun, that a speech on global warming can be a hot ticket.

What's going on here? This is Idaho, where Gore got less than 30% of the vote in his 2000 race against George W. Bush. Granted, he did a little better (35%) in Ada County, where Boise is located. (Boise has trended solidly Demward in the six years since; its state legislators are now all Democrats.) But still: What's behind the fascination for Gore in this ruby-red part of the country? From my Red State Rebels blog:

Wenske says the interest in Gore and his message seems genuinely nonpartisan. "When you think about global warming, it transcends everything people do," he notes, though he added that people also seem to be responding to how Gore has taken the issue "and made it his own."

As I noted there, too:

It'll be interesting to see whether people will also pack the main conference sessions, which will run  from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom (the original site for Gore's evening address). Wenske says the morning programs will focus on policy solutions to global warming, while the afternoon sessions will look at practices, including what some local companies are doing to develop and implement energy-saving solutions. "We'll bring it down to what people are doing in Idaho," Wenske adds.

Clearly, some people still view Al Gore as a dangerous man, such as the fundamentalist parent in the Seattle suburb of Federal Way who doesn't his children to view An Inconvenient Truth. (See diaries on that here and here. Isn't it funny that someone who doesn't believe in climate change is named ... Frosty?!)

But when he can attract a crowd of 10,000 people to a speech in Boise, Idaho, it's a sign that a) politically, Gore is definitely more of a rock star than he was in 2000 and b) his message on climate change is resonating across the political spectrum. Whether or not he makes another bid for the White House, Gore is helping forge bipartisan will for addressing one of the most important issues of our time.

Originally posted to Red State Rebel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:36 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good to see Al's message is (12+ / 0-)

    getting through--even in Idaho.

  •  Ya, baby! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, pat208, By The Root, TomP, kafkananda

    Way to go Al!

    In your last paragraph, there should also be a "c) Idaho is turning purple." (Thanks to the efforts of people like you, Mizz Rebel!)

    Visualize something profound here.

    by CJB on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:38:16 AM PST

  •  This is a weird statement in Idaho: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, CarterDulka, Russ Jarmusch

    "I understand the tickets went faster for this than for the Elton John concert!"

    You'd think that wouldn't be sayin' much.

    So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you. -- Mal, "Serenity"

    by exiled texan on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:40:16 AM PST

  •  And some people still think he's damaged goods. (9+ / 0-)

    However, the writing is on the wall - Gore is emerging as a strong contender for 2008... if he decides to go for it.

    December's CNN poll shows him very strong (winning or tied) against Giuliani, McCain, Romney. And he's not even a candidate at the moment.

    With this news from Boise, we may be seeing the beginning of a Gore wave. The MSM's looking for a new meme... could this be it?

    "One does not discover new lands without consenting to leave sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

    by pat208 on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:40:24 AM PST

    •  I would love to see Gore run (5+ / 0-)

      but only if he wants to.

      I think we have several strong, viable candidates on the D side.

      Let me add (as I did last week) that - even with legions of fans in the Boise area - he'd have scant chance of winning in Idaho. Then again, with four electoral votes, who cares?

      If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't ...you are wasting your time...R Clemente

      by Red State Rebel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:48:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We've got a strong field, with or without Al. (3+ / 0-)

        I agree. And I also agree that he wants to run, he should. I think he'd do well. He probably would even win... again... but actually become President this time.

        The public hasn't fully reconnected with him yet - his "negatives" are still fairly high, although I think that's mostly disappointment with his 2000 "loss." People who see him now, and get reacquainted with him, seem to be very willing to reassess. Plus, the climate change issue is coming to a boil.

        "One does not discover new lands without consenting to leave sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

        by pat208 on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:53:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and as you mention ... he won last time (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pat208, By The Root

          As the Bush presidency continues to cement its worst-ever status, that can only help people reconsider Gore.

          If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't ...you are wasting your time...R Clemente

          by Red State Rebel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:57:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you factor in the Iraq war, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JekyllnHyde, Red State Rebel, pat208

          If you factor in the Iraq war, and consider Gore's opposition to it, and weigh in what other prospects had done in the lead up to the war, on that factor alone, Gore would pull way ahead of the current field of prospects.

          You're right in that several Democrats are capable of being good Presidents, but given Gore's

          • experience with helping build a strong economy
          • executive experience
          • diplomatic experience
          • national security knowhow and grasp
          • science and technological orientation
          • firm and leading opposition to the war
          • authoritative grasp of our democratic principles
          • environment and global warming

          he comes out far ahead in almost each one of those areas. Put them together, there just is no comparison.

          Here is a great article on Gore's war speech, how the wingnuts came down hammering Gore after it:

          The Politics of Preemption

          By Sam Parry
          October 8, 2002

          George W. Bush’s doctrine of "preemptive war" – the elimination of foreign governments he deems a threat to U.S. security interests – is quickly developing a domestic corollary. Any politician who questions Bush’s strategy can expect to be confronted by a rapid-deployment force of pro-Bush operatives who counterattack using weapons of ridicule and distortion.

          ...

          In a kind of test run, this army swung onto the offensive immediately after former Vice President Al Gore on Sept. 23 delivered a comprehensive critique of Bush’s radical departure from decades of American support for international law. Rather than welcome a vigorous debate on the merits and shortcomings of the so-called "Bush Doctrine," conservative commentators treated Gore and others raising questions as dishonest, unpatriotic and even unhinged.

          Unfazed by the body blows he took, Gore once again stepped up big time when Bushco was heading towards becoming a dictatorial regime, and issued a call to the congress and the nation to rise and oppose it, and laid out specific courses of action in his MLK-Day speech: Warrantless Wiretapping, Gore's speech, and an ACTION plan

          This gentleman is a great patriot and a warrior for the public good and interest, and he should be President, and we should encourage him to make a run and stand by to help him win with a mandate.

          If the reception to him in Boise is any indication, I see no reason why we can't make this come to being.

  •  There are NO red states (7+ / 0-)

    There are deep blue states, blue states, and states waiting to be blue.

    I'll repeat:  on the ISSUES conservatives can't win a single state if people are given the information.

    •  Dave, I wish you were right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JekyllnHyde, pat208, By The Root

      But issues don't win elections here in Idaho, nor do high-quality candidates. We had ample proof of that last November.

      Outside the Boise city limits (and a few other, much smaller blue bubbles), it's all about having the R by your name. That, and $2 million from the Club for Growth.

      If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't ...you are wasting your time...R Clemente

      by Red State Rebel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:51:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And today a report that Chrysler's top (5+ / 0-)

    economist is in the global warming denialist camp.

    BBCIn response to a question from the floor, he said that global warming was a far-off risk whose magnitude was uncertain.

    He said that from an economic point of view, it would be more rational to spend lots of money on today's other big problems, and only make small and limited changes in policies relating to global warming, such as a slight increase in gasoline or carbon taxes.

    Let your local Chryler dealer know how you feel about their companies out-dated attitude.  And if your consuidering buying a Chrysler vehicle, maybe it's time to shop elsewhere.

  •  Sweeeeeeet! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petewsh61, CarterDulka

    Good on ya, Boise State! Now I have another thing to be proud of as an alumna of BSU. Red State Rebel is exactly on target about Boise turning purple... I'd say solid blue in some areas, like the North/East End where I grew up. Lots of work to do though, keep it up liberal Idaho bloggers!

    Accountability. It's what's for dinner.

    by By The Root on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:49:44 AM PST

  •  Hmmph. (5+ / 0-)
    Always knew he was a sellout...
    Oh! You mean it as a good thing!
    Cool! (If only!)

    Pelosi for President!

    by RElland on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 11:59:02 AM PST

  •  So... (5+ / 0-)

    who's gonna start the "Run, Al, run!!" chant?

    Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are...is a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

    by Sinister Rae on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:07:56 PM PST

  •  Gore for Prez in 08 (0+ / 0-)

    Im getting sick of waiting though

  •  That would make Gore a (0+ / 0-)

    rock star!

  •  Geez, only 10,000? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, javelina

    They need to get a bigger venue. :)

    But seriously, this is great news.  People (the red ones I mean) are finally waking up.  Global climate change could kill us all, we must act.

    "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war."-Mark Twain

    by coloradocomet on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:36:57 PM PST

  •  Nice Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina

    Yes, Al Gore now has the 'rockstar effect'.

    Though, is that really the best term?  He sold tickets FASTER than a Rock Star... faster than any Rock STar ever has in Boise.

    Like a Blue New Hampshire? Blue Hampshire. A progressive online community for the Granite State.

    by nhcollegedem on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:40:05 PM PST

  •  Al Gore vs. Elton John (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde

    Well, I know which one I'd rather listen to - does that make me a pencil-necked enviro-geek?

    Okay, don't answer that.

    You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

    by javelina on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:42:38 PM PST

  •  Run, Al, Run! (0+ / 0-)

    I read he's having too much fun, and making too much money, to run for the White House. But, I see it as the logical next step in his campaign to save this planet. It may seem meglomaniacal for Gore to consider that he is THAT important -- but, the truth is, he just migh be.

    "America! F*%# Yeah! Coming again to save the mother-f*%#ing day!" -- Team America

    by FischFry on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:57:17 PM PST

  •  Maybe Al Gore can announce he'll be running (0+ / 0-)

    when he's making his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards for winning the Best Documentary award.

    Wouldn't that be something? Al & Oscar.

    Tweety: "Here he is, the only commander-in-chief we have."

    by homerun on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 01:08:47 PM PST

  •  Boise is Big on the outdoors (0+ / 0-)

     You will see lots of parking lots for people to park their RV's so they can store them  and 20 miles out of town there are National forest lands which  they take the RV's for camping.  I never saw so many rv's as when I went to Boise, I was just expecting to see potato farms,  not the case!

    These are people who understand environmental impacts.

     Also, more interesting is there are a lot of Mormons in Boise, it would be interesting to understand the demographics of the attendees.

     But clearly selling that many seats, Al has stuck a chord.

    •  Also full of low-impact outdoors people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JekyllnHyde

      Boise also has been discovered by people who live to hike, mountain bike, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, kayak, fly fish etc. - all stuff you can basically do out your back door, or within 15 miles. This may well be the core Gore audience.

      Re: the RVs ... you were probably driving down Chinden Blvd in Garden City, a Boise enclave. Yes, it's wall-to-wall RV lots there, and there definitely are a lot of folks who like to RV.  

      Mormons? Yeah, there are some, but not like in Utah or eastern Idaho. I'm thinking 10% of the local population, tops. We do have a very large evangelical church, the Vineyard, that was showcased last fall on a Bill Moyers show about evangelical environmentalists. These folks, nominally GOP, may be part of the Gore audience, too.

      If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't ...you are wasting your time...R Clemente

      by Red State Rebel on Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 02:42:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CORRECTED: Gore says he has no plans to run in 20 (0+ / 0-)

    CORRECTED: Gore says he has no plans to run in 2008

    Correcting to clarify that Gore did not rule out running for president but said only he did not plan to run. Changes headlineTOKYO (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President        Al Gore said on Monday he had no plans to run in the next presidential race, despite rumors that he might build on the higher profile created by his environmental campaign to do so.

    Asked whether he planned to run in the 2008 election, Gore said: "I don't have plans to be a candidate again. I'm involved in a different kind of campaign."

    During a visit to Japan to promote his award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore also urged Japan's top business lobby to spark a policy change on global warming by sending a strong message to its U.S. counterparts.

    "The Japanese business community, because of the respect with which you are regarded, can have a powerful influence on the shaping of opinions within the U.S. business community," Gore told executives at the Keidanren (Japanese Business Federation).

    "When that changes, then U.S. policy will change," he said, urging the members of Keidanren to send the strongest possible message to big business in the United States.

    The United States withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the 2008-2012 period, saying the agreement would be harmful to the U.S. economy.

    As host of the 1997 talks that forged the protocol, the Japanese government has urged major polluters, including the United States, China and India, to work harder to combat climate change, most recently during a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Europe last week.

    Japan's own emissions of greenhouse gases amounted to 1.36 billion metric tons in the year to March 2006, up 0.6 percent on the previous year and 14.1 percent adrift of its objective to cut emissions to 6 percent below their 1990 levels.

    But Gore said that corporate Japan had a special role to play.

    "The business leadership of Japan can lead the way and lead the business community of the world," Gore said.

    "Your determination to be a part of the solution can be the key to the world successfully solving this crisis."

    More than 330 U.S. cities have endorsed the Kyoto Protocol, in a sign of grassroots support for its aims, Gore said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/...

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