Who's Worse — Al Gore or Bernie Madoff?

Forgotten or semi-forgotten in the hullabaloo over Al Gore netting a cool hundred million from the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera is that back in 2009 the ex-veep was on his way to being the first carbon billionaire off global warming.

It's unclear how close he came to accomplishing that goal, but it's a safe bet he didn't do badly, considering his lifestyle. (Well, this house apparently went to Tipper in the breakup.)

Whatever else he is, Gore is arguably a business genius when it comes to generating massive amounts of income from dubious enterprises and, unlike Bernie Madoff, getting away with it.

Okay, Current TV wasn't completely a scam. It was just a boring television network that hardly anybody wanted to watch. Nevertheless, when Gore and his partners sold it to Al Jazeera for 500 million they were selling the network (and its U.S. bandwidth) to a company owned by the state of Qatar, a country that derives fifty percent of its income from the one thing Al Gore supposedly most reviles -- fossil fuels. Not only that, Al Jazeera, especially in its Arabic broadcasts, excuses al-Qaeda and consistently supports Sharia law and its consequent extreme misogyny and homophobia. And, of course, opposes the separation of church and state. How very "progressive"!

If, in the words of La Rochefoucauld, "Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue," then Gore is one of the greatest "homageurs" or all time.

But does he deserve to be compared to the felonious Madoff? Well, consider this: Bernie Madoff undoubtedly did not set out to bilk a number of rich people, not to mention several not so rich and also some charities, out of their savings. He probably thought his great financial expertise was going to make them all a lot of money. It is only when his expertise deserted him, that he went down the road to perdition, failing to notify his clients of impending economic disaster, robbing Peter to pay Paul, while pretending all was well.