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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Not so fast.

There are a lot of people holding out hope that Al Gore will jump into the Presidential race. They have well thought out reasons to want this, and to believe it could happen. I have friends who are refusing to get involved in the 2008 nomination contest until they know what Gore intends to do. Some folks have a ticket planned out and everything.

You can count me among Al Gore fans. In fact, I'm one of the oldest Al Gore supporters. I've been fond of him since I was a kid living in Tennessee in the 1980's. I wanted him to win in 1988, I wanted him to run in 1992, I was ecstatic when he was elected VP, I campaigned for him in 2000, I was heartbroken when he "lost," I was inspired when he became a leading critic of the Bush administration, and I was eager for him to run in 2004. The only person who might like Al Gore more than me would be Dr. Brazen Hussy, who wore his campaign button for four years after he lost. As much as I like Edwards and Obama, I would dump both of them without a second thought if Al Gore got into the race.

So I get it. I'm not very good at getting over first loves either. But there is a time to move on, to realize that you can't go back to the past, that old dreams just aren't going to come true. And I think this is one of those times.

A recent article in Rolling Stone magazine lays out the clearest rationale for a Gore candidacy. In it Tim Dickinson argues that Gore combines the best elements of all the potential candidates: experience, early opposition to the Iraq War, a newly impassioned charisma, and can tap into America's (long delayed) desire to wish the Bush presidency had never happened. He could run the greatest "I told you so" campaign in American history. Dickinson believes that Gore can wait until near the end of the year to jump in, letting the other D's cut each other up while he collects Oscars and Nobel Peace Prizes.

But I don't think things would be quite so easy.

First, the press has a special hostility for Gore - he got even worse treatment than Kerry. I'm not sure why that is, but it's a fact. Second, waiting until the fall will be more difficult than the article indicates - $100 million is a lot of money to raise, many activists will already be committed, and you can't build a campaign infrastructure overnight. . Third, his support is among Democratic activists, but the numbers I've seen so far as to his support generally in the electorate (among independents and Democratic primary voters) is less impressive. Fourth, like Hillary he would find it difficult to run as a change agent. Fifth, I question the article's assumption that he would sweep the south. He's no longer the Southern Democratic champion he was in 1988. That was Mark Warner and he's not running.

Al Gore's power to shape the debate right now is conditioned on the fact that he's NOT a candidate for President. There are many in the media who believe that Gore's global warming commitments are simply a way of positioning himself for 2008. If Gore were to get in the race, those suspicions would be confirmed. As I've said before, I think Gore is using the possibility of his candidacy to force the other candidates to take strong positions on global warming. He loses the ability to do that the moment he declares his candidacy. I could be wrong, but I just don't think he's running. He was scarred by 2000, and I don't think he wants to live through that again.

Having said all this, if he does run Hussy is going to have to tie me down so I don't do something crazy like quit my job to work on his campaign. Because like I said, I never was one to get over my first loves - political or personal.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:37 AM
  • The only reason I finally stopped wearing the Gore button on election day is because it had that traitor Joe Lieberman's name on it.

    By Blogger Dr. Brazen Hussy, at 7:25 AM  
  • I'm also an Al Gore fan, and would campaign tirelessly for him. But I've got another rationale, beyond the points brought up here.

    First, Gore is a true visionary, and Americans now realize this. Gore offers vision at a time when it is in very short supply. Obama offers temperament (hope), Clinton offers prosperity (via Bill), and Edwards offers a step up for the working class and poor, but none of those candidates offers vision for the next 10-20 years. Hillary lacks vision, and that's why I hate her. Obama has charisma, but no real vision. Edwards has vision, but it only applies to the poor. Gore offers a world vision, not just a national vision. America needs him just as the world needs him if we are going to survive the catastrophe of climate change.

    Second, as you noticed, Gore won the 2000 election, but Bush stole if from him through fraud that has been well documented and replicated. The same fraud was used in 2004 against Kerry. Gore has first-hand knowledge about how broken our electoral system is, and he could sell himself as the candidate to fix it.

    Whatever happens, I'm sure that the next president, likely a Democrat, will make Gore Secretary of Energy or State. I'd be happy with that.

    By Blogger Marriah, at 1:43 PM  
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