As you all know former Vice President Gore won an Academy Award for the documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”. This may not be all he has won. There seems to be a groundswell of support for the former VP, and yesterday the topic on two Sunday talk shows, Fox and This Week, each had snippets of the possibility of his return to the political arena as a candidate. Interestingly, a professor in my doctoral program briefly mentioned the former VP in wistful terms, and contemplated what would America be like had he prevailed in the controversial 2000 election.
Checklist for a Potential Run
There are several factors that give Mr. Gore some potency as a potential “Comeback Kid”. The first is that he certainly fills the bill in most of the important areas that would make him a viable candidate. If a checklist were composed to determine a candidates appeal let’s see how he “checks out”.
1. Name recognition – He certainly has that, and it is likely that his negatives have gone down.
2. Moderate appeal – He would draw many moderates and independents, particularly those who went back to Democrats in the ’06 Congressional elections.
3. Experience – Certainly his time as a Senator and VP qualify him for that.
4. Grassroots – This is developing. There is a grassroots movement, http://www.algore.org/ that has as its stated purpose to draft him to consider a run in ’08.
Trouble for the Front Runners
Although Mr. Gore has stated he has no intention to run in next Presidential election, I believe he is carefully watching the current frontrunners very closely. Certain situations, which are totally plausible could have the effect of launching a Gore in ’08 candadicy. The key situation is the developing rift between Senator’s Clinton and Obama. This is emphasized the the recent flare up over David Geffen’s comments concerning the Clintons. The potential for Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama, as well as recent flaps in Congress, particularly Rep. Murtha’s bungling of statements over Iraq policy, may create strong rifts in the Democratic Party. If this is the case, enter Mr. Gore. Gore has firmly planted himself in the mainstream of the base of the Dems by his positioning over Iraq. He has been able to be critical of policy, without having to vote on the record. This position makes him similar to Mr. Obama. Senator Clinton’s voting record, and her decision not to redress publicly her backing of the President’s decision to go to war in Iraq, are causing her campaign to be vulnerable to the left flank of the Democratic Party, and is not in line with the base – who are the primary voters. Senator Barak’s position in tenuous due to his having to take on one of the more accomplished machines in the history of modern politics. When Ms. Clinton talks about the “Politics of personal destruction”, a line she and her husband used to perfection in the past, it scores points with many people.
The Perfect Storm
The climate within the Democratic Party may be just right for this perfect political storm, and if that is the case don’t be shocked if Mr. Gore throws his hat into the ring. However, the situation would have to be perfect for him to run. After the close defeat in 2000, understandably, Mr. Gore was disheartened, and seemingly threw in the towel with regards to politics. It is impossible to know if Mr. Gore truly did lose the popular vote in Florida, however, in fairness the same could be said for New Mexico and Wisconsin due to the tremendous irregularities of both of those states in the same election. What a Gore Presidential bid would need is for the two front-runners to savage each other to the point that their candadicies are seen by the vast majority of the Democratic base and those moderate Independents who could swing towards voting Democratic in the ’08 Election as being divisive for the nation. Gore could be seen as the candidate who would keep the base happy, attract the far left of the Independents due to his “Green” policies, and who would also have appeal among some liberal Independents who would be drawn to his experience. He also has some draw to a few Moderate to Conservative Independents due to his Southern background and some of the legislation he proposed during his time in the Senate.
The truth is, a no holds barred primary for the Democratic Party will be seen very badly by the nation as a whole. The public will be reminded of the worst elements of the Clinton Presidency, and the perceptions which many Democrats and Independents have about the self-destructive nature of the Democratic Party will be brought to the forefront. Also, the likelihood of another current Democratic candidate emerging from the pack, as an instance Governor Richardson, is unlikely. Richardson, who may do well in some of the early primaries, does not have the name recognition, or the buzz of excitement that Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama and potentially Mr. Gore have with the prospects of their Presidency. Notably, the spying incidents at Los Alomos, that occurred with during Governor Richardson when he was Energy Secretary, make the Governor’s chances nill in a Presidential bid, given the correct concern over national security in a post WTC world.
The superstar power of Al Gore accorded him in last night’s Oscar win is a good amount of political coin. Don’t be surprised if he decides to cash in.