Hey Al Gore: It's not your choice, dude

Steve Novick

According to today's New York Times, Al Gore has, in his own words, "no interest in running for office."

I have four words for Mr. Gore: Not your choice, dude.

Gore has no right not to run. And he should know that.

Nothing's changed since I last addressed this topic, whenever it was, six months ago or so.

Gore is the only Democrat with the stature to beat the warmongering, First-Amendment-shredding front-runner. (Does everyone know that Hillary Clinton supported a Constitutional amendment to outlaw flag-burning? To me, that's at least as bad as the war. The fact that Americans have the right to burn the flag is one of the things that makes that flag worth flying.) I have great affection for John Edwards, and will support him if Gore does not run - but he'd have a tough row to hoe against Hillary.

Only an anti-war Democrat has a real rationale to win the Presidency, especially against John McCain. A pro-war Democrat will spend the election twisting him or herself into Kerry-like knots on the topic, and will lose.

But among anti-war Democrats only Gore has the experience, reassuring familiarity, West Wing credibility that Americans will require in these dangerous times. Americans don't like the war, but they're still worried about terror. They'll want someone who they think understands that dangerous world out there. Faced with a Feingold, or maybe even an Edwards, many will think: "I agree on the war but who is this guy, really? I'm not sure he has the stuff to keep me safe. So I'm better off sticking with warmongers, they might be wrong but at least they'll stand up to the terrorists." With Gore - as with Nixon in that other time of troubles, 1968 - they get someone they have reason to think knows what he's doing.

So Gore's the only Democrat who can win. That alone makes it immoral - yes, Al, immoral - for him to refuse to run. But wait, there's more.

Did I say nothing has changed in the past six months? I lied. One thing has changed: Al Gore's issue, the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, has gained new prominence ... and so has Al Gore. Global warming is on the cover of Time. Gore's new movie is the toast of Cannes. Gore himself was on three magazine covers last month. The front page of today's Times is about the debate within the coal industry about whether new plants should be built to accomodate the possibility of capturing carbon dioxide.

The moment is here, waiting for someone to seize it. I'm not saying that global warming will be the first issue on people's minds, in any poll. But it's a plausible issue. You won't be laughed off the stage for talking about it.

But does Al Gore think that any other possible President has the vision and the will to seize this moment, to do the right thing before it is too late? He can't possibly. John McCain used to care about global warming ... before he started Saxtonizing himself, selling his soul in pieces to the right wing. And if Hillary Clinton is a coward on the war, and a traitress on the First Amendment, why should we expect anything else when it comes to global warming?

Gore needs to listen to his own speeches. He says passivity on global warming is immoral. Then is it not also immoral, deeply immoral, to be the one man who might be in a position to stop it - and to refuse? He says this is a matter of political will, and that political will is a renewable resource. But actual individual human beings have to have and to exercise that political will. And in America, to achieve anything of great moment, the President of the United States is the one who has to have it, and exercise it. It took Woodrow Wilson to adopt an income tax. It took FDR to pass the minimum wage and Social Security. It took Lyndon Johnson to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. And in the years 2009 to 2013, it is virtually certain that the President of the United States will not have the political will to take real action on global warming - unless that President is Al Gore.

This is Memorial Day weekend. This weekend, we honor men and women who died for their country. They did not want to die. Many literally had no choice: they were drafted. Does not Al Gore see the irony, on this of all weekends, of saying that he refuses to make a much smaller sacrifice?

I believe Al Gore when he says he does not want to run. I don't care. This is not about you, Al. This is about your country, and your planet.

Not your choice, dude.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    C'mon, everybody, Gore's going to run, he's dying to run, but if he were to even give a shadow of a hint that he might, maybe, run, he'd have the wrath of all the Right Wing against him NOW, and for the next few years, not to mention the Clintonistas.

    Nah, he's just kickin' back and playin' it cool with all of this good, positive publicity, at least until after the midterms in November, because he knows that once he does declare, not only will he be the instant front-runner over even Hillary, but he'll have all the netroots, and much of the grassroots, behind him. Instantly.

    I predict, depending on what happens in the midterms, that he'll declare next Spring or even Summer, but not before. The longer he waits, the better for him.

    Let him lay low and build up credibility and goodwill with the general population, because you can believe that the Right Wing will do everything to smear him, nonstop, 24/7, including the complicit media, once he's back in the ring.

  • Levon (unverified)

    In the television age, will Americans get behind a re-run?

    Presidential elections often seem to be about which candidate represents the antithesis of the last person (kind of like your choice for a romantic partner).

    Bush is incompetent, inarticulate, and was fed by a silver spoon - former Virginia Governor Mark Warner could be the anti-Bush. He's competent, fairly articulate, and a successful entrepreneur.

    He might be a good transition until we can elect Barney Frank, Bernie Sanders, or Russ Feingold.......real progressives. Or perhaps that's 2024?

  • verasoie (unverified)

    The question to be answered in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination is, who can beat Hillary?

    Warner, yes, would be better than Hillary in the general, I believe, but I don't know how he'd even come close to competing against her in the primary because he's DLC and there's no way he can strip away financial supporters from her.

    I only see others having a chance against Hillary if Gore manages to clear the field but remaining coy for a long time. However, egos being what they are, it's probably more likely that the oft-cited pols will declare nonetheless (Biden, Bayh, Richardson, Vilsack, etc. ... I'd include Feingold too but have too much respect for him to lump him together with those guys).

    I still say it's Hillary or Gore, and don't see who else can top her.

  • (Show?)

    Yup - it's all about who can beat Hillary.

    Seems to me that in an six, seven, or eight-candidate race in which she's got 3-5 times as much money as any of the others, it's a near impossibility to beat her in a Democratic primary.

    So, the question is: who has the national name recognition - and more importantly, grassroots support - that he or she doesn't need as much money to beat her?

    Seems there's only one: Al Gore.

    Steve's right.

  • LT (unverified)

    As someone who supported Gore back in 1988,having watched Al over almost 2 decades (and having met him and 2 other members of his family), I have a large concern. Will a Gore supporter please explain this conundrum:

    Seems like Al gives better speeches when he is NOT running for president, and gets too wooden and humorless (loses much of his attractive speaking style) when he IS running for president.

    I also agree with the person who said that anyone speculating on 2008 before we know the results of 2006 needs to have their friends stage an intervention and have them sent to rehab.

    Besides, I fail to see how Democrats gain the White House in 2008 by saying now "Your only choices for 2008 are Hillary or an anti-Hillary like Kerry or Gore" as if no one else is allowed to run.

    There are several interesting governors who might run, some current senators, and others like Edwards and Gen. Clark.

    I think we should have an open debate and NOT a frontloaded primary season and see who does the best job actually collecting delegates.

    We don't know what this country/world will be like for the 2008. Debating now whether Gore should be nominated is like choosing the 2004 nominee by June 2002, or the 1992 nominee by June 1990. Just doesn't seem realistic to me.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    LT, I agree with you, and think many others may, that it's premature and self-defeating to decide now who gets the nomination (and I think I alluded to this in my post where I said that the timing of Gore's declaration of candidacy will depend on the results of the midterms).

    However, I think the point of this thread is that Gore should run. Not that he necessarily should nor will be the nominee, but should run because of the effect it'll have on the race.

    We need someone credible to oppose Hillary, and he's that person. Perhaps he can clear the field for someone else, like Warner or Feingold (though I highly doubt that they could capitalize on his candidacy), but in any case, he should run.

    That being said, I still predict it'll be Gore or Hillary, as I don't see how anyone else can topple her.

    However, there were some great points in the last discussion (linked in the original post), particularly by Chuck Butcher, about how Gore is perceived by rural America. I'd like to see how his stance on certain polarizing issues might have evolved over time (i.e. guns), in the aftermath of Dean's (and other) candidacy which showed that Dems can be pro-gun.

  • Daniel K (unverified)

    I agree that this shouldn't be entirely up to Gore. I see this like serving your country when your country calls you to serve. The country is calling Al, you cannot ignore that.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    p.s. Since we're prognosticating, I predict that he'll have his hands full with McCain in 2008 (I don't think Frist nor Giuliani have a chance at the nomination, though maybe Allen) but will beat him narrowly, though in 2012 it'll be...


    Jeb! I can only imagine the satisfaction he'd get at manhandling another Bushie, though perhaps Jeb would wait until 2016.

  • (Show?)

    Count me as someone who isn't on the "Hated Hillary is impossible to beat bandwagon". Love them or hate them, Iowa activists (the ones who actually show up for Democratic caucuses) like their candidates to be electable.

    That's what torpedoed Dean in 2004. Not lack of money (he had plenty), bad campaign staff (they were adaquate), or some fatal personality flaw (most people like him tremendously). The thing that killed Dean was that, in the estimation of the activists, Kerry would put more States in play than he would.

    Has anything changed for 2008? My answer is a big fat no.

    Hillary isn't going anywhere. The south and midwest won't even consider voting for her in the general election. Everyone knows this. Iowa activists do especially. So not all the millions of dollars in the world spent in ads will get them to change their minds.

  • (Show?)

    I agree, it's not about whether he'd win but if he should step back into politics and run again. If he says he's made up his mind not to run, then it's up to people to change his mind.

    This could be done in a variety of ways including writing letters to the editor of papers where it might get his attention. Of course we are talking about next year after the midterm elections have finished.

    LT made a good point about Gore giving better speeches when he wasn't running for president then when he is. The only answer I can think of is that now he has been away from running for office for awhile he's had a chance to relax. The question is: Can he give the same kind of speeches when (and if) he runs?

    I am very uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton's positions on a number of issues. Before 9/11 I would have gladly supported her, but now you couldn't pay me a million dollars to voter for her.

  • CLP (unverified)

    If Gore doesn't really want to run, then he should stay out of the race.

    The last thing I want is for some Democrat to be pressured to run, win the nomination, and do a mediocre job campaigning in the general election because their heart isn't in it.

    Unless Gore's heart is in it, he won't be the best candidate.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    I have four words for Mr. Gore: Not your choice, dude. Gore has no right not to run. And he should know that.

    I believe Al Gore when he says he does not want to run. I don't care. This is not about you, Al. This is about your country, and your planet.

    You know, reading the comments on Blue Oregon on about every topic, I've realized why I as a progressive am getting so turned off by the kind of people who call themselves "progressive" in Oregon and the NW. It is the fundamental cluelessness combined with a truly offensive self-centeredness.

    So I'm just dumbfounded at the audacity but genuinely curious, what in the hell makes those of you who share Novick's view think Gore owes you anything? And note here, that as far as I can tell, no one died and left you spokesperson for the country or the planet.

    If we do want Gore to represent us (and I'm divided on that, I'd much prefer a Feingold than a Gore), then progressives in this state, region, and across the country had better start a real movement to change the dialog in this country. I happen to believe that a working majority supports progressive values from affordable and accessible health care, economic opportunity, and defending to civil rights. I've seen little on this blog that even I, as a progressive, want to identify with because most of it comes across as just plain loopy.

    And having family who are working class who live in the heartland and the south, I can say that at least from what I personally hear from those parts of the country, most of Butcher's views that one poster references are pretty much the loopy Libertarian-leaning rural west counterpart to the loopy progressive urban west comments that Butcher generally eschews. (Remember, Dean and Feingold were both elected in rural states whose voting population value God, guns, and guts just as much as any Oregonian.)

    Overall, this is amongst the most juvenile posts I have yet to read on Blue Oregon, and that is saying something.

  • (Show?)

    first of all, Dean's campaign was killed by a combination of twisted MSM coverage, backstabbing from "fellow" Dems, and Trippi's failure to have a clue about Iowa.

    second, anyone who was excited by Gore's 2004 speech in NYC, on behalf of MoveOn, knew that that was the Al Gore who should have been running in 2000. if we can get that Gore in 2008, he'll win easily. Dems, and left-leaning indies, are so hungry for that kind of candidate; look at the excitement Dean stirred by doing nothing more than speaking up boldly and without apology. Gore can win if he runs with the same passion he's been showing as a non-candidate.

    third, it was 8 years after his defeat (quite possibly due to Daley rigging the vote in Illinois) that Nixon won -- succeeding an unpopular war president. Gore, also robbed of his real victory and with an unpopular war president in office, can do a Nixon (but without the psychotic paranoid insane war monger bit)

  • (Show?)

    Steven wrote, Hillary isn't going anywhere. The south and midwest won't even consider voting for her in the general election. Everyone knows this. Iowa activists do especially.

    Agreed - but Iowa will be a nonfactor in 2008 if Tom Vilsack runs. Sort of like '92, when Harkin ran.

    As for AQ1, who wrote, as far as I can tell, no one died and left you spokesperson for the country or the planet.

    Welcome to opinion commentary, pal. No one put Steve Novick in charge of the world (though that wouldn't be a bad thing), but neither did he claim to speak for you, me, and everyone else on the planet. He wrote a column expressing his personal opinion, just as he's entitled to do.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Welcome to opinion commentary, pal. No one put Steve Novick in charge of the world (though that wouldn't be a bad thing), but neither did he claim to speak for you, me, and everyone else on the planet.

    I get tired of how semantic quibbles are frequently used in these times to deflect substantive criticism.

    Clearly, statements like those I quoted, e.g. Gore has no right not to run. And he should know that. and This is not about you, Al. This is about your country, and your planet, as well as a few others I haven't quoted, didactically assert that Gore has some kind of universal obligation to set the course of his life in a particular direction.

    Admittedly, such an unartful expression of opinion probably is just due to a lack of perspective and experience. For all I know, Novick may be a great person with deep insight. The issue that I chose to comment on, however, is that surely there can be no less successful, and no more offputting, electoral strategy for "progressives" than to imperiously lecture candidates and voters as to what they should or shouldn't do, much less claiming to be doing it on behalf of the country and planet.

  • (Show?)

    aq1, are you serious? You're huff-huffing about someone responding in a glib manner on a comment thread for this piece? When you wrote that Novick is "imperiously" lecturing the potential candidate, did you notice that the piece's title is "Hey Al Gore: It's not your choice, dude"? Imperious? Really?

    Of course, there's is always the chance that you're right and when Gore checks in here at BlueOregon -- which I'm sure he does on a regular basis, particularly on these long holiday weekends -- he may take such offense at Novick's hectoring tone that he will just take his big, blue marble and go home.

  • (Show?)

    For all I know, Novick may be a great person with deep insight.

    Yup, he sure is.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Loopy Libertarian leaning rural west? Jeeze ASK, for all the alliteration, you seem to be happy to change your ground. The last argument we had, you seemed to think I was a Communist leaning loon. Really now, I make a rotten Libertarian. A civil libertarian maybe...

    Al and Hillary both annoy me. I don't think either one will make the electoral college cut, I'd much rather vote for somebody who not only could win, but wouldn't add flames to the divisiveness currently in vogue. That doesn't require a run to the middle. Chuck

  • (Show?)

    Mr. Dynamic might run again if he's overwhelmingly drafted by Dems across the country? Hillary is seriously polarizing with bags of cash to fund her loss. Her efforts to run in the middle smack of sheer voter manipulation, authentic she ain't. Kerry needs to give it up. Finegold and Clark score high on the blog polls at Daily Kos until Gore is factored in, then it's all Gore. Members of Congress have never been so unpopular. Dems sit back watching and waiting for the 2006 elections. Republicans are rebelling against White House control at last....stay tuned.

  • askquestion1st (unverified)

    Chuck -

    You're an interesting character, to be sure, and I certainly enjoy many of your comments. But to be fair, the last major debate I actually joined with you was about immigration. I think I pretty clearly took issue with views that were much more of a piece with the "get 'em out of here" crowd more common in the SW (don't see how that would be interpreted as "Communist leaning"), than with those of Humane Borders whose views I tend more towards.

    Kari -

    I just fail to see how this speaks to the arrogance of a piece about the cosmic obligations Novick believes one person has, and how it was his job to speak for the rest of us.

    darrelplant -

    The point I was making, and that you missed completely, is how the viewpoint and tone of this piece is hardly the best way for "progressives" to win friends and influence voters. Novick's electoral successes are not exactly legion, and his most recent "success" gave us a governor who has hardly been progressive, or particularly interested or competent, in defending Democratic values.

  • Karl Rove (unverified)

    My plan is working....If only I get it launched before I'm jailed.

    Hillary is unstop-able. The only thing that can stop her is Hillary. Yep, that's why I am helping fund her run (who really talked Rupert Murdock to back her? Of course it was me!), so that she will have 10 times the money all other candidates have combined. Then she will spend it on getting her more exposure (as if she needed name recognition). She will be as overexposed as Michael Jackson was after Thriller and Beat It back in the 80s.

    When America gets over $1 Billion (my goal, aren't I sick? Yes, I am really that bad!) worth of Hillary ad time, even liberals will puke. Then any Republican in the race will win with only minimal Bush bashing (of course my guy will have to trash the current buffoon on some policy issues, his ratings will still be quite low), but he/she (I am still working Condi, but she is still playing hard to get) will look great against Hillary. Please leave Al out of it. I have a Plan B if you are successful, but it isn't as good.

  • Virgin progressive (unverified)

    "Let him lay low and build up credibility and goodwill with the general population"


    I'm new to this, but if he is laying low how can he be building credibility with the general population?

    I can't imagine he has a prayer of winning and Republicans would welcome his attempt.

    He's yesterday's news and will only dramatize the notion that Democrats have nothing new to offer.

    Especially when the full steam of the camapaigns and conventions get underway. It's the perfect recipe to repeat the Bush-Kerry race.

  • JR (unverified)

    Steve Novick Rocks! What a wonderful article.

    Al Gore has NO RIGHT NOT TO RUN. The country needs him. People are behind him. We can do it Al. Show us the way!

    Quotes from Al Gore:

    "I personally have the energy and the drive and the ambition to make another campaign - Al Gore, 12/15/02

    "Never give up on what you believe in. Never give up on your vision for the future. And as Churchill also said: Never, never, never give up." - Al Gore, 04/13/02

    "Some have asked whether I have any regrets, and I do have one regret: that I did not get the chance to stay and fight for the American people over the next four years, especially for those who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you and I will not forget." - Al Gore, 12/13/2000

  • coastdemo (unverified)

    For the record - there are going to be numerous canidates and the primary will sort it out. Biden is going to run. Edwards was on 60 minutes definitely sounding like a canidate. Dodds I think is running. There will be 8 or 9 initially. There isn't anyone with a lock on the nomination including Senator Clinton. That's what makes it fun.

  • (Show?)

    Coastdemo... Let's talk about the field fifteen months from now...

    Let's assume that Hillary Clinton is running, and that she'll hit Labor Day 2007 with $100 million. (She's at $35m now.)

    Let's assume that Mark Warner, John Edwards and John Kerry are all running, and they'll each have $15-20 million by then. (Right now, Warner is at $3m, Kerry is at $4m, and Edwards - I don't know.)

    Out of Russ Feingold, Tom Vilsack, Chris Dodds, Evan Bayh, Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, Wesley Clark, and Bill Richardson - pick any four of the eight, and assume that each will have $5-7 million. The rest either won't be in the race, or will be under $2 million.

    Give me a scenario that doesn't end with Hillary Clinton with the nomination. (Short of a complete self-inflicted implosion.)

    Now add Al Gore, and assume that on Labor Day 2007, he has zero money - and announces that he's running after all.

    It's still a tall order, but I think he's the only one that can be that far behind in the money race four months out - and still beat Hillary.

  • LT (unverified)

    I agree with coastdemo.

    But I'll also bet there are very few families who spent this Memorial Day weekend discussing who will run in 2008.

    It is not necessary at the end of May 2006 to predict what will be happening 1 or 2 years from now.

    BUT, it might be interesting in Dec. 2007 to Google Hillary Clinton here on Blue Oregon and see whose predictions came true.

    I doubt anyone in 2003 predicted John Edwards would do so well in 2004 Iowa, be the last candidate standing in opposition to Kerry, and become the VP nominee.

    Or, maybe Kari has a crystal ball and in December 2007 there will be Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and some of the others mentioned above.

    However, I don't think money is destiny. If someone had enough money to run commercials every hour on the hour but said something dumb, does that candidate win the nomination? What if the candidate with the most money was eclipsed by a dark horse candidate who inspires people the way McCain did in 2000 and Dean did in 2004? I am not convinced that the person with the money collects the most delegates. I still think voters have a role in that process.

    But what do I know--my involvement in a presidential campaign (candidate won 59% in Oregon primary but was not nominated) was over 20 years ago.

  • (Show?)

    However, I don't think money is destiny

    I agree completely LT. You need to have the most money and and want it so bad that you'll whore yourself out to anyone who waves a few hundred thousand dollars in your face.

    When Rupert hearts Hilary, it's time to get off of the damned bus and stay off at least until after the '08 primary.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    "Americans don't like the war, but they're still worried about terror."

    That's something to keep in mind, but will such a candidate be supported by those who cheer wildly when someone like Michael Moore says, "There is no terrorist threat?"

    Bob Tiernan

  • (Show?)

    Am I the only one who thinks Hillary's support is a mile wide and an inch deep?

    Personally, I've vote third party before voting for Hillary. I certainly wouldn't vote for her in the Democratic Primary. I think Hillary lost the support of a lot of women when she stayed with her husband during the Lewinsky thing.

    This is probably going to bring the wrath of Blue Oregon down on me, but I lost all respect for Hillary when she made the decision to stay with her husband in the White House after that very public humiliation. It demonstrated to me that she was willing to do anything...ANYTHING..to be in and around power.

    Strong, self-sufficient women don't stay with men (IMO) who cheat on them and have it publicly rubbed in their faces without a very good reason. I'm not Hillary and I don't live in her shoes..but as someone looking from the outside in, it sure looks like she's did it for the power.

    If she's willing to compromise herself in that way, she'll compromise anything.

  • (Show?)

    t.a. barnhart:Dean's campaign was killed by a combination of twisted MSM coverage, backstabbing from "fellow" Dems, and Trippi's failure to have a clue about Iowa

    This statement is a classic example of what separates Deaners from Deaniacs. Deaniacs think it was all a big macro conspiracy to bring down Howard. Deaners, on the other hand, know that: 1) Dean wasn't treated any worse than Democrats typically are (which is terrible in today's plutocratic media), 2) you tend to get competition with your "fellow" Democrats in a primary unless you're the elected incumbant, and Trippi may have been clueless about grassroots organizing, but grassroots are not so nearly as stupid as people here in BlueOregon (a grassroots discussion site) might believe.

    Kari is right in that a Vilsack candadacy might suck some of the inevitability out of the Iowa primary, because everyone knows the hometown favorite will win - even if he doesn't have a prayer elsewhere. But it still remains more important than people think. In that scenario, who comes in second and third will have the bragging rights. And super-Tuesday will kill Hillary's candadacy once and for all.

    All that said. If electoral considerations didn't apply, who do people think would be the best candidate for the job? Consider everything, including their positions, moral sense, ability to sway votes and voters, etc.

  • (Show?)

    Am I the only one who thinks Hillary's support is a mile wide and an inch deep?

    Maybe not an inch deep, but it's at least 30% of the Democratic primary electorate. To become the Democratic nominee, she doesn't need to win a majority of Democratic primary voters -- she just needs to finish first in a large field.

    Maybe I'm wild-ass wrong, but I think the only way to beat Hillary is to clear the field quickly. The question before us is: which of the discussed candidates can do that? And do it without any money?

    (And to those who think campaign budget doesn't matter - I wish you were right. I really do. But it does. Ask President Harkin or President Gephardt.)

  • LT (unverified)

    As a friend of someone who worked on the Harkin campaign, I am not sure that if Tom had the biggest budget he would have won. Tom is a great guy (I still relish the time I met him in 1984), but was he what voters were looking for? Or was he preaching "old time religion" (as Gephardt did in 2004) and voters were looking for something new?

    All that said, my preferences so far are Wes Clark and John Edwards, whose email newsletters I get.

    Whether the press would take any of the issues in those newsletters seriously is something I don't believe a huge budget would change.

  • (Show?)

    but was he what voters were looking for?

    True, true, true.

  • (Show?)

    As to lecturing people about their duty to their country, I plead guilty and note for the record that I have company. A guy who was an ambiguous President but a hell of a speaker once said: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." People didn't think that was an arrogant sentiment; they thought it was a thrilling call to service. I might not be as articulate as JFK (or Ted Sorenson), and it's true that the odds that Al Gore will actually read anything I write are about one in a million, but if he did, I'd like to think he might be mildly inspired by my lecture and amused by the tag line. By the way, Eisenhower didn't really want to run, but he responded to pressure, and in many ways was a hell of a President. Peace, prosperity and all that.

  • Penny (unverified)

    Steve -- are you seriously comparing your address to Al Gore to JFK's address to the country? Or is this another one of those ironic things I don't get?

  • (Show?)

    Nothing ironic about it. I am responding specifically to askquestions1st by citing JFK for the proposition that there is nothing wrong with reminding people that they have obligations to their country. If political leaders can remind us that we have an obligation to serve our country, we can remind them of the same. Can't we? Quoting JFK in support of my point doesn't make me Dan Quayle, I don't think.

  • Penny (unverified)

    If political leaders can remind us that we have an obligation to serve our country, we can remind them of the same. Can't we?

    JFK didn't presume to tell Americans how to serve their country. A critical distinction, I think.

  • Karl (unverified)

    Great post Steve.

    If Al Gore would be offended by your post, he sure isn't the guy I believe he is.

    I had thought that if Hillary won the primary, I would have to hold my nose and vote for her. But now, since she's buddied up with Murdoch, I don't believe she would change course enough on things that matter to make a hill of beans worth of difference and I'd probably wind up voting green. I sure could support Gore, but I would be a little worried about him trying to play to the middle and losing his heart and strength again. I think Wesley Clark would be a great candidate too, especially against McCain.

  • Al Article (unverified)

    Last week's issue of New York Magazine had Al as the main story in "The Comeback Kid":


  • (Show?)


    Didn't Dean have a similarly large lead in the money race?

    The goal is to have sufficient funds in place to make a credible run through the first month of the primaries, and have a well-staffed ground team in place to be able to process the blizzard of donations that will come in after a better-than-expected finish (or win) in Iowa or New Hampshire.

    So here is your scenario: Edwards once again shows his magic in face to face encounters with Iowa caucus voters. His trial lawyer resume is finally exposed for what it is: a long career dedicated to helping the downtrodden fight large rapacious insurance companies and incompetent medical providers. His "two Americas" theme resonates even more strongly in 2008 as income inequalities expand and tax cuts hammer the middle class.

    Meanwhile, Hillary runs an impersonal media campaign with one message: she is the presumptive nominee and so you should vote for her.

    Edwards finishes a close second in Iowa, wins New Hampshire, and finishes her off in the South.

    So can you tell who my horse is...? :-)

  • LT (unverified)

    Paul, Thanks for the scenario.

    It is possible to have all the money and establishment support in the world and fall flat in primaries. Or have a surging dark horse contest the "inevitable" nominee.

    Yes, I like Edwards, too. Bill Clinton didn't just win because he was a Southern governor. He also had a life story with a childhood which was closer to those of the voter than Kerry or Gore.

  • (Show?)

    For what it's worth, Republican Frank Luntz has done an analysis of the 2008 Dem field and had this to say about Edwards:

    Of the nine candidates we tested, none began with positives and expectations as high as former Senator John Edwards. And none fell farther as fast. John Edwards has the potential to be the sleeper candidate in 2008. He comes to this race with a lot of good will and fond memories. But he also comes to this race with Democratic opponents who are more engaging, more exciting and more original than he is. And those comparisons combined with the overall desire for something new might mean disaster for him.

    Personally, I'd like to see Gore run because he'd make the best President. The political and campaign considerations are legitimate, but God knows that Democratic primary voters don't have the best track record of predicting who's the most "electable." I think we're likely to get the strongest nominee if voters don't overthink this too much and just cast their ballots for the nominee they'd most like to see in the White House.

    The two arguments that keep coming up about a Gore candidacy are 1) which Gore will show up in 2008? 2) if he'd only talked more about the environment in 2000 he'd have won.

    A better question is, which media will show up in 2008? Gore didn't run as strong of a race as he should have in 2000, but the truth is he ran a better race than most remember. The media decided early on that the larger narrative was going to be Gore-as-serial-exagerator or that he couldn't just be trusted. Everything he said came to voters through a pretty hostile media filter. At the same time, Bush was given a pass by many in the press corp or at worst, faced the relatively benign narrative: he's just a dopey regular guy.

    Gore did talk about global warming during the campaign -- including in TV spots -- but the press barely covered it. Sure, if a voter searched really hard they could read about Gore's environmental agenda, but how many everyday voters are going to be combing the foreign papers for domestic political coverage?

    The postive coverage Gore's enjoying now -- and he's earned it with this remarkable effort (I just read the book last night) -- would surely go away the moment he ran. However, I do think he's likely to be given more of a fair shake by the media in 2008, and undoubtably would be a better candidate.

    The next Presidiential race needs to be a debate over big issues -- and Gore's the best to articulate a responsible environmental policy, strong national defense (without eroding our civil liberties), fighting terrorism and root causes of terrorism, and an economy which truly works for working families. We're not a pro-war party, and nominating a pro-war Dem I think makes us look weak.

    Gore's the one. With or without Hillary in the race.

  • (Show?)

    Quoting JFK in support of my point doesn't make me Dan Quayle, I don't think.

    Steve Novick, you are no Dan Quayle.

    I don't think we'll see the return of the wooden Al Gore. All his life (prior to '00) he'd played by the rules as a golden boy, with the ultimate hoop being a run for the presidency. He lost (well, sort of.) There's a freedom that comes from failing and being released from the obligation to be perfect, to have no black marks on your record. This new Al Gore was waiting to burst out. He won't unlearn that just like you don't forget how to ride a bike.

  • (Show?)

    Steve Maurer - when during all the attacks on Dean did one Dem stand up and say, No? when adds were run calling him a freakshow and when Chris Matthews compared Dean to a carbomber, did Kerry say anything? Edwards, Clark, Kucinich? no, they were perfectly happy to let others do their dirty work. he was treated differently, just as Gore was treated differently from Bush in 2000. this isn't paranoia; it's the way it happened.

  • LT (unverified)

    Thanks for the reality check, TA.

    And I wonder who Frank Luntz thinks is more appealing than Edwards--and why.

    Democratic opponents who are more engaging, more exciting and more original than he is

    It would be interesting to know who Luntz is talking about (and which original ideas) but I don't trust him to pick the nominee anymore than he'd trust Carville and Begala to pick the GOP nominee.

  • (Show?)

    The Luntz memo can be downloaded here. I didn't write that Luntz should be picking the nominee - I just pulled a quote from the focus groups his firm did recently. People can take it or leave it.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Very interesting that all the political prognosticators here seem to overlook the obvious. The results of the 2006 election potentially will upend the entire environment for 2008. Candidates who look weak in the present environment will look quite different if the Dems manage to capture one chamber or the other --- because they will have a pulpit and subpeona power --- and candidates who look strong quite likely will look irrelevant or ridiculous.

    So, if one thinks the "authoritative" commentators here are that, then one should tend to conclude that they have written off prospects for 2006 because they are judging Prez candidates by the current environment. And if those commentators protest they haven't written of 2006, well then one should wonder about the size of the fistful of salt with which one should take their analyses.

    History suggests we should be looking (hoping) for a governor or ex-governor from the industrial midwest, an Atlantic coast state, or maybe California or the SW. The fact that there aren't too many of those highlights where our party has really failed in terms of producing viable presidential candidates. Potential candidates that do come to mind include: Richardson (Gov of NM), Rendell (Gov of PA), Napolitano (Gov of AZ), Granholm (Gov of MI), Warner (former Gov of VA).

    So I'm curious, which of those folks appeal to Blue Oregonians?

  • (Show?)

    I like Bill Richardson. You can't dismiss his campaign until you've seen the spot that won him the governor's race in New Mexico. In 30 short seconds, you'll learn about his character, his heart, his style, and his brains.

  • (Show?)

    Askquestions1st-Actually Gramholm is not able to run for president as she is a Canadian.


  • (Show?)

    Almost right, David. She's an American now. But she was born a Canadian citizen.

    (You don't have to be born in America. You just have to be born an American citizen. John McCain, for example, was born in Panama - but to American parents, so he's a natural-born citizen.)

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Actually Gramholm is not able to run for president as she is a Canadian But she was born a Canadian citizen

    Unless the "Draft Schwarzenegger" folks actually succeeded in getting the Constitution amended. Something that admittedly is extremely unlikely and I wouldn't want to see.

    My mistake, although in my defense I'll note I was interested in what Blue Oregonians thought about the nature of those governors political views and executive style than horse race politics when I drew up that list.

  • (Show?)

    Warner. But I'm one of those pansy moderate Dems who think we can't win by running left and that we have to cut into the southern, midwestern, and suburban GOP strongholds.

    Richardson is interesting--there is a way to build an electoral majority with the NE, NW, CA, 1 or 2 Midwestern states, + AZ and NM. Richardson may be able to deliver on that, but when I've heard him speak, he's almost as wooden as Al G.

  • (Show?)

    T.A. Barnhart said, "third, it was 8 years after his defeat (quite possibly due to Daley rigging the vote in Illinois) that Nixon won -- succeeding an unpopular war president."

    The right has been very successful at propagating the myth of the stolen election of 1960. For starters, flipping Illinois would not have changed the outcome in the electoral college. Illinois had 27 electoral votes, and Kennedy prevailed in the electoral college 303-219. The outcome in other states would have had to have changed as well. For a good summary of the 1960 election and Republican challenges to the results after the election, check out this story in Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/91350/


  • Ross Williams (unverified)

    I think Steve is wrong. The reality is that elected officials are followers, not leaders. When they stop being followers, they become former elected officials.

    Al Gore is more likely to make a difference on global warming by helping elect Hillary Clinton president than he is by getting himself elected. He has more freedom to change public opinion rather than respond to it. He isn't constrained by other politicians or by the need to fulfill the expectations of those who elected him. He does not need to balance his desire for progress on global warming with the political costs to other things he wants to accomplish.

    In short, if global warming is Al Gore's issue, then being President would be a step in the wrong direction.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)

    I saw Al Gore in Portland at the Conv. Center last fall and was so impressed with his performance. Yes, he is very funny (in person), as well as a convincing speaker on glocal warming and other issues. Trouble is, as LT alluded too, the camera tends to filter that out. Gore was an on again, off again candidate in 2000, and, sadly, not as aggressive and effective against Bush as he was against Bill Bradley in the primaries. He also lost every southern state, as well as key swing states like OH, MO, WV, NV, and CO; states that Bill Clinton carried.

    <h2>Gore might be Hillary's strongest chanllenger, but would he be much stronger than her in the General Election? I don't want to find out. I'm looking at Edwards, Clark, Biden, and Warner as the most likely to win over the swing voters we need to win.</h2>

connect with blueoregon