Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Al Gore would like you to announce his candidacy for 2008

The recent comment that Al Gore made to a reporter for the Atlanta Progressive News about how he’s not averse to seeking the 2008 nomination has churned up a storm—on the net, at least. He might just do this, but I wouldn’t read too much into it yet. Lots of politicians either declare their candidacy or spread speculation that they’re thinking about it in order to increase their political stock. This strategy is one that’s used on both sides of the aisle.

On the other hand, Gore’s in a good place to do this. He’s got name recognition, and he’s got a groundswell pushing for him to run. Plus recent climate issues are getting harder to ignore, so the man who was ridiculed in 2000 for his stance on global warning might seem uncommonly wise come 2008, especially if we see more hurricanes and unseasonably warm winters and other weather events. Unlike most other Democrats and Republicans who might seek the ’08 nod, Gore doesn’t have to hang out in Iowa and New Hampshire to generate buzz about him; he’s past that. (Similarly, Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to hit those states, either, and has been strenuously avoiding them since the mid-1990s. I remember hearing an anecdote about how Senator Clinton needed to travel from Boston to southern Maine for some kind of junket or something, but instead of driving up and passing through the twenty miles of New Hampshire that stood in the way, she and her entourage chartered a plane and flew, in order to ensure she didn’t set foot in the Granite State, lest she fan flames of speculation.)

Al Gore has reïnvented himself recently, and this new personal has resonated with a number of people, including myself. However, I’m taking it all with a grain of salt at this point. Gore is really coming across as an honest, competent adult, and while I’m sure the voters will be more than ready for an honest, competent adult by 2008, I don’t know if Gore’s really thinking about it. I doubt it, especially in light of the fact that candidates need to secure donors before the campaign season gets fully underway, and Gore hasn’t been doing that. I would be very pleased with him as president, but I suspect he isn’t running.

After winning the Democratic nomination three times but losing the presidential election three times, William Jennings Bryan showed up at the 1912 Democratic convention, and there was plenty of talk that he was getting ready to try for a fourth run. It was a good year to do it—President Taft was a weak incumbent, and former President Roosevelt had quit the Republican Party and was mounting an independent campaign. Bryan was very active at the convention, but he wasn’t seeking the nomination. He played power broker, outmaneuvered Tammany Hall and secured the nomination for Woodrow Wilson. Hurrah! My hunch is that Al Gore is going to do something similar this time, and speculation that he’s seeking the nomination again will only help to raise his stock-in-trade. Al Gore is smart. So was Bryan. Bryan landed the job of Secretary of State in the Wilson administration. Maybe Gore could land a job in a future, say, Warner administration?

So Al Gore most likely isn’t running for president—but I’m sure he’d consider it a great personal favor if you talk about his triumphant return to the road to the White House!

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