2008: Is Al Gore running or not?
EleanorClift over at Newsweek seems to think he is, but me, I'm not so sure. As evidence, Clift states that Gore has been playing it coy, not directly answering questions about whether he's ruled out running or not. While this could mean that Gore wants to keep the door open, it could also mean that he's been asked this question so many times over the past six years that he's probably trying to keep his life interesting by coming up with new ways to answer it. Clift also points out that Gore has lost some weight, so clearly he's running. Either that or he's maybe following doctor's orders? Is seeking office the only reason anyone loses weight? Notify the marketers at Slim Fast! They've clearly been targeting the wrong customers!
Prognosticating Gore's political future, if any, isn't especially easy right now. The problem is that there's still plenty of time for a Democrat to move forward from the pack between now and this November, which is the deadline for filing for a presidential run. If that happens, then I think Gore will forego running. On the other hand, if a single Democrat doesn't emerge from the pack and the candidates start to pound the crap out of each other, it could be said that they'd all be weakened and thus damaged goods, and when the Democratic Party starts looking around for a white knight to come riding up to save it... enter Albert Arnold Gore.
Al Gore is wisely keeping his powder dry, just in case he has to use it. If there's a primary battlefield full of Democratic casualties, then Al Gore is just the man to clean it up.
That said, none of the would-be Democratic candidates would be attractive as a Gore running mate. I doubt General Wes Clark would make Gore's short list, particularly in light of all the talk of how we're on the brink of having someone who's not a white male on the presidential ticket this time around. With Gore filling the white male spot, he'd be pressured to choose a woman or a minority. My money would be on Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, who's often been mentioned as a possible running mate for whoever the candidate is in 2008. A second possibility would be Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. I might recommend one of my favorite politicians in America right now, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, but she's still pretty new to the scene, and promises to have one hell of a senator, but considering she was just elected this past November, she'll probably want to wait a while before thinking about any grander aspirations (particularly with a Republican governor in Minnesota.)
Of course, Gore's would-be running mate is not really worth speculating on until we find out the future of Gore's would-be campaign. For now, it's probably safest to assume that he's not running, and we ought to keep our focus on those Democrats whom we know are running. But if we Democrats need a white knight to come along, we know where to find one...