Monday, May 29, 2006

Al Gore III: The Last Stand

Can Al make it?

That seems to be the question consuming many US political commentators, despite the fact that Gore himself denies any interest in the job. As we all know, that's the surest sign of enthusiasm for the Oval Office. Or at least, for political commentators it is.

Gore has long been a political hero. In fact, it seems that pretty much anybody who is a laughing stock in the US is a politician I liked (Kerry, Carter, we could go on). I find it hard to believe that he'd resist another Presidential run if he was convinced that the "draft Gore" enthusiasm was more than movie premiere fluff. Whether it does have more substance than that will remain to be seen. Every "me too" editorial and feature on Gore in this month's magazines and Sunday papers has an easy line to run. The question is, where does Al go from here to stay in the news agenda without committing himself to open electioneering.

The essence of a Gore come-back would be to continue to campaign outside mainstream politics. He needs to be batting away questions about a Presidential run for as long as possible, as they're his ticket to paragraphs of free publicity. He just needs to find more excuses for the media to swarm on. It will also be a test of whether the emdia's new tolerance for intelligent ("nerdish") policy wonks is just a passing fad, and if they'd return to candyfloss charm when they form their opinion on the eventual race.

Whether or not Gore would win the democratic nomination, or then the Presidency, is a harder question to answer. Cram has drawn attention to polling that destroys conventional wisdom that Gore would do better than Hillary. Gore is the perfect antidote to Bush, whose policy-light shallowness is definitely out-of-favour. The question is, how would he do against a similarly distinguished and serious candidate - a John McCain - and that's currently a difficult one to call. My inclination is that Gore is pre-vetted and the "come back kid" story will be picked up by the press.

For my two cents, I hope Gore's drafted and wins.


montana urban legend said...

Policy-light shallowness might be going out of favor, but can the same be said of the single-issue voter?

Rich said...

Saw "The DaVinci Code" this weekend and the most exciting moment was a trailer for "An Inconvenient Truth," which I plan on seeing the day it comes out.

I hope Gore gets the ultimate nod because barring any catastrophic screw-up, he has my vote - I can see no other candidate coming close to having the knowledge and vision for environmental issues.

montana urban legend said...

With that in mind, global climate change would have to trump anti-gay marriage amendments, immediate withdrawal from Iraq and a whole assortment of Americana's usual political gobbledy-gook for him to accede. A tall order to ask of the typical voter, but perhaps feasible to those who don't seek to delegitimize ideas in science on the basis that they find some of their implications too "scary" to consider. I think there are enough of those out there.

It's also feasible because it's hard to imagine anyone from either party successfully running to the Wild West of Bush. A suddenly and obstinately rebellious incumbent can command undue voter loyalty in a time of unprecedented terror attacks while in office, but not as a non-incumbent. I doubt intelligence is any more valued in American politicians than before, but being a hard-ass for its own sake - certainly seems to have run its course in appealing to voters - and therefore, the dynamic of what's important to consider in a 2008 campaign is ready to be re-defined.