If the bumper sticker of ’92 and ’96 (Clinton-Gore) divides, and we find Gore running against Hillary Clinton, Al Gore could not only beat the former First Lady for the Democratic nomination, he could win the presidency.
Gore can seize this opportunity as the campaigns of Obama and Edwards are fading, out-fundraised, out-managed and outmaneuvered by Hillary’s campaign machine.
Al Gore – the newly minted Nobel laureate – could steal the nomination from Hillary’s well-oiled machine.
He immediately demolishes Hillary’s two main claims to the nomination: her electability and her White House experience.
Gore has a proven record of being a vote-getter. Gore won the national vote in 2000, outpolling George Bush by 500,000 votes.
Hillary’s claims of being a proven winner are tenuous. She did prevail in her 2000 Senate bid – but only after Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the race at the last minute, citing his battle with prostate cancer.
In 2006, Hillary won an almost a practically uncontested re-election in 2006. Her opponent was Republican John Spencer, a valiant but poorly funded candidate. And remember, winning in blue state New York does not immediately translate into being a national winner.
Gore also has proven executive experience. Unlike Hillary, Al Gore actually played a major role in the Clinton White House.
The First Lady had little or no impact on public policy in the years after her health care fiasco cost the Democrats control of Congress and before the Lewinsky impeachment.
After the Monica case was uncovered, neither Clinton did anything of note in the realm of public policy-- so focused were they on fending off impeachment and keeping the presidency. Later, they were preoccupied with Hillary winning her Senate bid.
Contrast Gore with Hillary. Gore was, in fact, Bill Clinton’s go-to guy in the White House.
Every time an important task faced the Clinton Administration, Al Gore would step up and get the assignment.
By the end of the first Clinton term, Gore was responsible for policy in the following areas: science, space, Internet, family leave, television violence and sex, government efficiency and cost reduction, drugs, relations with Russia, air safety, tobacco regulation, and a myriad of other assignments.
Indeed, his vice presidency encompassed a very large segment of the Clinton Administration’s agenda.
Also, Gore’s Congressional and Senate tenures dwarf Hillary’s both in duration and achievement. The bottom line: Gore wins the “experience” issue.
On the matter of the Iraq war, Gore is more in sync with the Democratic base. The party’s left increasingly criticizes Hillary for her commitment to keep a residual troop presence in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Gore’s early and outspoken opposition to the war would offer a welcome haven for anti-war voters.
So far, Barack Obama has demonstrated an inability to get to Hillary’s left on the war and win over the party base. Obama has agreed with her about the need for an ongoing troop commitment, something many Democrats find anathema.
Thus, Gore makes the logical place to turn for a real antiwar candidate.
Of course, climate change and global warming, the issue that brought Gore the Nobel, is his personal issue.
With a growing army of environmentalist voters, horrified at photos of polar bears searching in the Arctic Sea for ice on which to stand, Al Gore is not only an advocate. He is a prophet, now brought in from the wilderness.
Can Gore raise the money this late in the race? Sure he can.
By now, many of Obama’s donors must be getting anxious that their candidate isn’t going anywhere. His inability to sustain his early and successful fund raising pace suggests that that reality is beginning to dawn on the Illinois Senator’s donor base.
Gore need only to whistle and he will find Hollywood celebrities falling all over themselves in an effort to help him raise funds.
Gore’s own relationships with Democratic donors run deep and long standing. With environmentalists making up a large segment of Democratic Party money, Gore would quickly rise to the top of the fund raising list.
Does he have enough time to organize in the early primary states?
Gore’s late entry and national celebrity gives him an ability to avoid the micro-primary and caucus in Iowa and New Hampshire.
He can go focus on the big states of Michigan and Florida and come out ahead.
His national positioning and newly enhanced celebrity status will give him traction to overwhelm the organizational efforts of the other campaigns in these large states.
And Gore has one other major asset: it is very difficult for Bill Clinton to attack him.
Having chosen Gore as his Vice President, plucking him from the ranks of defeated presidential candidates (Gore ran and lost to Dukakis for the Democratic nod in 1988), how can he say that he is not qualified to be president?
Having praised Gore lavishly throughout the 1990s, he will have great difficulty now persuading voters that his former running mate is not worthy of election.
Will Al run?
There are good reasons for him to stay out. He has been catapulted to international celebrity status, putting him on a level with Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, and the Dali Lama.
So why should Al and Tipper once again go through the muddy trenches of American politics?
Gore knows he has a historic factoid on his resume, having won the the U.S. popular vote in 2000. Why risk it by perhaps losing a race for the nomination?
Gore has made clear he is motivated by substantive goals for the country and the world.
If he really does care about global climate change and wants to lead the world in stopping it – I believe he is sincere in this pursuit – what better way to make this happen then becoming president of the United States.
I have no doubt that Al Gore would be a very strong candidate and could defeat Hillary for the Democratic nomination.
At this point, Gore may be tempted to make the race. In his view, he wants to save the world. That’s a serious motivator.
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