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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fanning the Flames ...

Thanks to AP photographer Jeff Chiu for this pic of Al Gore gesturing to the audience at the American Geophysical Convention in San Francisco, on Dec. 14. Might as well be a collection of everyone who's tried to push him into the ring for the 2008 Presidential election.

The Washington Post provides the first story I've seen in some time that
considers Gore, the non-candidate, as a candidate. The story observes, quoting the former veep:

"I am not planning to run for president again," Gore said last week, arguing that his focus is raising public awareness about global warming and its dire effects. Then, he added: "I haven't completely ruled it out."

Those words make Gore the 800-pound non-candidate of the Democratic field. The
possibility of another presidential bid delights many Democrats still steamed over the disputed 2000 election, in which they argue a few more votes, a state other than Florida and a different Supreme Court could have put Gore, not George W. Bush, in the White House.
The Post article also provides a few other interesting points in quoting a prominent Democratic organizer from 2004:

Despite his protestations to the contrary, some Democratic strategists believe
Gore could be persuaded to enter the race and will wait to see how the field
shakes out before making a final decision.

Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's Internet-fueled presidential campaign in 2004, said Gore would be a formidable candidate and could probably wait longer than others to enter the field.

"If anything, he's more relevant than anyone in the race because of his positions on the war and global warming," Trippi said. "And that's really tough to do in the Democratic Party, which treats its failed presidential candidates like members of leper colony."
I've said it numerous times before, but let me repeat it – Al Gore is best situated among the likely contenders to win the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. I note this on the heals of last week's nod to the recent spell of Obama v Hillary hype.

In the words of the sages,
Don't Believe the Hype!

Sure, his non-candidacy is about the most buried 2008 Dem story about any in the field, most presently amidst the news that
Evan Bayh won't run, but Gore's former running mate John Edwards will. M/M Edwards were on Hardball themselves last week, sending whatever remaining obvious flags were needed to signal the candidacy was imminent.

But, history suggests that Gore is positioning himself. Political animal
Dick Morris clearly knows something about it. The February Academy Awards will surely focus on An Inconvenient Truth, thus providing Gore with another round of free, feel-good, pre-candidacy press.

In early 1967, Richard Nixon's campaign for the 1968 nomination was still equivocal. He spent late 1966 successfully campaigning for Republican House candidates and thereafter declared a six-month moratorium on any discussions of his own political future. As this February 1967 piece from Time Magazine observes, while Nixon stayed out, he allowed the press's new darling, George Romney to self-destruct:

As some of Romney's support began to erode, Richard Nixon, the G.O.P.'s perennial workhorse, began to shape up as its potential dark horse as well. Clearing the Track. The former Vice President had supposedly disavowed politics for six months following the G.O.P.'s election victories last November. Nonetheless, his backers came out in the open to promote the notion that Nixon, a dedicated party performer of proven ability, was preferable to the unknown quantity that Romney continues to be. On the eve of the G.O.P. meeting, Nebraska's Fred Seaton, Interior Secretary under President Eisenhower, sent letters to all committeemen and state chairmen eulogizing Nixon as "the single Republican with the stature, the requisite abilities and the qualities of leadership essential to unite us and maintain our current momentum." More discreetly, Nixon fanciers were hard at work clearing the track for their steed.

(note: big props to Time for free archiving some of its articles of old and arranging with Google for prominent search result listings).

Again thanks to Time, Nixon didn't formally announce until
January 1968. By then, he appeared as the reliable veteran politically centered between liberal Republican Nelson Rockerfeller and conservative dogmatist Ronald Reagan. Once Reagan was out of the picture by June, Nixon merely needed to tow the line against Rockerfeller while rallying the base against LBJ's failing Vietnam strategy from the hawkish position.

Witness: Obama, excites many as untested newcomer who seeks to recast ideas owned by the other party (family values) in the vernacular of a new vision of liberalism. That was George Romney's campaign in 1967. Sen. Clinton is the odds-on favorite, who is recognized as politically untrustworthy by liberal loyalists and still raises doubts about "electability" among the moderates whose politics most closely mirror those on which she will run.
Reagan, maybe? And John Edwards ... well, it doesn't line up that perfectly, but I guess somebody has to be Rockerfeller, so why not him.

My point is that Gore, assuming he has been running for the nomination all along, has been playing the same hand that Nixon played in 1967 as he moved toward clinching the 1968 nomination.

Still, time seems to pass more quickly in 2007 than it did in 1967. That
is the spirit of what Post Media Notes Columnist
Howard Kurtz observed midweek, in a column that symbolically led with a discussion of the Obama craze – that Gore is "still a possible candidate, whose luster dims the longer he remains indecisive on the sidelines."

While here, nice bit of smirkiness by this NY Post columnist, who calls Obama the semi-official Rorschach Candidate of 2008, as he:

is the one who provokes enthusiasm not because of the positions he takes but because of who he is. He doesn't seem like a politician; he seems to be better than a politician -- fresh, new, different . . .
And we all know how long that can dissipate. Newsweek is already ready to pounce.

Despite all of his protests, the former Veep cannot escape endorsements. Former President Jimmy Carter, who has also been in the
my thoughts of late, seems to be pushing for a Gore candidacy as evidenced by his comments on Hardball in late November. Carter said:

I encouraged him so much in 2004 to run that he finally said, 'Mr. President, please do not bother me about this any more. My family and I have decided I'm not going to run.' He almost got angry with me. But I don't have that much doubt, first of all, that Al Gore was elected president by votes in Florida and throughout the nation in the year 2000. And I think, had he run in the year 2004 he would have won. And if I had to choose now a candidate out of all the ones that exist, at this point, at least, Al Gore would still be my preference.
A contributor to Huffington Post provides this plea, observing:

Never in the history of either political party can I think of any potential candidate or potential President as commander-in-chief qualified as you are, today.

After eight years of a catastrophic President so uninterested in world affairs that he did not even travel the world as a student, tourist or Governor before assuming the most powerful job on earth I believe that qualifications, experience, judgment and knowledge will be the hallmark qualities needed in our next President.

Instant update: My Yahoo mail update just revealed a
MoveOnDotOrg message from ... guess who? Here's some of the text:
Dear MoveOn member,

I want to thank you for being a part of the See the Truth movie parties this past Saturday and for helping make them such a huge success. Tens of thousands of us came together to start mobilizing to take on the climate crisis.

I know from personal experience that the only thing which will move Washington to action is the sight of millions of people coming together and pushing for change—and we can't afford to wait any longer. That's why I'm asking you to sign this online petition to your representative, demanding immediate action to stop global warming. If you sign it, I'll personally deliver your comments to Congress in the new year.

After you've signed on, please take a moment to pass this on to your friends and family and ask them to sign on. We've bought the DVD, seen the movie and spread the word about global warming. Now we have to organize to stop it. I'm ready to push for real solutions, but I need your help.

MoveOn members have been an incredible force for good in the last few years, and you should be very proud of what you've accomplished. The challenges we face are enormous, and we know that we can't trust Washington to do the right thing without intense pressure from good folks around the country. But you've shown everyone that political will truly is a renewable resource.

I look forward to working together. Thanks for all you do, Big Al
Well there you go. The fight goes on, and so does the media coverage. At some point, the former Veep is going to have to decide and come out from behind the global warming message. If it works, it will be marked-down as one of the most brilliant political campaign strategies in history. If it fails, and it was always his intention to seek the nomination, it will go down as one of the most ill conceived strategies. As with 1967, I guess we'll have to watch to see how things play out between now and next January.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gore is the only Dem that I think has a real shot right if the election were held today. McCain has a nice centrist pull to make it difficult for any Dem... It will be interesting to see what happens in the next year. two for that matter...

8:44 AM

Anonymous Rev. Landroo said...

Riki been saying this for months and everyone looks at me funny. glad to know you loo in to same oracle (or is that orafice) I do.

5:26 PM


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