Gore’s Presidential “Un-Campaign?”
"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."
The second sentence there seems like a slight rhetorical advance from the first sentence, which he's been saying for a while now. Why include it? This is all speculation, but it's clear to me at least Gore is very publicly keeping his options open, probably watching the field develop, taking soundings among his closest allies.
From the time I saw An Inconvenient Truth, I thought it was a campaign film. It included a lot of rebranding of his image and some inoculation against his perceived flaws in the public mind, brought to you by the establishment media in 2000, cheerleading in conjunction with the Bush campaign.
Then, I saw a photo of him phone banking with MoveOn during the last election cycle. It immediately seemed to me like another "un-campaign" campaign photo op. And now, An Inconvenient Truth is out on DVD in time for Christmas. Hmm. How con-veeeen-ient.
Al Gore is well positioned to run as an outsider in 2008 if he chooses to do so, and he'll draw massive grassroots support while still having the experience in Washington to know how the sinkhole works. If Gore runs, I truly fear for poor Sally Quinn's tender sensibilities. Can you imagine the effect on DC pharmaceutical sales if Gore enters the primary?
I have no favorite in the 2008 primary race. There are some candidates I don't particularly like, and others I'm open to. I feel no need to name names. Gore's would be a welcome voice in the field, in my view, but I don't know whom I'd ultimately favor.
I think Gore has time. In fact, waiting to announce late is probably to his advantage if he runs. He can enter with a splash, suck out a lot of oxygen and grab some primaries (maybe) before everyone tries to take him down or build negative momentum against him. If he enters early, he just puts a big target on his back, and he has enough old support to ramp up field operations fairly quickly. Watch to see if some old lions of the party in primary states remain uncommitted late. That might suggest they've been tipped to wait.
In my view, the Gore plan for '08, if there is one, is to continue to build his comeback following virally, play to the base, and then come out and point out how he was right about so many things his competitors got wrong because they felt the need to placate, not challenge, the corrupt Republican zeitgeist. I can't quite think of anyone in particular, though: can you? Purely for the sake of political theater, it'd be fun as hell to watch.
An Al Gore 2008 campaign would have the virtue of pissing off all the right people in Washington, and I mean all of them. Why not help me with my forgetful mind and name a few in the comments?