Marginal Footnotes


Gore for President
May 1, 2006, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Eleanor Clift has an interesting article in Newsweek suggesting that Al Gore is running a highly effective stealth campaign for president, even if he himself is unaware of it.  This is probably a fair insight and I think a different spin on the conventional wisdom with respect to Gore.  Gore’s time recently has been spent, among others things, attempting to increase the urgency about and political will for substantive policy action on global warming. This is, as everyone knows, something with which Gore has been concerned for a very long time.  I recall geekily reading his book, Earth in the Balance, in my high school library when I was about sixteen.

The most persuasive argument Clift makes in her piece, outside of her observation that Gore seems more approachable and infinitely more likeable with the weight gain, is that he may be on to something with the notion of a single-issue presidential campaign. Most people, I would suspect, would assume the single issue to be terrorism or the war in Iraq (or Iran, as the case may be).  Clift devotes no space to the feasibility of a single-issue presidential election on something other than American militarism in the face of the ‘menacing’ global challenge of ‘islamofascism’ (and the related issues of nuclear proliferation, nation-building, etc.). She does appear to assert, perplexingly, that Gore might pick up some ‘conservative evangelical Christians’ who see themselves as ‘stewards of the earth’.  This seems unlikely.  And there is no evidence that Americans care now or will care in the near future about global warming, despite the canary call.     

Her major thesis, though, which is the possibility of a Gore comeback in 2008, is in the main compelling.  She is right to frame the possibility of a Nixon-like return on Gore’s advocacy for action on global warming and other environmental concerns, but this has less to do with those issues per se and more to do with Gore having the political courage to take up a once-highly controversial issue and getting behind it, and staying with it, long before anyone else would give it the time of day.  It gives him the appearance of being principled and of having good sense.  And while you cannot entirely disentangle the politics from the issue itself, no matter where you stand on Gore and if you have any sense of fairness, you can say nothing but that he believes faithfully in the cause and for the best of reasons. And, by God, that says a lot about him in this era of unflinchingly cynical politics. 

Gore has heavy political baggage, lots of negatives, and his often irrational behaviour behind the lectern in recent years has certainly not helped forge an image of mature intellectual liberalism.  But if it’s Gore against the other obvious potential 2008 Democratic contenders (Clinton, Biden, Bayh, Kerry, Edwards, Feingold), I’m for Gore.  And I’ve never been for Gore. 

—mpd         
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3 Comments so far
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Too bad global warming is a scam. It defies all logic. Also, it’s not really a fact, it’s only a theory, with more evidence against it, than for it.

But nevermind that, because people must have something to protest!

Comment by brent roos

[…] Clift writes that nobody really believes that Gore is not thinking about the 2008 elections. Marginal footnotes is one of the doubtful. The blog very much endorses a Gore candidacy: Gore has heavy political baggage, lots of negatives, and his often irrational behaviour behind the lectern in recent years has certainly not helped forge an image of mature intellectual liberalism. But if it’s Gore against the other obvious potential 2008 Democratic contenders (Clinton, Biden, Bayh, Kerry, Edwards, Feingold), I’m for Gore. And I’ve never been for Gore. […]

Pingback by More shameless remarks by Larko » Blog Archive » Is Al Gore electable?

I’m almost there with you on the Gore thing, but not quite. I think Gore is coming along well as the elder statesman kind of guy with principle, but his party, and formally Gore himself, come off as almost crazy and screaming. Until the Democratic Party figures out the the middle are the ones they are talking to, they will continue to struggle no matter who the GOP throws up against them short of David Duke.

Comment by tj




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