Marginal Footnotes

Been there, done that:
May 28, 2006, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Elections, Gore Marginalia, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Adam Nagourney has written a piece for the New York Times assessing the likelihood for a Gore run in 2008 based on conversations with the man himself.  According to Nagourney:

'To hear Mr. Gore talk about the state of politics and journalism today — this from a man who has a history in both professions — it is hard to imagine him ever running for office again. Politics, he said, has become a game of meaningless, mindless battles, conducted by unscrupulous methods and people, designed to transform even the most serious policy debates into sport'.

I'll leave other, more aggressive bloggers to comment on the quality of Nagourney's imagination.  But it seems to me that Gore's remarks here suggest not a refusal to run but rather a refusal to play the game according to its rules.  And wouldn't that be fun.  If anyone is capable of altering the political terrain and the discursive playing field, it is Al Gore.  True outsiders have neither the reputation nor the gravitas to pose a serious challenge to the system.  Gore was clearly a victim of the system in 2000, as I think we all were.  The consequences were not insignificant, as I think most Americans are now, finally, beginning to realize.  At that time, much to the disappointment of his followers, Gore graciously stepped aside because he believed then that the stability of the system was more important than his own political and personal ambitions. If anyone has any doubts about this I recommend taking another look at Gore's concession speech, one of the finest political speeches of the last decade. That was probably the right decision at the time, given what we knew then.  In retrospect it clearly was not the right decision to step aside so quickly.  That was then and this is now. And to make a critique now of the sort Gore is making suggests engagement rather than disengagement.  In a world where supposedly everything is text, subtext is everything.   

There is of course a degree of wish-fulfillment on my part: I want Gore to run, and I want Gore to be president.  Perhaps it is not to be.  But Gore's refusal to state unequivocally his position on the campaign leaves some room for the optimistic among us to hope for the best.


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