Let’s draft Al Gore
There are already a few lonely voices out there trying to jump-start a draft Al Gore political movement. Maybe it’s time to help these voices to grow into a choir.
Suggesting a draft campaign for the presidency in the current political environment is, of course, hopelessly naïve. Today’s presidential campaigns are all about stockpiling money; and with the current front-loaded primary process, the fattest early bird is almost guaranteed to get the worm.
No, suggesting a draft campaign is as quaint and starry-eyed as, well, as the very idea that a politician might actually dare to take on Big Oil, the automotive industry and our entire SUV loving, gas-guzzling culture in order to fight against something as esoteric (if terrifying) as global warming.
But I can’t help myself.
I’ve mentioned my support for a Gore candidacy here at the café before. What I didn’t mention back then (in my more respectable pre-blogging days), however, is how much looking at Al Gore today reminds me of the way I feel when my mind drifts back to Tami Sampson.
How to describe Tami? Let’s just say she was a 17-year-old Angelina Jolie, except with a better body and a prettier face. And for one brief moment, almost 35 years ago, I had a shot. I had a real shot. But I blew it. I chickened out; I ignored the hint; I passed on paradise. And even today, happily married with great kids and a good life, I have to confess that sometimes, not often, but sometimes, right before I go to sleep at night her image presents to my mind with all of the grace of a thousand angels dancing on the head of a pin to a Mozart concerto, and I find myself wondering: What if?
Okay, actually that’s all bullshit. There was no Tami Sampson and if there had been I would have had no more chance with her than Dick Cheney has of being named one of People Magazines 50 most beautiful people. But you get my point.
A big part of the power Al Gore brings to presidential politics today is this very same “what if” factor. And it’s a power that no one else, not even Hilary Clinton, can begin to match. It grows every day of the Bush presidency; every lie feeds it; every blunder makes it more indelible.
I know it goes against the conventional wisdom, but I believe that the Democratic nomination is Al Gore’s for the taking: Hilary has bucks, brains and Bill, but Al has the magic, and in this contest magic wins 10 times out of 10.
David Remnick, writing about Gore’s new movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in the April 24 New Yorker, says this:
Last week, Gore dropped by a Broadway screening room to introduce a preview of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Dressed in casual but non-earth-tone clothes, he gave a brief, friendly greeting. If you are inclined to think that the unjustly awarded election of 2000 led to one of the worst Presidencies of this or any other era, it is not easy to look at Al Gore. He is the living reminder of all that might not have happened in the past six years (and of what might still happen in the coming two). Contrary to Ralph Nader’s credo that there was no real difference between the major parties, it is close to inconceivable that the country and the world would not be in far better shape had Gore been allowed to assume the office that a plurality of voters wished him to have. One can imagine him as an intelligent and decent President, capable of making serious decisions and explaining them in the language of a confident adult. Imagining that alternative history is hard to bear, which is why Gore always has the courtesy, in his many speeches, and at the start of “An Inconvenient Truth,” to deflect that discomfort with a joke: “Hello, I’m Al Gore and I used to be the next President of the United States.”
Those inclined to be irritated by Gore all over again will not be entirely disappointed by “An Inconvenient Truth.” It can be argued that at times the film becomes “Death of a Salesman,” with Gore as global warming’s Willy Loman, wheeling his bag down one more airport walkway. There are some awkward jokes, a silly cartoon, a few self-regarding sequences, and, now and then, echoes of the cringe-making moments in his old campaign speeches when personal tragedy was put to questionable use. (To illustrate the need to change one’s mind when hard reality intrudes, he recalls helping his father farm tobacco as a youth and then his sister’s death from lung cancer.) But in the context of the larger political moment, the current darkness, Gore can be forgiven his miscues and vanities. It is past time to recognize that, over a long career, his policy judgment and his moral judgment alike have been admirable and acute. Gore has been right about global warming since holding the first congressional hearing on the topic, twenty-six years ago. He was right about the role of the Internet, right about the need to reform welfare and cut the federal deficit, right about confronting Slobodan Milosevic in Bosnia and Kosovo. Since September 11th, he has been right about constitutional abuse, right about warrantless domestic spying, and right about the calamity of sanctioned torture. And in the case of Iraq, both before the invasion and after, he was right—courageously right—to distrust as fatally flawed the political and moral good faith, operational competence, and strategic wisdom of the Bush Administration.
Eleanor Clift said of Gore in a recent Newsweek column, “Once you’re bitten by the presidential bug, you stay bitten. The only cure is formaldehyde.”
I’m not so sure. My instincts tell me that he’s for real in not wanting to run again.
But why not start a draft movement anyway? Raise a little money; start the process of trying to put Gore onto some of the early ballots. If nothing else it will give him a graceful way to enter the race if he changes his mind.
Because the last thing we can afford to have coming out of the 2008 election is another bucket full of what ifs.
May 1st, 2006 at 6:29 am
Why not? It’ll be good faux-liberal cover for when the inevitable Vote-For-Hillary articles come out. Gotta keep up appearances!
May 1st, 2006 at 8:09 am
Aside from Russ Feingold, Gore is pretty much the only Dem (with a legit shot to win) for whom I would seriously support at this point.
May 1st, 2006 at 9:15 am
How I do agree with the Cafe! Al Gore has a magificent history in the Senate and legislation of “caring for the people.”
I well remember 1985, on, when I was starting a consumer satellite business and the corporate cable companies were trying to stunt the competition of satellite systems. The dangerous, pirating, ugly dish was cause for local governments to resort to all kinds of tactics to prohibit them. Today, many of us enjoy that technology as superior in many ways.
Thanks to Al Gore who drafted and supported legislation against the rampant discrimmination, satellite technology is as common as turning on a light switch. He was right, from the beginning. He’s one of the most intelligent fighters I have ever known. His moral character is truly of the highest caliber. We need someone who doesn’t play games and can try to straighten out this god-awful mess we’re in. I believe he could bring America back to its original pride.
I do think a “draft Al Gore,” movement is in or-der!
May 1st, 2006 at 2:10 pm
I’ll sign on to that movement. I’ve advocated for some time that he should run, though he seems to truly not want to, which would make him an even better candidate in that he’s not lusting for power. Then he could draft Molly Ivins as his running mate. She’s smart, she’s honest, she’s a straight talker and she’s also funnier than he is.
O.K. maybe not veep, maybe whitehouse spokesman. (I hate the terms “spokesperson” or “spokeswoman”.)
May 1st, 2006 at 9:16 pm
How about a write-in candidacy? That would minimalize expense through the primaries, then if he wins, the national parties and large contributors would have to back him, wouldn’t they?
May 2nd, 2006 at 2:15 am
why? Language is the foundation of thinking - it’s never only what you say, but also how you say it - and if you say spokesMAN - you only talk with and about male persons - don’t tell any speaking human being that “man” includes females because how do you refer to “man? I guess, you always use “he”, isn’t it? No actor would feel addressed by “actress”, no “Sir” by “Lady”…
it’s all about information and how the human brain works to “understand” the world - it has to create an “image” and the “digital” version of that image is based on symbols (language). What you don’t name, you can’t refer to - you don’t “know”. Why do you think have women no own (family) names aka identificators - because the change of name (father name, husband name) is always a record of belonging/ownership: Each discoverer first named the newly discovered island, each child first names the new pet - names are the first elements of writing, much older than writing itself, because they identify individual things and therefore make them “visible” in the only world that counts, that creates our decisions and actions - the inner image of reality
Do you know that people who don’t know the word “eleven” can’t count to eleven?
Study Suggests Language Shapes Thoughts
or think of the thing of biology called “form follows function” - form always can tell you about the function and words are forms, something like “frozen” information. Actually, you can learn more about what people really think by their usage of words than by the meaning of the words. It’s like body language - what people don’t know they can’t control and most people don’t know that the words themselves carry information
btw: English - all the english words for civilized, sophisticated ideas are based on Latin, therefore (without knowing about the Normans) you can conclude that England must have been under foreign occupation for a long, long time - and that those foreigners must have been more “developed” than the Anglo-Saxons…
May 2nd, 2006 at 2:21 am
“I’m not so sure. My instincts tell me that he’s for real in not wanting to run again.”
I agree. Although Clift says “Nobody believes him.” in that article, referring to Gore’s repeated denials of intention to run in 2008, I think that the very fact that Al Gore has without fear of offending anyone spoken the truth so many times about so many things is the best evidence that you CAN believe him about not running. If he’d had even a glimmer of a thought that maybe he might run after all in the back of his head, he would have been more hesitant and careful in the things he says - wouldn’t want to offend any potential campaign donors, after all, the richer the better.
The “This is Good” post a couple weeks ago pointed out that the right wing “are genetically incapable of uttering the words, “Al Gore was right.”” If Gore had any desire at all to ever run again, he’d be bending over backwards in all his speeches and comments and everything to make it easier for big business, and the voters who knowingly or unknowingly support it, to at least say “You know, Al Gore is not so bad after all.” But he’s not. Instead, he’s making it easier for people like me who reluctantly finally decided to vote for Gore in 2000 (since people like my hero Michael Moore were strongly arguing against doing so) to say that very same thing!
The irony of Gore’s not running in 2008, of course, is that if he doesn’t, and he doesn’t finally become President and in a position to do something about climate crisis, then he is pretty much torpedoing any chance of that being averted or ameliorated. If he REALLY takes global warming and climate change seriously, then he has to run, because if he doesn’t, then, well, abandon all hope ye who enter here! (In obvious part because he’d be letting Prexy or his handpicked successor be the one to decide whether the government will do anything about it, but also because he’d be “inspiring” the rest of us into saying, “Oh well, if even Al Gore didn’t step up to the plate and do his part, then why should I?”)
May 2nd, 2006 at 9:30 am
agree, but if “he’d be bending over backwards in all his speeches and comments and everything to make it easier for big business,” he never will be able to convince the grassroots - and he will need the grassroots more than the fat cats
because what we need to fight against global warming and climate change is a change of the American way of life - yes, Steve told us about the Heritage Foundation, but even the American Aristocracy needed 20-30 years to manipulate society. To make it happen faster, you need all of us, all those “common people”, those “nobodies”, “NIPs” (not important persons) - we all need to be convinced to stop wasting energy and ressources. All millions and millions of us all over the world
reminds me of Sisyphus…
May 2nd, 2006 at 9:59 am
The thing I admire most about Al Gore is his steadfast defense of NAFTA. His tie-breaking vote in favor of the treaty was truly inspiring! Viacom, BellSouth, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Time Warner, all these and more own…er…owe him a debt of graftitude.
“Reinventing Government”, “Welfare Reform”, “Market-Based Energy Reform”, it ideas like these that will revitalize the democorporate party. By all means - Draft Al Gore!!!
May 2nd, 2006 at 3:48 pm
Because the “man” in spokesman is an abreviated version of “human”, rather than “spokesparrot”. “Language shapes thought, and thought shapes action.”
In my humble opinion.
May 2nd, 2006 at 4:58 pm
Al Gore will emerge as the Consensus Candidate in 2008
And rightfully so…
Recently there has been a congressional endorsement, a number of landmark speeches addressing the real problems America faces, a couple of magazine covers and a movie, to be released this month that promises to be the next F911. Now we have Roy Neel and Wired’s article…getting to critical mass…
On ML King Day he was blacked out by the MSM, but he still reached millions via CSPAN, the Internet and the blogs.
I purchased the speech on DVD from CSPAN and it took 3 weeks to arrive, leading me tobelieve it was popular.
I am not a kid, nor am I disposed toward tilting at windmills. I became a political junkie at age 12, in 1968, my baptism of fire being the Chicago Convention which I attended as a young page from Oklahoma. Suffice as to say that the “bug” lives here…
In 2000 I attended an event sponsored by the local Democrats (I have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969) and spoke with many of the leading lights in the unions and the party. I was startled at the lukewarm support for Gore, I was surprised by how many felt that he would lose to Bush hands down and it wouldn’t be so bad… The Shrub would be a quick one-termer like his dad… How much damage could he do, in one term with a Democratic Congress? In light of the rather dismal debates, the outrageous media slams on Gore and the teflon being dripped all over Bush, it was not hard to see why. In retrospect we saw the beginnings of the current media environment during that campaign, the echo chamber found the designer steroids and went into high gear. We have been ruled by half-truths and spin ever since.
After Florida, on December 12, 2000, I resolved that I must do more, do something, now! I went back to the boards, writing furiously every night, I actually sent money to the party and went out and pounded pavement as well as my keyboard. 2002 showed us the new pattern, in Georgia and New Hampshire they hacked the election in key locales and out pops a Republican Congress.
As I said before, I am not a true believer, I live in the reality based world, I meet a payroll, pay taxes on time and carry lots of insurance… It seemed inconceivable to me that this boob would be re-elected in 2004, the Demo nominee would be President. Unless of course he was not “electable”… by that I meant anyone warming a Senate seat who has not also served as a Governor or with other executive experience. Surveying the field of candidates it seemed that Kerry and Edwards were not “electable”…no sitting Senator has been elected President since the last fellow sitting in a Mass. Senate seat with the initials JFK, in 1960…and Mr. Kerry you are no John Kennedy… Faced with certain defeat in his Senate re-election and seeing a Presidential campaign as possible step up or at the very least out with a bang, John Edwards really had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Senators make very poor candidates due to the nature of the legislative process, they are forced to discuss positions they have taken in the past that are very hard to defend in a 30 second sound bite, the nuance of moving a bill through the Congress is lost on the peanut gallery and doesn’t have the same impact as a simple declarative sentence. I am still trying to wrap my mind around Mr. Kerry’s reasoning on the War Authorization vote…
It then came down to Al Gore or Howard Dean. Al wasn’t running, not with a beard (LOL). So in early March of 2003 I attended a Meet-up for Howard at a local residence. There were some 60 people there for this first meeting, including my Congresswoman. For the next 21 months we worked our tails off, the group expanded to over 800 listed on our yahoo group, just from Silicon Valley, that group is still active as one of the largest Democratic Clubs in Santa Clara Co, DFA lives!. We fielded delegate slates, registered hundreds of voters and were poised to go all out on Primary Day…selected in the 16th Congressional District as a Dean Delegate, I can report that I got nowhere near the Convention Hall as The Conventional Wisdom triumphed and Kerry-Edwards got the nod…
In an honest election they would have won.
That is the problem we must face squarely, the system has been hacked. In order to rebuild faith in our Democracy, the people must have faith that the votes are counted and that they count…it matters not why so many people feel he system is not honest, when 25-30% of the electorate believe the system is corrupt, that very perception is dangerousto our process. This issue must take precedence over all others or we will never see our Republic in the same way, for it will be dead. If we allow democracy to be manipulated
by the powerful as is now being done on several levels, all the shoe leather in the world won’t elect our candidates. We must have an equal and transparent process, controlled by the people’s representatives, not corporations owned by Republicans.
Then we can get to rebuilding a Democratic Media to counter the thrashing we get everyday on cable and talk radio, generate some truth telling about the Corporate State, before it overwhelms the Republic and the environment.
I want Al Gore to preside over this regeneration of America, nothing could be more poetic than for this Tennessean to pick up the mantle of Andy Jackson and take back this country, for it’s People.
I pledge the max, and I can speak for at least my family. if not all of DFA. Say the word and an army awaits, happy warriors seasoned by years in the trenches. Al, you don’t need the “moneymen”, you don’t need the “advisers”, you don’t need speechwriters, you have found your voice and we the People will carry you to the White House. We will raise $50 million dollars in the first cycle, in weeks…not months. Your biggest problem will be how to keep order as the ranks swell quickly. You will be opposed by the entire media, you will roasted and skewered, tarred and feathered and hung in effigy everyday on the Fox Network, but elected you will be… if you speak truth to power and the American People. No teleprompters needed, we will save a bundle on focus groups by not having any, we are already focused.
Now I don’t know Mr. Gore personally, I think I caught sight of him once, after 2000, at a Dead show, we had to wait for his limo and entourage to leave the backstage area, gladly waited I might add. This experience alone would be enough for me to love the man… No, I don’t know his heart, I can’t see inside his fears and hopes, although I have some small idea of what he faces. Most men who have worked for four decades or more can sit back in the “Golden Years” and rest upon the well earned laurels of a lifetime, secure in the knowledge of a job completed or at least retired from… at 50 I have a deep appreciation of this feeling… In my career I have been mostly self-employed, there have been ups and downs, lately downs as the economy tanked, the War upturned the raw material markets and the insurance industry recovered by raising everybody’s rates…, so I am left somewhat unfulfilled and I hope a similar knawing in the gut is what Al Gore feels every morning.
I will be happy to help him slake that bit of gut wrenching, and millions more will as well.
San Jose CA
PS. apologies to anyone who has already read my bit…
May 2nd, 2006 at 7:06 pm
Besides, what’s that got to do with Molly Ivins being veep or spokesfemale for President Gore?
I don’t want to take up all of Steve’s space just yacking back and forth between the 2 of us about words & such, so you can contact me at .
May 3rd, 2006 at 1:39 am
thanks - i’ll do
May 3rd, 2006 at 1:40 am
Amen! Where do i sign?
all you said is great, but this quote is the best (IMO):
simply because “manipulation by the powerful” is per definitionem the pure opposite of democracy. Can anybody please tell me, why it is so hard to see for the “believers in the religion of Strength” that leadership and leaders are not the same - that leaders failed through the history since the Ancient Egypts, where Pharao started as judge using objective (mathematic) tools to support justice and ended as Self-made God to support only himself
Rome and the Caesar - a democracy killed by the powerlust of their leaders
the Catholic Church and the Pope - started to support the poor then inventing the Inquisition
France and Napoleon - a revolution, followed by a military dictatorship
Russia and Stalin - the same, even more brute force and violence
Germany and Hitler - Gutenberg, Leibniz, Heine, Beethoven, Kant, Nietzsche, Marx… - and the rest you know…
and now? America and the second George III? The mother of all democracies, pushing Global Warming and the Everlasting War?
When we will ever learn?
May 3rd, 2006 at 7:36 am
I like that “what if?” theory. And I’m really happy to see so much support for Gore. The “what if” has a 9/11 factor also, I have many times wondered what Gore would have done with the “Memo” that August.
The tragedy we know as 9/11 was a nightmarish gift of power to Bush and allowed him to be the tyrant we know today. Al Gore takes some of that power away because of the “what if”.
Gore’s record on the environment is consistent and impressive and that vital discussion has been ignored for too long. I support him completely, but how do you organize a huge endeavor like drafting him? I don’t see the Dem Party leaders being helpful, they have their own ambitions. The justice of a President Gore is fun to think about, though I wonder what he really thinks about diving into that pool of filth again, swimmin with the “swifties” and their ilk? And then I look at what Bush has done to our country and I think who in their right mind would even want to inherit this ill wind?
Are we dreamers or is there a chance that a grassroots movement could persuade him to run?
May 3rd, 2006 at 12:11 pm
it’s definitely fun to entertain this idea, what would it actually take to make is a serious proposition? or is it all just in theory?
May 3rd, 2006 at 2:59 pm
May 4th, 2006 at 5:34 am
Reality based politics? You want *reality*? Okey-dokey. Here’s your “reality”…
There will be a couple years of bloviating about Gore & Feingold & Whoever Else.
Then, when ‘08, you will vote for Hillary.
There’s your reality. Choke on it.