Al Gore's Golden Moment

No I'm not talking about the approaching Academy Awards Ceremony, and the golden Oscar I have to assume that Gore is favored to win for "An Inconvenient Truth" for best documentary. I'm talking about the gentle glow of praise and respect Al Gore is now enveloped in emanating from grassroots Democratic activists, and in particular the netroots. Most of us like Al Gore, we genuinely do. For one thing, we all know that he was robbed. Al Gore should be sitting in the White House now, not the Son of a Bush who currently resides there.

But it's more than that. Al Gore is at the top of his non-political political game right now. He is far along on a high profile mission to stop Global Warming and save the planet. How can you not love that? Al Gore is providing important leadership on a critical issue. For now Global Warming is Al Gore's signature issue and none of us are second guessing him on it. We all applaud Al Gore for what he is doing.

I'm not saying that a deep commitment to stopping Global Warming is all that Al Gore has to bring to the political table. Gore is a serious and thoughtful man with real leadership experience. The thing is though, that as long as Al Gore hovers above the daily political fray with his eyes fixed on Earth's eco-sphere, he is safely out of the line of intramural Democratic fire.

From the few recent comments that Al Gore has made regarding the current situation in Iraq, his position seems to be very similar to that taken by Wes Clark for example. Unlike Al Gore though, Wes Clark has been highly identified with an Iraq position precisely because he has talked and written a great deal about it. Unlike fighting Global Warming, there is not near unanimity among Democrats about the best policy for dealing with America's occupation of Iraq right now. Anyone who stakes out a clear and highly visible position regarding Iraq is going to get dragged through the mud by someone. Clark certainly has, but not Al Gore.

It is very rare indeed nowadays that I see a Democratic activist even ask what Al Gore thinks we should be doing about Iraq. He has side stepped virtually all scrutiny on that for now, or on his position regarding Iran also, for that matter. The fact that Al Gore is making very few political statements currently makes it easier for the netroots to focus on Gore's many good points and positive qualities, and not be diverted into comparing his current specific position on Free Trade or whatever with that of Edwards, or Obama, or Clinton, or Clark, or Kucinich, or anyone else.

I have no doubt that Al Gore will remain popular should he fully re-enter the political fray. He has much to offer beyond chilling the planet As it currently stands Al Gore occupies a unique position in the Democratic Party as a wise elder statesman and world wide environmental leader, but no one can coast into a presidential nomination on that alone without going through the trench warfare of primary politics first. Where does Al Gore stand on how to deal with whatever level threat you believe Iran now poses? I don't know, do you? But we all know where he stands on Global Warming.

I am sure Al Gore can hold his own in the competitive tussle of competing with other Democrats for the big prize, if he decides to make a third try for the White House. But this is a uniquely golden moment for Al Gore. Right now, before anyone starts throwing punches. I hope Al Gore is able to savor it. He's certainly earned that.

Tags: 2008, Al Gore, Democratic Politics, Wes Clark, Wesley Clark (all tags)

Comments

49 Comments

Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

He would've been such a great President.. ugh..

by falcon4e 2007-01-27 12:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Oh, the pessimism! Al Gore will be a great president, in just under 2 years time.

by Alex Urevick 2007-01-27 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

he's already said he's not running in 08 - the question of the presidency is one of whom you would choose out of the announced field I am sorry to say

by heyAnita 2007-01-29 02:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

If he jumps in,he has my support.

by Litvak36 2007-01-27 01:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

He's looking better all the time!

by rggedat 2007-01-27 01:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Well, neither of the two Democrats who I most want to win the nomination, (Wes Clark and Al Gore in that order) have declared certain interest in running.  Wes Clark at least is not making discouraging noises.  He will be speaking at a Nevada Democratic event on the 27th along with Bill Richardson, and Clark will also be speaking at the DNC Winter Meeting a few days later.  

Al Gore and Wes Clark both have the seasoning, leadership skills, and international standing that America needs right now.  

Al Gore though is far less of a beloved political figure outside of core Democratic grassroots activist circles than he is inside them, and unlike with Clark, that can't be blamed on lack of sufficient exposure.  I think Gore still has to somehow shake the "Jimmy Carter Syndrome" if he wants to win another Presidential race.  With the General Public, Al Gore is viewed much more positively for his activites after he left partisan politics than he is for his contributions as a political leader.

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-01-27 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

I have little time for candidates that aren't in the race. If they want to be president they should act like it now, not hope to enter the race at the last minute in the expectation that they will be welcomed with open arms by more than just their most devoted supporters; they won't.

They should get a team together, raise the funds, make their case, and prove themselves worthy of the nomination. If Gore beats HRC, Edwards and Obama in the primaries then we will know he is different beast to the 2000 version.

To date, Al Gore looks like everyone's ideal president but few people's ideal candidate. His performance in 2000 was poor. The turnout was low, his opponent was a joke, the whole Nader thing was incompetence on a grand scale given how Gore is perceived now; why didn't he win over the extreme left before the election rather than years later?

I have a great deal of respect for Gore and Kerry. They are both honourable men. But as presidential candidates they weren't tough enough. In simple terms they were bullied by the ruthless right.

Maybe Gore is a changed man. But if he wants to be president he has to make the effort. So far it looks like he has left the political world; fair enough.

by kundalini 2007-01-27 04:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

I know, it's not like Gore has any experience building and running a presidential campaign. And hey, the election is only 12 months away, if he hasn't announced yet then there is no hope!

by Alex Urevick 2007-01-27 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

But the point is that his previous campaigns have been unimpressive. On the campaign trail he has been poor. Personally, I wouldn't hand him the nomination without him proving he can win a fight.

Edwards is a serious candidate. HRC is a serious candidate. Even Obama seems to be turning into a somewhat serious candidate.

Gore should have crushed Bush in 2000. But he didn't. If he wants to win in 2008 he should be running now; he isn't.

I think he would be a great president but on the campaign trail he's been useless. What has changed?

by kundalini 2007-01-27 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Gore should have crushed Bush in 2000.

Gore was dealt a bad hand by the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment. As a result, he started as an underdog trailing Bush by double digits all of 1999. Media attacks began in earnest in mid-99 and continued on for the most part rest of the way. You will find a lot of information on that and other factors in play in a rather complex election that was the 2000 presidential race in this writeup with many links and analyses:


The 2000 Presidential election: A Synopsis

Clinton got impeached (he shouldn't have been, but he was reckless in the first place and he got caught lying to the American public when he wagged his finger and said he had "no sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky"; and any good friend would do, Gore supported Clinton when the latter needed his help), made Gore pay the price with double-digit deficits, media screwed democracy over, Nader (whose important contributions in the 60s and 70s I respect, and who recently had pleasant meeting with Gore) mischaracterized Gore in 2000 and allowed himself to be used as a GOP-pawn and forced Gore to write-off TN and other southern states in the final weeks.

Still Gore won the popular vote, and won Florida, fought for 35 days to get all the votes counted, withdrew in disagreement when no recourse was left following the supreme court verdict and the DNC chairman called on him to concede, and nearly 80% of Americans wanted Gore to concede should the Supreme Court rule against him.

See here for more:


~~~~~~~~

On the campaign trail he has been poor.

He came back from double-digit deficits to win the election. A bad campaign couldn't have done that.

Personally, I wouldn't hand him the nomination without him proving he can win a fight.

Was Gore fighting all of the last 5-6 years since it became clear where the Bush/Cheney Regime was headed? When people like Edwards were busy hawking the war (Bill Clinton was also explicitly supportive of the war, and as we know, HRC didn't have too much problem voting for it), Gore stood in the line of fire to oppose the catastrophic blunder that was the unnecessary and pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

I am posting a list of Gore's speeches and other audio/video/text for the benefit of the readers, but I ask you to watch Gore's MLK-day speech therein to see that he can fight, and do so using powerful arguments that transcend petty partisan nonsense and invoke solid foundational precepts and concepts:


A Collection of Speeches by Al Gore

Other Videos

If he wants to win in 2008 he should be running now; he isn't.

That's your viewpoint. I think there is some truth to it, but the overall picture is probably best assessed by Al Gore himself.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

I do take your point that the circumstances in 2000 were somewhat extraordinary and Gore had a lot of tough choices to make. Yes he did fight back from a big deficit and of course he would have won the election but for Florida.

I was using the term "crushed" in the sense of a superior candidate overwhelming a weaker candidate rather than a huge electoral victory. The republicans behave brutally towards our candidates, we do not. 2000 was a prime example of a year when we should have let people see what Bush was really like. Ideally this should be the media's role but I think we've gone past the point of hoping they'd perform this particular duty.

Gore is my ideal president. I'd like him to run seriously and win. But he'll have to show himself to be a very different animal on the campaign trail if he is to make it to the White House.

by kundalini 2007-01-27 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

NuevoLiberal:

Thanks for the compendium - there's a couple there I missed.

The MLK-day speech at Constitution Hall was, so far, the speech of the decade by anyone.

My my, how the man has grown.  There's nobody else I'll get out on the streets for, come campaign season.  At my age, that's a lot of pain - and no other candidate has earned that from me.  But I'll carry coffee for Gore.

Everything I've got is crossed, hoping he'll run - and I do what I can.

Best of luck to all of us.  We need it.

JF

by Jaime Frontero 2007-01-28 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

First of all, I don't see how you can claim that "Gore should have crushed Bush". IMO that is fantasy talk, as no candidate has crushed his opponant (without a third party spoiler) since Bush the Elder beat Dukakis, and Gore, uh, WON both the popular and electoral vote.

Second, what exactly are you basing your opinion of his uselessness upon? I'm not saying that I think Gore ran a great campaign, and there were some obvious blunders along the way (distancing himself from Clinton, allowing his advisors to over coach him, not speaking from his own convictions, etc), but he certainly ran a good campaign, as his victory should prove.

Anyway, hate on Gore all you like, but you'll soon be hating on President Gore...

by Alex Urevick 2007-01-27 09:31AM | 0 recs
Alex,

I agree with most of your points, but on "distancing himself from Clinton", first, Gore did stand by Clinton as far as the impeachment proceedings went. He chose to keep a distance for the purposes of his campaign, but that's because Clinton was grossly unpopular "as a person" (in the 60-67% unfavorable range; and 60% in 2000 exit polls; both Clinton and Gore had high job approval ratings, in the 60% range for the most part), and poll after poll showed Clinton scandal and impeachment being a drag on the Gore campaign. Please see a thorough treatment with a lot of data and analysis at this dKos thread: On the Clinton scandal impact on the 2000 election.  When I find the time, I'll post a diary on this when I find some time. Thanks.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

That's quite the ignorant comment.  He isn't hating on Gore.  He is saying if Gore is going to run, he needs to start running.  With all the money HRC is looking to raise, it is probably true at this point.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-01-27 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

good point re. money, yitbos. Although as Joe Trippi recently said, Gore could stand to riase quite a bit  once he enters the race in various ways including the netroots, some realistic assessment and judgement by Gore on this would be helpful if he is thinking about running.

My recommendation of Alex's comment was not for the last sentence in his comment.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Do you know what "hatin on" means? It's hardly an "ignorant" statement...

by Alex Urevick 2007-01-27 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

I was using the term "crushed" in the sense of a superior candidate overwhelming an inferior one rather than a huge electoral victory. The Republicans behave brutally towards our candidates yet we do not. In 2000 George Bush was a weak candidate.

by kundalini 2007-01-27 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

2000 is not the only time Gore has run. So far he has not impressed on the campaign trail in the primaries or in the presidential election. Maybe the term useless is harsh but in a low turnout election in 2000, Bush stole the election from Gore. Sadly, that says as much about Gore (2000 version) as it does about Bush.

by kundalini 2007-01-27 02:38PM | 0 recs
Gore won ALL counties in 1990 TN-Sen reelection

2000 is not the only time Gore has run.

1988 pres. was warm-up run at the age of 38. doesn't really count.

Now, Gore won 4 elections for the US house (nope, his father's push was kind of negative, as the elder Gore had lost his senate seat by then, primarily because of his voice against thw Vietnam war and his support for civil rights), 2 elections for the US senate, all from "red state" TN.

So far he has not impressed on the campaign trail in the primaries or in the presidential election.

Gore helped Clinton heavily in 1992, espcially so in the south. He won the 2000 primary by winning ALL the states in the union.

Now, here is the clincher: Gore won the TN-Sen reeection with a lanslide 68% of the vote and an all-county victory in Tennessee:


US SENATE: Tennessee

General Election Results:
-------------------------
1984  Gore             61%
      Victor Ashe      34%
      Ed McAteer        5%

1990  Gore             68%
      William Hawkins  30%

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 02:55PM | 0 recs
To kundalini and Al Gore

Hi kundalini, here is a good instance how Gore fought back well soundly when the whitehouse attempted to undermine Gore's powerful speech on wiretaps last year, as posted by Kos.


Gore fires back
by kos
Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 03:07:07 PM PST

Every time the White House responds to Gore, they extend the story for another 24 hours. Let's hope they keep it up.

Al Gore's response to Scottie's and Alberto's lies:


    The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program. The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.

   There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.

   Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs -- even though factually wrong -- ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.

   The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.

   The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program.



My message to VP Al Gore and his staff: please be as swift and responsive every time a new attack comes your way.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: To kundalini and Al Gore

I very much agree with you. Gore appears to be a changed man and I would imagine that is why he has so much support amongst the netroots.

All I am saying is that if he wants to be president he should be running now. HRC wants to be president she's running, McCain wants to be president and he's running. Like them or hate them, both are serious candidates. Now I would say neither are quite in the calibre of Gore nor are they joke candidates. There's a good reason the heavyweights are already running, that's because they believe that's what it takes. Maybe they're wrong but somehow I doubt it.

I believe that Gore has changed. But I need him to demonstrate it over a period of time on the campaign trail. The primaries will start in Jan 2008 and probably have finished by late Feb 2008. Gore might well be the best candidate but can he really afford to give serious contenders a head start?

by kundalini 2007-01-27 02:23PM | 0 recs
Response

Tom, long response as a cumulative response to your comment and the diary.

Please excuse any typos below.

1. Gore was an active and engaged Vice President in a successful Democratic administration (hence he already knows how to govern) and as we know, he won the presidential race (sans SCOTUS interjection), hence he doesn't need to go through the qualifying round vetting process.

2. On the issues, his 2000 platform already lays out a solidly progressive and populist agenda. A major improvement on healthcare since then being, in 2002, Gore called for drafting a single-payer universal healthcare plan

"I was planning to wait and make a major speech on this and I probably should, but I'll just answer your question candidly," Gore told the moderator.

Gore's comments Wednesday night were first reported by ABC News' Internet political report "The Note" and were confirmed by Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera, who said any details would come in a future speech on health care.

"I think we've reached a point where the entire health care system is in impending crisis," Gore said. "I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we should begin drafting a single-payer national health insurance plan."

3. On the war, we know that he boldly and courageously put himself in the line of fire to offer a leading and prominent opposition to the war.

Gore's speech against the war, 9/23/2002
         Former Vice President Al Gore
          Iraq and the War on Terrorism
          September 23, 2002
          Prepared Remarks

         "If Saddam Hussein does not present an imminent threat, then is it justifiable for the Administration to be seeking by every means to precipitate a confrontation, to find a cause for war, and to attack?"

              "I believe we should focus our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and have thus far gotten away with it. "

              "the coalition assembled in 1991 paid all of the significant costs of the war, while this time, the American taxpayers will be asked to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in costs on our own."

~~~~~~~~~~

     Hardball College Tour: Al Gore

     Dec. 11, 9 p.m. ET Lehman College, The City University of New York
       Updated: 3:25 a.m. CT Nov 26, 2002

     MATTHEWS: But you would have voted against it.

     GORE: I would have voted against that resolution. I would have voted against it.

~~~~~~~~~~

   posted October 3, 2002 (October 21, 2002 issue)
    Al Gore, democrat

   Eric Alterman

The nexus of the punditocracy's twin "love war/hate Gore" obsessions helps to explain the astonishing explosion of invective unleashed by Gore's calm and soberly delivered warning in San Francisco--one that echoed the underreported testimony of three four-star generals given to Congress the same day.

The New York Post headlined its editorial, "Al Gore, Wimp." Sean Hannity observed, "He's sweating profusely.... He didn't look presidential. I didn't see any gravitas, any leadership," and added, "Are we watching something similar to appeasement before our eyes?" ABC's George Will called the speech "moral infantilism." His Washington Post sidekick, Charles Krauthammer, called it "a disgrace." Their colleague Michael Kelly penned a column that makes Ann Coulter sound like Isaiah Berlin. Kelly termed the speech "dishonest, cheap, low," "hollow," "wretched," "vile," "contemptible," "a lie," "a disgrace," "equal parts mendacity, viciousness and smarm" before running out of adjectives. (If the Post really wants this kind of thing, they should consider replacing the barking-mad Kelly with our prodigal son, Christopher, who at least bashes liberals with a bit of style and panache.)

...

But he sure galvanized Tom Daschle and other Democrats to face up to a frightening juggernaut for war they would have preferred to duck for the sake of re-election. Naderites take note. It was not "smart" in the Washington sense. It was not strategic. But damn it, it was brave. The victim of a stolen presidency demonstrated why democracy matters.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Politics of Preemption

By Sam Parry
October 8, 2002

George W. Bush's doctrine of "preemptive war" -- the elimination of foreign governments he deems a threat to U.S. security interests -- is quickly developing a domestic corollary. Any politician who questions Bush’¡Çs strategy can expect to be confronted by a rapid-deployment force of pro-Bush operatives who counterattack using weapons of ridicule and distortion.

In a kind of test run, this army swung onto the offensive immediately after former Vice President Al Gore on Sept. 23 delivered a comprehensive critique of Bush's radical departure from decades of American support for international law. Rather than welcome a vigorous debate on the merits and shortcomings of the so-called "Bush Doctrine," conservative commentators treated Gore and others raising questions as dishonest, unpatriotic and even unhinged

~~~~~~~~~~

As a direct result of these attacks, Gore's favorables fell dramatically:

Before the speech (8/6-7/02): Gore 51% favorable, 38 unfavorable
After the speech (10/22-23/02): Gore 37% favorable, 51% unfavorable

i.e. Gore suffered a swing of 27 point in net favorables (fav-unfav).

Now, he has been vindicated thoroughly on the war. But, people do need to be reminded that he opposed the war as strongly as he did back before it began.

4. Should he decide to enter the race, he will then have to lay out his views and vision on the important issues of the day. I think that most of us that have now come to know his political leanings better understand that he would do the right thing in an executive capacity.

Al Gore though is far less of a beloved political figure outside of core Democratic grassroots activist circles than he is inside them, and unlike with Clark, that can't be blamed on lack of sufficient exposure.

You are right in that he is the overwhelming choice for the Democratic grassroots and netroots activists. As you know, Gore got 57% of the vote in a December Daily Kos straw poll: Gore (57%), Obama (12%), Clark (12%), HRC (2%) (14374 Total Votes).

He is currently drawing only about 10% in nationwide primary field polls, but that probably has a lot to do with his not being in the race at the moment. I expect that he will take the lead the race in a month or two after entering the race, if and when he does enter the race.

Next, after 2000 (we all know the wringer he had been through in 1999 and 2000 with the media spins and smears), his numbers suffered precisely because he (along with, most prominently, Dean, Feingold and Conyers), was one of the most prominent and consistent opponents to the Bush-Cheney Cartel's maladministration over the past 6 years (well before it became safe and politically beneficial to criticize Bush), including, as shown above, when he opposed the war.

However, all told, Gore is doing quite well in 2008 matchup polls (i.e. among the general electorate) for someone that is currently not in the race:


    CNN 12/15-17

   Gore (47%), McCain (46%)
    Clinton - McCain 47 - 47%
    Barack Obama - McCain 43 - 47%

   Clinton - Guiliani 48 - 45%
    Gore (46%), Giuliani (46%)
    Barack Obama - Guiliani 42 - 49%

   Gore (53%), Romney (37%)
    Barack Obama - Romney 51 - 35%
    Clinton - Romney 57 - 34%

   ------

   Latest Rasmussen

McCain (44%) Obama (47%)
McCain (43%) Edwards (46%)
McCain (49%) Clinton (45%)
McCain (43%) Richardson (39%)
McCain (49%) Gore (44%)
McCain (49%) Vilsack (42%)
McCain (48%) Biden (36%)
McCain (51%) Clark (33%)
McCain (52%) Dodd (33%)

Giuliani (46%) Gore (43%)
Giuliani (47%) Clinton (43%)
Giuliani (49%) Edwards (41%)
Giuliani (44%) Dodd (39%)
Giuliani (50%) Obama (39%)
Giuliani (49%) Richardson (34%)
Giuliani (54%) Biden (35%)
Giuliani (56%) Vilsack (28%)

Romney (32%) Edwards (54%)
Romney (35%) Obama (48%)
Romney (39%) Gore (50%)
Romney (41%) Clinton (49%)
Romney (35%) Vilsack (39%)

Gingrich (36%) Gore (52%)
Gingrich (38%) Obama (48%)
Gingrich (41%) Clinton (50%)

Compare and contrast that with the double-digit deficits (vs Bush) that plagued Gore all of 1999, thanks, unfortunately, to the Lewinsky scandal and how the Republicans milked it.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 07:36AM | 0 recs
one addition to the healthcare issue

In his convention speech, Gore said:


And what are those changes? At a time when most Americans will live to know even their great grandchildren, we will save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, not only for this generation but for generations to come. At a time of almost unimaginable medical breakthroughs, we will fight for affordable health care for all, so patients end ordinary people are not left powerless and broke. We will move toward universal health coverage, step by step, starting with all children.

(APPLAUSE)

Let's get all children covered by 2004.


which was already a pretty decent agenda in 2000. But, as mentioned above, in 2002, Gore called for drafting a single-payer universal healthcare plan.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Response

Hi NL

Well as you probably realize I am walking a different line here than you.  For you, Al Gore is your man, period, and if I were you I would also use a diary like this to respond exactly the way that you did, to make the best case possbile that Al Gore should be the Democratic nominee.  But as you know,I don't believe that, because I think Wes Clark should be the Democratic nominee instead.  If I am going to make a strong case for anyone, it will be for Clark.

Having said that, neither you nor I know if either of the men that we favor will even enter the race for sure. Though both of us seem to believe that our respective guys will enter, we do not know that with certainty.  You know where I stand on Al Gore now, he clearly became my second choice once Russ Feingold decided not to run. So I have no interest is arguing against Gore's chances to win both the nomination and the election, since I may later end up in the exact same position that you are in now, advocating for Al Gore.  

NL, you and I meet more frequently over at Kos.  I made a conscious choice to post this Diary here instead of at Kos because it is my impression that fewer posters here use Diaries as excuses for simplistic pep rallies.  The last thing that I wanted to do, as someone who supports Wes Clark for the Democratic nomination, is trigger off any kind of potential shouting match between Clark and Gore supporters by posting this Diary at a place where that was likely to happen.

So the line I walk here is trickier for me than you. I tried to made my point, now mostly I'm standing back.  I didn't write this as either a Pro or Anti Gore Diary, mostly I wanted to discuss the current dynamic, before it changes if Gore enters the race. My main observaton that Gore is still perched high above the current fray holds true whether you discuss the electorate as a whole, Democratic Voters in general, or netroots activists specifically.  

I disagree that the vast majority of netroots participants know all of Gore's main positions, and that most of them know enough about Al Gore to trust that he will essentially always do the right thing.  That is true for Gore's substantial core support, but not necessarily beyond that.  

For example many Democrats haven't revisited the fact that Al Gore once was a leading Democratic advocate for N.A.F.T.A., assuming that they know that at all.  Some younger activists may well not know that.  Many who profess support for Gore do so becauee of the stance he took against the Iraq war before it started.  Some don't know that Gore has resisted calling for any fixed timeline for removing U.S. forces from Iraq now, and that might trouble some once that becomes more widely knowm.  Believe me I know, I deal with that as a Clark supporter all of the time.

With the general public, Gore has carved out a new identity as a defender of the Earth's ecology, and a lot of people respect that about Al Gore, and that is pretty much all that they really are hearing about concerning Al Gore at this moment.  DVD's of "An Inconvenient Truth" were a farily hot holiday shopping gift even.  

It is called good press, and it allows Al Gore to stay focused on his meaningful, but also winning, message about Gloibal Warming.  I think some of that is also reflected in the current mainstream polls. Al Gore is right in the middle of a period of predominantly good press, while "An Inconvenient Truth" is on almost everyone's minds or will be soon with the Acedemy Awards ceremony coning up.  And Al Gore is taking no shots from opponents for making the type of comments that an active campaigner for President has to make daily, which his rivals then have to take apart daily.

That's why I chose the title that I did for this Diary.  It is a Golden moment and I do hope Al Gore gets to savor it.  But it would be against the spirit of what I chose to do in posting this Diary to now get into a debate with you over why I think Wes Clark would be a better candidate for the Democrats to nominate than Al Gore would be.  Al Gore would be a fine candidate for the Democrats to nominate.

I have no problem with you using replies to this Diary to argue for Al Gore, nor would I have problems with anyone supporting Clark here doing so either, obviously.  But I am curious if any others here see the same moment frozen in time that I do: Al Gore above but also on the brink of the political fray, his final role in the public debate on issues of our time yet to be finally determined, and his status in the public mind thus open for revision also.

by Tom Rinaldo 2007-01-27 11:44AM | 0 recs
Yes!

that is a much more cogent summary of what I have thought all along--the fervent, enthusiastic support for Gore is simply premature.  He might prove to be a spectacular candidate, and he might not.  Proffering him as a panacea, however, is probably not the right thing to do right now.  I withhold my opinion of him until he actually runs.

by Valatan 2007-01-27 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Response

Tom, no time at the moment to respond at length (i.e. line by line), but briefly, Gore's economic policy is apparently based on a socially and environmentally responsible pro-growth philosophy.

As with any significant policy measure (which in many cases are of trial-and-error nature), NAFTA does need to be reviewed and made to protect labor and environment better. Gore called for a full review of a trade deals and promised stronger protections in his 2000 platform: "And a Gore Administration will insist that in all appropriate trade agreements negotiated, labor and environmental standards will be addressed in the agreement itself."

The primary complaint about NAFTA has to do with jobs. On the jobs front and overall economy-wise, Clinton/Gore had tremendous successes, including 22 million new jobs being created, and that's the bottomline for their jobs record.


Clinton-Gore economic accomplishments

- 22 million net new jobs

  • lowered of unemployment from 7.5% to 4%
  • real wage growth of 6.8% (after adjusting to inflation)
  • turned record deficits into record surpluses
  • record low African American unemployment
  • lowered unemployment among Hispanics from 11.6 percent in 1992 to 5.4 percent in April 2000 (lowest rate on record)
  • lowest unemployment rate for women since 1953
  • increase in manufacturing jobs by 391 thousand
  • increase in IT jobs by 1 million (roughly half of which survived even the Bush's outsourced "economy")
  • a two-step minimum wage increase in 96/97 from $4.25 to $5.15

Gore promised another increase of $1 in minimum wage, and would have given few more raises following it.

No one currently or potentially in the running, and with a legitimate shot at the nomination has called for repealing NAFTA. In particular, Edwards' stands on this DO NOT really distinguish him from others. The same probably applies to Clark as well.

But, because of his experience in working to get results on the economic front and globla warming, I believe that Gore would do a much better job of fixing trade deals than any other prospect out there, while working with the global warming abatement and the overall economy matters simultaneously.

Or Iraq, he said that if he had all the information from the ground at hand, he would work to bring home the troops as soon as possible, while trying not to make the situation worse. That's where, given his firm and valiant opposition to the war in the first place as I detailed above (which germinates the trust factor), tells us that if he were the commander-in-chief, he would do just that.

For you, Al Gore is your man, period

I should clarify something here. My defense of Gore has little to do with the presidential race. It's instead mainly motivated by a pursuit of making the political dialogue truthful and honest (you may have noted my defending Clark sometimes, when the attacks are unfounded). It tends to get specialized as being mostly for Gore, because there are a lot of false memes that get circulated about him, and they have long shelf lives precisely because he has not been a politician for the last 6 years (is busy trying to save the planet) to ward off the memes.

And, that's where your implication that he is not being subjected to "intramural" partisan exchange does not hold. There is a LOT of stuff coming from MANY quesrters that a lot of us voluntary Gore supporters have to set the record straight on, regularly.

As for 2008, I consider him to be best suited for the job  of the Presidency at the current moment based on a rigorous assessment of his career, writings and speeches and because the next President will be called upon to bring to bear experience, knowledge and command on a wide range of issues, and Gore has that breadth and the depth of repertoire. And, a bold and broad vision would then pave for a sound century ahead.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

please remember the primary gore vs bradley and how dispicable that was. gore's group lied and belittled one of our finest democrats. gore got what he deserved and the nation has suffered for it. bradley would have beat bush on integrity alone.

by jimd681 2007-01-27 07:47AM | 0 recs
how pitifully petty!

I don't think that the primary was all that bad. Gore critiqued Bradley on the latter's platform. I have a hunch that, if asked, Sen. Bradley, being a patriotic American and a solid Democrat, would pick Al Gore over any of the current prospects for the 2008 presidential race.

IMO and evidently, the nation and the planet are at a crucial juncture, calling for a competent and experienced visionary like Al Gore to lead.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 08:25AM | 0 recs
being a loyal Democrat,

he probably wouldn't take sides at this insanely early juncture of a presidential primary.

by Valatan 2007-01-27 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

I'm just waiting for Oscar night. If An Inconenient Truth wins one of the two nominations (or even both) it will be so sweet.

by misscee 2007-01-27 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

See, folks, it's like this:

For Al Gore to commit to a race is not quite the same thing as for certain others to do so. Because if Al Gore commits, he will not back down.

by blues 2007-01-27 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

oscar or no oscar, al gore is a loser for us. bush,a guy whose first language is texasese, embarassed gore in the debates. made him look like a petty whiner. his brilliant move of having his daughter run part of his campaign. not having clinton involved, moving his campaign headquarters, the list goes on. he didn't lose he gave it away. any nominee who starts off with calif, new jersey and new york in your pocket has no business losing with or without florida. this election is too important to bet on a guy with that much baggage. we are much better off with him on the side lines, oscar in hand,taking pot shots at the opposition. he'd be a hell of a spokesman

by jimd681 2007-01-27 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

bush,a guy whose first language is texasese, embarassed gore in the debates. made him look like a petty whiner.

No he didn't. A Gore won all the three debates on substance and won 1st and 3rd debates in polls taken 2 days after the debates. Yes, he made a couple of stylistic mistakes, but the net result of the debates (as measured by th exit polls) was a slight positive for Gore.

not having clinton involved

Clinton was radio-active in 1999 and 2000. Here is a sampler:


Clinton's unfavorables were in the 60-67% range in 1999 and 2000:
WaPo Polls
 29. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Bill Clinton as a person?

               Favorable   Unfavorable
10/22/00  LV       33           60
9/6/00    RV       35           62
8/20/00   RV       35           61
1/26/00            34           61
12/15/99  RV       32           65
9/2/99             38           59
3/14/99            30           67
12/15/98           41           56
11/1/98   LV       37           60



Election day exit polls
  • Clinton UNfavorable as a person for 60% of the voters
  • Clinton's lowest unfavorable ratings among the 12 closest finishing states: 56% UNfavorable.


Clinton campaign effort could hurt Gore more than help, poll suggests

CNN, From staff and wire reports
October 24, 2000

Among independent voters, the net loss for Gore could be far greater: Gallup's survey indicated that 45 percent of independents would be less likely to vote for the vice president if Clinton were to campaign for him, while only 10 percent said they would be more likely to support Gore. Another 37 percent of independents said Clinton's efforts would make no difference.
Read more


A lot more information here: On the Clinton scandal impact on the 2000 election.

moving his campaign headquarters, the list goes on

blah, blah.

he didn't lose he gave it away

False. Gore started off with these double-digit deficits:


NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R)

Date        Gore    Bush    unsure/other

12/9-12/99     39     50     11    
10/23-25/99     39     49     12    
9/9-12/99     35     52     13    
7/24-26/99     37     50     13    
6/16-19/99     36     51     13   
4/17-19/99     35     53     12    
3/4-7/99     34     52     14    
12/3-6/98     40     50     10   
10/24-27/98     40     48     12       
9/10-13/98     39     49     12   
6/18-21/98     40     44     16   
4/18-20/98     41     44     15   
9/97        45     39     16


Data source: pollingreport.com archive
Before the Lewinsky scandal: Gore led by 6 points
After the Lewinsky scandal: Gore trailed by 18 points
Net swing from the scandal: 24 points against Gore

and won. Since you have seen the evidence, henceforth, it would be a lie for you to repeat the spin.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

1. The "grassroots activist Democrats" didn't like Al Gore in 2000 and that lack of enthusiasm for Gore in 2000 could be said to be what caused Gore to lose.

2. As others have pointed out, Gore lost an election he should have won..even Bush Jr was surprised. The debacle of distancing himself from Clinton, the Elian Gonzalez debacle where he declared himself firmly on the fence (he lost 5% the week following that lack of honesty). His choice of Leiberman vs.Bob Graham as VP when it would have cemented FL.

It's only been since losing, as Gore dropped the facade he put on for 2000, and became more himself, that he has gained popularity with clear stands on Iraq and global warming.  The decision to put on the facade is what cost him 2000.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-27 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Don't you support Lieberman and McCain? That's the impression I recall from your earlier comments. I have seen your diaries about Obama. You do recall that Obama supported Lieberman for the primary in 2006 CT-Sen don't you?

Rest of the response below to "jimd" (potentially your sock-puppet, I have an intuitive hunch as being the case).

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

"Don't you support Lieberman and McCain?"

Do I?

"That's the impression I recall from your earlier comments."

Is it?

"I have seen your diaries about Obama."

Have you?

"Rest of the response below to "jimd" (potentially your sock-puppet, I have an intuitive hunch as being the case)."

Do you?

by BrionLutz 2007-01-27 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment


"Don't you support Lieberman and McCain?"

Do I?

yeah, i am pretty sure about Lieberman, but probably also McCain.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-28 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

thanks brion. leiberman was huge factor

by jimd681 2007-01-27 03:25PM | 0 recs
Response.

I think that the Lieberman choice helped Gore in Florida (before the recounts) and may have helped with the national media as well (which is hard to measure).

As such, Lieberman was a middle of the road Democrat with a "moderate" record by 2000 (about 80% ADA ratings and a liberal record on the environment, abortion and civil rights except video games and other crap like that).

And, Lieberman pledged to abide by Gore's modern progressive populist platform. He changed colors somewhat on that later, but he did praise and present Gore in a very good light in the VP debate (which I think was helpful).

Lieberman did do damage to Gore during the FL recounts  by essentially siding with the Bush campaign, and that's probably the time when he turned the tables. Lieberman colors became truly visible AFTER 2000 when he hawked the war (along with Edwards and several other Dems) and later became even more egregious by becoming Bush's sock-puppet, and McCain Bosom Buddy.

Gore endorsed Dean over Lieberman and Edwards mainly because Dean opposed the war. And, Dean. I know the next talking point and so let me answer it before it comes:


Newsweek national poll

by kos
Sat Dec 13, 2003 at 07:24:21 PM PST

Newsweek has a new national poll post-Gore endorsement, and the results are as expected. Dean got the big boost. MoE +/- 6%. (11/6-7 results in parenthesis)

 
    Dean 24 (16)
    Don't Know 14 (21)
    Clark 12 (15)
    Lieberman 12 (8)
    Gephardt 10 (9)
    Sharpton 5 (4)
    Kerry 5 (7)
    Edwards 5 (6)
    Braun 3 (7)
    Other 3 (1)
    Kucinich 2 (2)

Kerry and Edwards are at the Sharpton line, quite embarrassing. Lieberman may have gotten a pity boost after his whining about the Gore "betrayal". As for Clark, who knows?

Dean fell because the "establishment" (including Clintonites), DLC, and their dirty politics machine ganged up on Dean (eg, with the Dean/Osama ads by shadowy groups, projecting Dean as the "angry far-left wacko", etc), and Saddam's capture both undermined temporarily Dean's anti-war message and his statement that "US was no safer from the capture" was twisted out of shape by everyone that wanted to see Dean go away.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-27 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Response.

"Dean fell because the "establishment" (including Clintonites), DLC, and their dirty politics machine ganged up on Dean."

Ah..them evil doers.

Dean lost because Democratic voters didn't voter for him.

Gore lost because he tried to be something he wasn't and he came across as contrived, something Gore admitted after the election.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-27 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Response.

Dean lost because Democratic voters didn't voter for him.

DLC/Clintonite honchos attacked Dean relentlessly and formed shadowy groups that aired Dean/Osama tv ads in Iowa. If people weren't going to vote him, why go to all that trouble?

Gore lost because he tried to be something he wasn't and he came across as contrived, something Gore admitted after the election.

Gore won. He got some bad advice, but probably also got some good advice. He did pull from double digit deficits to win, as I have established above.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-28 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Response.

Dean lost because Democrats didn't vote for him.

Get over it.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-28 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

"leiberman was huge factor"

It was Gore's failure to name Bob Graham as his VP that cost him FL, not Lieberman's fault for not carrying FL. Though considering the Jewish vote you'd think Gore would have had Lieberman spend the last week in FL campaigning.

But the suggestion that anyone other than Gore lost the election is ludicrous. He ran a bad campaign and he never ran as himself. It was Gore's biggest regret after the campaign.

He had a chance to run on the issues that mattered to him and failed to do it.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-28 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

Blah, blah, blah. Gore ran a decent campaign to come from behind and win, despite long odds not of his making.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-28 07:48AM | 0 recs
asdf

He had a chance to run on the issues that mattered to him and failed to do it.

Gore ran essentially what he wanted to run on. Here are portions of his convention speech and debates that tell us the thrust of his campaign.

From Gore's convention speech:


    For almost eight years now, I've been the partner of a leader who moved us out of the valley of recession and into the longest period of prosperity in American history. I say to you tonight, millions of Americans will live better lives for a long time to come because of the job that's been done by President Bill Clinton.

   (APPLAUSE)

   Instead of the biggest deficits in history, we now have the biggest surpluses, the highest home ownership ever, the lowest inflation in a generation, and instead of losing jobs, we now have 22 million good new jobs, higher family incomes.

   (APPLAUSE)

   Above all, our success comes from you the people who have worked hard for your families. But let's not forget that a few years ago you were also working hard. But your hard work then, was undone by a government that didn't work, didn't put people first, and wasn't on your side. Together, we changed things to help unleash your potential, and unleash innovation and investment in the private sector, the engine that drives our economic growth. And our progress on the economy is a good chapter in our history.

   (APPLAUSE)

   But now we turn the page and write a new chapter. And that's what I want to speak about tonight. This election is not an award for past performance. I'm not asking you to vote for me on the basis of the economy we have. Tonight I ask for your support on the basis of the better, fairer, more prosperous America we can build together.

   (APPLAUSE)

   Together, let's make sure that our prosperity enriches not just the few, but all working families. Let's invest in health care, education, a secure retirement and middle-class tax cuts.

   I'm happy that the stock market has boomed and so many businesses and new enterprises have done well. This country is richer and stronger. But my focus is on working families, people trying to make house payments and car payments, working overtime to save for college and do right by their kids.

...

And you have my word: We will honor hard work by raising the minimum wage so that work always pays more than welfare.


A very constructive, progressive and populist platform. And, global warming WAS on Gore's platform prominently in 2000.

Gore in his Nom. acceptance speech:

And I say it again tonight: We must reverse the silent rising tide of global warming, and we can.

2nd Pres. debate:

GORE: I do. I think that in this 21st century we will soon see the consequences of what's called global warming. There was a study just a few weeks ago suggesting that in summertime the north polar ice cap will be completely gone in 50 years.

GORE: I'm really strongly committed to clean water and clean air, and cleaning up the new kinds of challenges like global warming. He is right that I'm not in favor of energy taxes. I am in favor of tax cuts to encourage and give incentives for the quicker development of these new kinds of technologies.

GORE: Well, that vote wasn't exactly -- a lot of the supporters of the Kyoto Treaty actually ended up voting for that because the way it was worded. But there's no doubt there's a lot of opposition to it in the Senate. I'm not for command and control techniques either. I'm for working with the groups, not just with industry but also with the citizen groups and local communities to control sprawl in ways that the local communities themselves come up with. But I disagree that we don't know the cause of global warming. I think that we do. It's pollution, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals that are even more potent, but in smaller quantities, that cause this. Look, the world's temperature is going up, weather patterns are changing, storms are getting more violent and unpredictable. What are we going to tell our children? I'm a grandfather now. I want to be able to tell my grandson when I'm in my later years that I didn't turn away from the evidence that showed that we were doing some serious harm. In my faith tradition, it is -- it's written in the book of Matthew, "Where your heart is, there is your treasure also." And I believe that -- that we ought to recognize the value to our children and grandchildren of taking steps that preserve the environment in a way that's good for them.

youTube Video: Gore'2000 Ad on global warming (a must watch)

Gore emphassized what he wanted to emphassize, and a ran a decent enough campaign to overcome substantial odds and win the popular vote, and most likely the electoral college as well.

by NuevoLiberal 2007-01-28 08:10AM | 0 recs
Gore's thoughts on losing

"Gore ran essentially what he wanted to run on."

Not according to Gore.  After he lost, his main regrett was not running as himself. He ran as the creation of the campaign. Taking stands and making comments based upon polls and committee vs. his gut.


If he had it to do over again, he said, he wouldn't listen to polls or political consultants. He'd just pour out "my heart." "I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously."

It cost him the election.

The clearest example was when he failed to take stand on the Elian Gonzalez case, stating he was solidly on the fence.  He lost 5% points the week following that act of political cowardice. After that, like Kerry in 2004, voters felt they could not trust him because he simply told them what he thought they wanted to hear.

He did the same on Kyoto, backing and filling vs. making a stand on global warming.

by BrionLutz 2007-01-28 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

nuevo. gore is a loser, just like you steadily losing this discussion. i guess that makes you his sock-pocket

by jimd681 2007-01-28 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Al Gore's Golden Moment

sorry nuevo, sock-puppet!

by jimd681 2007-01-28 06:03PM | 0 recs

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