Saturday, October 28, 2006

President Al Gore?

As the environmental issue becomes more and more resonant it seems like the political planets are aligning themselves for an Al Gore Presidential run, no?

Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean at the time, appeared foolish, clumsy. Dean went on to lose the Democratic caucus in Iowa, brought low by the party Establishment (Was the fabled Dean scream really a category 4 political "meltdown"? Or, more likely, a convenient way for the Establishment on Embassy Row to dispose of a bombthrower), thus becoming a folk-hero to the ever-influential progressive bloggers. Then, the bloggers fought back months later, electing Dean to DNC Chair (against the Clinton candidates) where, stealthily, the Scorpionic Dean is working within the halls of power to shatter the DC Establishment in favor of state-level grassroots politics. This is a long, slow process; in retrospect, Gore's endorsement looks uncannily prophetic. Gore, the ultimate insider -- St. Albans, Harvard, Congress -- is the dream candidate of the pajama-clad DC smashers.

The environment, as we alluded to, is growing in importance. Gore avoided the issue entirely in 2000, preferring to run the typical Centrist, vaguely-technocratic poll-oriented candidacy that has been favored by Democratic candidates for President since Jimmy Carter (Fritz Mondale could, arguably, be considered a tad more progressive than Centrist, but only a tad -- and, tellingly, Fritzie was blown out by the Reagan machine in '84).

Now, it seems, is the Progressives turn. After umpteen attempts at the Presidency weilding the Centrist message, only to be trumped by the Rovian charge of seedy Flip-Floppery, The Second Coming of Al Gore seems almost fated. If only he can co-opt the message of character, perhaps dressing it in a lush Environmental Green (The Corsair sips a meaty 2000 Montrachet).

Aside from the noble John Quincy Adams and, possibly, George HW Bush, 41, Gore would be one of the most qualified men to make such a run for The Big Show. He has served in Congress, the Senate, and 8 years as the then-most powerful Vice President ever. And now, most curiously, something rather novel in the curriculum vitae of a politician: A successful businessman. So successful in his mini-medi moguldom, in fact, that it is not inconceivable that Gore could self-finance his campaign entirely even though, considering his rabid online support, he really wouldn't have to. and Dailykos has got his back.

Still, this, interestingly, makes him, perhaps, the only Dem that could on monies and star wattage (Obama is too green, he needs administrative seasoning), put Gore on equal footing with The Billary Juggernaut (tm).

Let;s follow this thought experiment to its logical conclusion. Who would Gore need to counter a, say, McCain-Sam Brownback ticket. Giuliani is going nowhere -- even if Ed Guillespie goes over to his camp after the elections, as WasPost's Kathleen Parker seems to believe. Frankly, Giuliani, with several marriages, including one to his own cousin, will not go over in red-state Peoria. Trsu us, Giuliani wants to run because he believes all politicos have to go with a hot hand; he'd rather just make the run to ratchet us his speaker's fees. The ferociously ambitious yet fetchingly photogenic Mitt Romney will mistily evaporate as a credible threat after next Tuesday's elections and the Republican party faces massive loss of Governorships -- Romney is head of the Republican Governor's Association. This leaves McCain, heir to Bush, inheritor of the Iraq war.

But McCain, too close to the media, is distrusted by red-meat munching Conservatives. So he needs someone -- an ideological babysitter of sorts -- with bona fides to cement the ticket. That, dear readers, will not be Bill Frist, the most incompetent Senate Majority Leader in recent memory (and one fairly reeking of scandal). That leaves Sam Brownback, a formidable and principled Conservative whose historical hero is Samuel Wilberforce, the anti-slavery reformer. McCain-Gingrich is also within the realm of possibilty, but we find it to be disharmonious. (A McCain-Hagel ticket would be McCain's dream, but it is too topheavy with Reformers)

So where does Gore go? Not Hillary, the two really can't stand each other. And, yes, politics can rise above that, but -- roll with me here -- Hillary brings nothing to a Gore ticket, except, maybe Bill, and he'll already have Bill's support if he secures the nomination. Had Hillary run for the senate in Arkansas, maybe.

No -- Obama is still too green and, like Hillary, doesn't bring any flava into the mix (Illinois is solid Dem territory). Evan Bayh might be a contender, he brings Indiana, where he is wildly popular. The problem is that watching Bayh on the stump is about as exciting as watching plants produce oxygen (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detahcment).

How about Gore-Mark Warner.

Just a Corsair thought experiment (Or, for the grown-up, Southern National Security ticket, how about Gore-Sam Nunn).

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