I have never voted for Al Gore. In 1992, I wrote in Mario Cuomo. In '96 and 2000, Ralph. I was one of the more rabid anti-Gore types in 2000, and had I been blogging, I'm sure there would be a long paper trail about why. But it is a different time and Gore appears to be a different man. Today, Susie Madrak points us to a Draft Gore site run by the inimitable Mary Beth Williams (who gave us the Koufax Awards)--now crashing due to interest.
The question is, at the moment, very hypothetical according to those who know--Gore appears sincere in his declaration of non-candidacy. (Thus the draft site.) But what if he were actually considering it? What if he were actually running? Would that be a good thing? Would four be a charm and would I actually consider--gasp!--voting for him? I can't believe it, but he makes a pretty attractive candidate. Here are the three reasons I'm feeling pursuaded:
- Environment. By far the biggest issue confronting America is global warming. It's by far the most substantive problem out there, and only one guy on the planet seems to get this. The guy/gal who makes global warming the main issue in the campaign gets my vote. Right now, Al's got a lock on the market.
- Independence. There were a number of reasons not to vote for Gore in 2000, but they all revolved around how compromised he looked. He had lost his compass. But for six years he's been following his bliss and doing just about everything wrong in terms of hewing to the moderate, no-offense middle. And that's exactly why liberals are having another look. Maybe the Florida fallout beat the phony out of him.
- Hillary. Hillary is going to skew the field by sucking all the air out of the Democratic primary unless someone with equal name recognition gives her a run for her money. Even if Al himself can't beat Hillary (which I don't believe), a two-horse race may give some daylight to the Russ Feingolds and Brian Schweitzers of the field.
[Update: Les AuCoin, a former Oregon Representative who actually worked with Gore, offers his thoughts.]