Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gore Is Running

Just when the prospects looked less than exciting for the Republicans in 2008, rumblings have been emanating from that seemingly inexhaustible font of outrage, Al Gore. In a recent speech the former Vice-President laments the "grave danger" faced by American democracy, and no, he is not talking about George Soros' attempt to buy the 2004 election. His talk has all of the hallmarks of the beginnings of a Nixon-like comeback, which is bad news for Democrats.

Watching John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Al Gore, all of whom feel that they are somehow entitled to an eight year stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, fight it out in the primaries will be a sight to behold. Even more intriguing will be the political calculus used to determine each candidate's positions on the issues and this will most certainly benefit Mrs. Clinton, who is bright enough, and opportunistic enough, to triangulate between Kerry's Leftism and Gore's Lunacy. The icing on the cake will be witnessing the fourth Horseman, Governor Dean, try to deal with this Hydra of self-centeredness and political vanity. The biggest losers if this comes to pass are the second tier candidates, like Wesley Clark, because there just won't be enough oxygen in the room for him and others like him.

Kerry and Gore are each a joke in their own way and the Democrats learned from the likes of Adlai Stevenson not to re-nominate damaged goods, although with an eight year hiatus from the political scene, again reminiscent of Nixon, Gore has a much better chance. But both Gore and Kerry, like the Republicans, underestimate Hillary Clinton at their peril. She is going to be an amazingly charismatic campaigner and, more importantly, a disciplined one as well.

The Republicans do not have a very strong group of prospective candidates for the 2008 election, although Giuliani and McCain have the star power to make it a race against whomever the Democrats nominate. (I support Rudy.) Now if the far-Right will only let them get through the primaries and happily accept half a loaf rather than no bread at all.


Anonymous Pennsylvania Pete said...

"But both Gore and Kerry, like the Republicans, underestimate Hillary Clinton at their peril. She is going to be an amazingly charismatic campaigner and, more importantly, a disciplined one as well."

Nobody's underestimating Hillary, the problem is, she's underestimated her own base. She came out vociferously in support of the Iraq war apparently as some sort of analogy to the way Bill used to find a 3rd way between different positions, only that it's hard to come up with a 3rd way when it comes to war or peace. And on this issue, she badly miscalculated. The Democrats are something like 90-10% against the Iraq war, furiously against it, and Hillary has basically written off the majority of the Democratic base because of this. Not only is she still supporting the Iraq war, she wants to make it into an even bigger war. And not only is the Dem base against the war, now a majority of the public at large is against it too. This was Hillary's single most costly political miscalculation, and the Democratic base is simmering with anger at her positions on this.

This is also where Al Gore at least has a big advantage, because he's been firmly and intellectually against the war since before March 2003. IIRC only 2 other Dem candidates-- Russ Feingold, and Wes Clark-- have also taking this stand from the outset. Al Gore, therefore, has the base strongly supporting him and already interested in contributing to his campaign. Kerry is somewhere in the middle-- not a big Iraq war supporter, but not much of an opponent either. When it comes to the Democratic side, the Iraq war is an issue on a higher level than any other by far, and it's certainly the biggest motivator for supporting one candidate or another. Plus Al Gore has the very large and growing environmental wing in his corner. I never thought I'd be saying this even a year ago, but Al Gore is becoming the Democratic favorite for the 2008 campaign.

4:02 PM  
Blogger GT said...


The biggest single issue for Democrats in '08, and a lot of it has to do with what happens in '06, is who the money thinks can win. That explains W. in 2000; the belief became self-fulfilling that he could win and the money followed. That only works if the candidate has some chops though; both Dean in 2000 and Gramm in 1996 started out the race with a big money advantage and look what happened to them.

If I were a Dem, I wouldn't relish the prospect of Gore v. Hillary. Too much intra-party bloodletting and the nominee emerges wounded. I agree with you that Kerry isn't the threat, it's Gore.

Good points though, '08 is going to be interesting, isn't it? So is Casey/Santorum.

4:21 PM  

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