Al Gore in 2008?

In the neverending search for a plausible alternative to Hillary Clinton as the 2008 Democratic nominee, the latest alternative is none other than erswhile Saturday Night Live comic Al Gore.

Andrew Sullivan quotes both an emailer and a “canny Republican” from a party the other night as saying Gore would be perfect.

If that’s not enough, Susan Estrich dubs him “The Man Who Could Stop Hillary.”

Gore deprives Hillary of administration bragging rights. He’s got the same ones, without the baggage. And then he’s got the right position on the war, and the superstar record on the environment to boot.

Add to that some liberal Hollywood money, and he gives her a run for hers.

The problem is: then what? No one fits Hugh Hewitt’s stereotype of the losing angry Democrat better than Al Gore. The place to win elections in this country is not the left but the middle. You want to lose for sure, run to Hillary’s left.

Of course, the Democrats would presumably like to win in 2008. So, a guy who would “lose for sure” would seem to have some drawbacks.

Richard Nixon was the last major party candidate to lose a presidential race (1960) and then come back to not only get the nomination again (1968) but actually win. Adlai Stevenson was the last Democrat to get a second shot (1956) after having lost (1952). It strikes me as incredibly unlikely, therefore, that either Al Gore or John Kerry will ever get another chance.

Further, while Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000 and came just a few hundred correctly cast ballots away in Florida from winning the whole thing, he seems to have permanently cast off the centrist mantle that he wore as a Southern Democrat. A whole series of speeches, which will be played over and over in clips that will make Howard Dean’s scream seem restrained, moved him to the Angry Left camp. That will excite the Netroots and give him a chance against Hillary in the primaries. It will absolutely destroy him in November.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Doubtful.

    Democrats ahve a history of being very quick to cut their political losses. Lose a major race and that’s the end of you, viability speaking.

    Witness Lieberman.

    And in any event, Gore’s not going to happen until Dean walks the plank.

  2. RA says:

    Gore would be a wonderful leftist to demolish in 2008.

  3. Jon Hendry says:

    On the other hand, electing Gore would be a way for US voters to atone, consciously or unconsciously, for electing Bush, the GOP and their circus of corruption, recklessness, intrusive government, pork spending, and rank incompetence.

    I don’t think you should discount that factor. The country has realized that Bush was a tragic mistake. Electing Gore in 2008 would be a powerful repudiation of the GOP that brought such a feckless man to power.

  4. Tano says:

    Gore’s anger may well seem prophetic of the average voter’s feelings, by time 2008 comes ’round.

  5. Stevely says:

    Jon Hendry,

    You spend too much time on the internet. Normal people don’t think or vote that way. If the Democrats are going to run a guy like Gore now hoping to seize the Oval Office on a tide of supposed popular regret and atonement, they will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Although that is something the Democrats have a knack for.

  6. Pug says:

    This whole rage thing is way overblown. Republicans have been running on it and winning for a long time. Remember the Angry White Male? Really hurt the Republicans, didn’t it?

    Anger is a motivator, and plenty of people are downright pissed off right now. The phony, tip-toeing centrism of Hillary Clinton is what is in trouble now.

    And Gore was hardly “demolished” in 2000. He got more votes than George W. Bush when Bush was still claiming to be a “uniter, not a divider”. The whole “he’s too angry” thing is nothing more than a right-wing spin point.

  7. Pug says:

    PS – You’re not going to believe anything Susan Estrich has to say are you?

  8. Maggie says:

    “This whole rage thing is way overblown. Republicans have been running on it and winning for a long time. Remember the Angry White Male? Really hurt the Republicans, didnâ??t it?”

    OK, Pug, and I will even concede that there are still Angry White Males out here….BUT,

    The Republicans don’t come across as ‘angry’…they just represent those who are angry.

    There is footage of Gore that would lead some to believe he needs to be put into the bed next to Patrick Kennedy.

  9. Jon Hendry says:

    ” If the Democrats are going to run a guy like Gore now hoping to seize the Oval Office on a tide of supposed popular regret and atonement, they will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

    And what is the GOP going to run on? That their next candidate will restore honor and dignity to the White House? “No, really, this time, it’ll work! We’ll be good this time!”

    Are the GOP going to run as fiscal conservatives? Bush did, too. Why should anyone believe future GOP candidates on that score? That is essentially off the table as an issue.

    Gore wouldn’t even have to say that Bush essentially lied to the country and misrepresented himself (and by extension, the GOP participated in the fraud.) That would just hang over the campaign as common knowledge.

    Why should anyone vote for the GOP candidate?

  10. Roger says:

    Gore may well speak too much truth to be electable. Then again, the American people may surprise you.

  11. Stevely says:

    Jon,

    Gore would not be running against Bush in 2008. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get a do-over for 2000 or 2004.

    “Why would anyone vote for the GOP candidate?”

    I’m going to go out on a limb here: you’re not going to vote for the GOP. But outside fever swamp, I could see plenty of reasons that the GOP candidate, let’s say it’s Giuliani and McCain, for example, would beat Gore and whoever. Nobody ever became President by being a screaming loony, which is what Gore has become.

    I’m not saying the Democrats would lose 08 – they’ll likely win, especially if they run Hillary, but if they re-run Gore they would rue the day. Face it, most Americans don’t glow with incandescent Bush hate as you seem to, so it certainly matters who the Democrats choose to run/ how they go about running the Presidential campaign.

  12. McGehee says:

    Gore may well speak too much truth to be electable.

    <snicker>

  13. ICallMasICM says:

    ‘Gore may well speak too much truth to be electable. ‘

    Like how he didn’t know the Buddhist monks were donating money because he drank too much ice tea and had to go weewee? Like how his Mommy sang him the the union song? Like how he grew up on a tobacco farm?

    Dive in the Kool Aid pool!

  14. floyd says:

    roger; are you referring to the time that gore reported his age right on his driver’s license application? well… you’re probably right,american politics can’t handle so much truth.[lol]as for the surprise? NAH!

  15. Roger says:

    Come on, guys. Rove manufactured better ones than that about Gore.