Al Gore to the Rescue?

Al Gore to the Rescue? NY Post Washington bureau chief Charles Hurt is causing a minor stir with a cryptically written column urging Al Gore to step in and prevent a Democratic Party meltdown.

IF AL GORE can pull himself away from saving the planet long enough, he might want to consider rescuing the Democratic Party from the clutches of utter self-destruction.

[…]

Hillary Rodham Clinton has made it clear she won’t quit and no one expects Barack Obama to exit – and so on to the Denver party convention they go, viciously attacking one another all the way.

Forget the red phone for a national-security crisis. Where is the red phone for a political party trying to destroy itself? And where is the party leader with the respect, stature, wisdom and influence to answer the crisis phone?

[…]

That leaves Al Gore as the only person with the experience to answer the red phone and force a peaceful end to this civil war.

The inconvenient truth is that the red phone is now ringing and Al Gore hears it. The only question is whether he has the guts to pick it up.

Bruce McQuain and John Derbyshire are reading this, not unreasonably, as a call for Gore to jump into the race and offer himself up as an 11th hour nominee. But Hurt doesn’t actually come out say this. Perhaps he just thinks Gore should throw his weight around (insert joke here) and get the candidates or the superdelegates to end this thing. I’ve emailed Hurt for clarification.

Both McQuain and Derbyshire, incidentally, think Candidate Gore is a great idea. For the Republicans. Don Surber, meanwhile, quips that “If Al Gore is your answer then you’re asking the wrong question.”

I tend to agree with Derbyshire that Gore would relish the idea of being the savior. He might well be able to get the nomination if there’s no clearcut winner after Pennsylvania and he’d get to avoid the mess of a long primary battle. But I’m not sure how this saves the party. Indeed, both Obama and Clinton supporters would rightly feel cheated if Gore swooped in and was handed the nomination.

UPDATE: Steven Taylor adds some detailed thoughts on why this scenario doesn’t make much sense.

Photo credit: Drinking Liberally via Google

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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. yetanotherjohn says:

    Personally, I like the idea of Al Gore running on the Green party ticket. It is more consistent and would break the two party stance with viable candidates from three parties. Of course it would also ensure that McCain wins the election.

  2. Tlaloc says:

    All the talk of breaking the democratic party is hype. Kevin Drum’s written a few pieces now looking at previous primaries that were *far* more bitter and yet had no significant adverse effect on the part come november.

    What I can’t figure is how republicans think Al Gore would be good for them? In 2000 he won the popular vote. Since then the republican brand has been trashed and Gore has become an environmental celebrity with an oscar winning movie and a nobel peace prize. Even the majority of the GOP agrees global warming is a problem now, after years of fighting tooth and nail to ignore the issue, which means they are playing catch-up on Gore’s turf.

  3. SoloD says:

    The only way it works for Gore to become the nominee is if the “party” comes to him — and then only if both Clinton and Obama tear down each other so much that they are completely unelectable — which doesn’t seem likely to happen.

    Gore could serve as the middle man (along with, perhaps, John Edwards) if after all of the primaries there isn’t a clear winner, or if one side starts to get “too dirty”. But I am not sure if the Clinton side can ever view him as a “Elder statesman” of the party, so even in that role he would have some problems.

  4. DaveD says:

    I think Al Gore does much better in policy areas where he can – as Bill Clinton puts it – tell “fairy tales”. I am not sure he would be as comfortable as commander-in-chief where he would suffer much greater accountability to the American people. He’d be much more comfortable in an EU government position.

  5. yetanotherjohn says:

    Tlaloc,

    People on the left with your political astuteness are the reason I want Gore to head the Green ticket.

  6. Anderson says:

    Gore as nominee is silly.

    Gore as kingmaker — endorsing and campaigning for either Obama or Hillary — might well be decisive.

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    Actually, the “parallels to the last season of the West Wing” scenario dicates that Al Gore *does* offer himself up for nomination, briefly. Then both the Obama and Clinton camps discover some nasty skeleton in his closet, which Obama refuses to disclose on principle. However, the Clinton camp WILL release the information, causing Gore to withdraw. Obama then rallies the nominees with a stirring speech, picks an old, reliable party hand as vice-President (say, Joe Biden), and makes some back-end deals to take the nomination.

    McCain will then prove to have an enormously effective campaign until there’s some horrible accident involving a policy he had a direct influence on, whereupon his poll numbers will drop like a rock. Then Joe Biden will die of a heart attack, increasing Obama’s sympathy vote. The whole election will come down to Nevada, where Obama will narrowly win while McCain decides not to contest. Obama will then pick McCain as his Secretary of State.

  8. Tlaloc says:

    Tlaloc,
    People on the left with your political astuteness are the reason I want Gore to head the Green ticket.

    YAJ,
    So you agree that Gore as the dem candidate would wipe the floor with the GOP, and hence you want him as third party? Good to know.

  9. Steve Plunk says:

    While Al Gore does possess a couple of undeserved awards the foundation for those awards is crumbling daily. More and more scientists are seeing how politics has played into the global warming hype and more scientists are debunking the poor science used to support the theories. There is much work to be done but Al Gore would have none of it since “the science is settled”. Science is never settled, ask a scientist.

    Let’s not forget he is a wooden speaker and his charisma puts many to sleep. I expect his name was floated merely from a general dissatisfaction with the remaining two candidates and the skeletons in their closets.

  10. yetanotherjohn says:

    Tlaloc,

    I’m proposing Gore for the Green ticket. But I have to admit, it wouldn’t be bad for him to be on the Dem ticket. He lost in 2000. He’s been like Carter and getting nuttier as he is out of office. If Ohio is worried about NAFTA, wait until someone explains what the Kyoto treaty would do. Plus at this stage, he would turn off so many Clinton/Obama supporters that November would be a walk.

    Having him on the Green ticket would be the only way to more completely split the democratic party. They could carry DC and that would be it.

    I think McCain summed it up best. “If Gore is the answer, you are asking the wrong question.”

  11. Tlaloc says:

    While Al Gore does possess a couple of undeserved awards the foundation for those awards is crumbling daily. More and more scientists are seeing how politics has played into the global warming hype and more scientists are debunking the poor science used to support the theories. There is much work to be done but Al Gore would have none of it since “the science is settled”. Science is never settled, ask a scientist.

    Steve, I am a scientist. Some sciene is for all intents and purposes settled.

    Notice how science is not still debating the shape of the earth. Nor that the earth moves round the sun. Nor that diseases are caused by bacteria or virii in the body.

    There *are* kooks who dispute all those things, but they are, well, kooks. Similarly there are kooks who argue global warming isn’t happeneing or that humans have nothing to do with it if it is, they too are kooks. The science is in fact settled as far as the question of if it happens and if we play a role.

    Now “how large a role precisely” is still an open question, as is “what can we do about it.”

  12. Tlaloc says:

    I’m proposing Gore for the Green ticket. But I have to admit, it wouldn’t be bad for him to be on the Dem ticket. He lost in 2000. He’s been like Carter and getting nuttier as he is out of office.

    Really? Then why are his polling numbers better than ever?

    Look here:
    http://www.pollingreport.com/G.htm#Favorability

    Plus at this stage, he would turn off so many Clinton/Obama supporters that November would be a walk.

    And your support for that statement is…?

    Seems like your views are based on wishful thinking on your part, while mine are based on the available evidence… which goes a long ways towards explaining our political alignments in the first place, actually.

  13. Michael says:

    Really? Then why are his polling numbers better than ever?

    Because he isn’t running. Fred Thompson had this whole election in the bag until he actually kicked off his campaign.

  14. Michael says:

    More and more scientists are seeing how politics has played into the global warming hype and more scientists are debunking the poor science used to support the theories.

    In order to say that we are not responsible for some portion of Global Warming, you must either prove that we are not dumping extra CO2 into the atmosphere, or prove that CO2 is not a heat-trapping gas, or show some mechanism where by increasing the amount of a heat-trapping gas doesn’t cause an increase in the amount of heat trapped.

    Presumable you’re sane enough not to try for the first 2 options, so you must think there is some reason why all that extra CO2 isn’t trapping extra heat, and the scientific community would love to hear it.

  15. Tlaloc says:

    Because he isn’t running. Fred Thompson had this whole election in the bag until he actually kicked off his campaign.

    I don’t agree. While I wouldn’t compare his favorables to Obama’s or Hillary’s directly (because they are running and he isn’t) it seems perfectly fare to gauge the public’s regard for Gore by looking at how his favorables changed over time (comparing him to himself, as it were). By that measure they regard him better now than ever in the past, including when he garnered 266 EVs and 48.4% of the popular vote (the plurality)in 2000.

  16. yetanotherjohn says:

    Tlaloc,

    So based on the polling data you come to the conclusion that the people who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Clinton/Obama would just shrug and go “O boy, Gore is now the candidate”? That there wouldn’t be any identity politics groups in the democratic party who might ask “Why is there a white male as the candidate”? No by golly, you have an honest to goodness poll showing Gore is popular so if he suddenly became the candidate the democrats would sweep to victory.

    Like I said Tlaloc, I hope the democratic strategists are people just like you. Why consider issues that are not in the poll when you have a poll.

  17. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Not being a scientist, I get to pay attention to facts. Fact #1. The winter of 2008 was the coldest since 1966. Fact #2. Ice in the Arctic is thicker in some areas then it has been in years. Fact #3. When there is a cessation of solar activity, the earth cools. We have has fewer sun spots for atleast the last year. We could be on the verge of a little ice age. Crops grow in warm to hot weather. Check out what happened during the last little ice age. Tlaloc, I have your science hanging.