Wednesday, June 28, 2006
He's everywhere you turn these days. Saturday Night Live, Letterman, Larry King, The View to name a few. What's next, Desperate Housewives? His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," as well as the book of the same name, have been out for weeks and The Goracle's been in heavy-duty promo mode. The problem is, with the exception of the hilarious SNL bit, Al seems more like his old stiff self than the passionate Democrat firebrand we've seen on the lecture circuit these past couple of years. Perhaps it's true that Al indeed suffers from TV camera-itis. Seems like whenever he's in front of that magic lens his body stiffens, his speech slows, and there's sighing. Oh God, lots and lots of sighing. His performances at times have made me wince.
As my readers know, I am a huge Gore supporter and proponent of a 2008 run for the White House. I've been front and center on this, and still believe he's the best candidate for the job. But as we've seen in 2000, Gore's not the best politician. In his televised interviews, he's not being the kind of Al Gore that he must be to win over the hearts and minds of voters. I want passion, fire, animation, personality; a genuine connection. I want a guy who's going to look straight into that camera and not be afraid to say, "This country's a mess, and here's why Bush and the Republican leadership is responsible. And here's what we need to do about it." I want a guy who's going to give a believable answer when asked the inevitable question of "will you run in '08", not some eye-rolling, sighing, long-paused duck as if he's taken aback by such a left-field question. When I want coy, I'll watch Paris Hilton (message to Al: you don't do coy well).
As much as I'm rooting for Al, I can't help but see much of the old nerd making people fall asleep. Forget Bill Clinton. I'd be happy if Al showed the charisma of Hillary, for Pete's sake. Yes, it's indeed true that in private Al's a very funny, charming, affable, laid-back guy. So say his closest friends and colleagues. And it's also true that on the lecture circuit he's amazing. But if he's going to run for president again, which I most certainly think he will, he's going to have to face the camera and learn how to speak in talking points and soundbytes. How to deliver some fiery partisan rhetoric and truly connect with voters. He may never be the guy you want to go grab a beer with, but he certainly shouldn't have the effect of Ambien either.
That said, we continue to believe he's the most qualified Democrat for the job, and here's our Top 10 reasons why:
1. Legislative Experience: two terms in the House, two in the Senate
2. Executive Experience: two terms as vice president
3. Economic Experience: presided over historic seven years of prosperity
4. Iraq: His staunch anti-war stand was early and forceful
5. Environment: His decades of sounding the global warming alarm give him more credibility on this issue than any other candidate
6. Family Values: Stemming from their record-label-warning campaign days, the Gores project strong family values and a sense of morality
7. Passion: Since 2000 he's been the most outspoken critic of Bush and the GOP
8. Results: He won the popular vote in 2000; was robbed of the electoral college. He won 51-million votes in 2000, more than any other Democrat candidate in history, more than any Republican except Ronald Reagan in 1984, and 500,000 more than George Bush. Just think of the numbers he could put up after eight dreadful years of Bush
9. Fundraising: Gore has big, powerful, wealthy benefactors waiting on the sidelines to pour money into his campaign, and has the ability to compete with Hillary Clinton in this critical area. He also has the support of grass-roots organizations like MoveOn.org, and is a favorite in the ever-increasingly important blogosphere
10. Skeleton-Free Closet: At this point in his career, if there was any dirt to dredge up, we'd have seen it by now
Despite these credentials and assets, he'll go nowhere without a serious injection of personality mojo. And it can be done. Maybe not with the people he's been surrounded by for years, but with some fresh new blood. Al, you out there? I'm ready to serve......