Once considered the dark horse wonderboy of the Democratic Party, former Virginia Governor Mark Warner said Thursday he will not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. His reasons? He doesn't want "to put everything else in my life on the back burner. While politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge, at this point, I want to have a real life," he said in a statement which appears on his political action committee web site.
Warner's decision is good news for former vice president Al Gore, who almost certainly will be joining the race despite coy attempts to play down his interest. He's been very creative in his "I have no interest in running at this time" evasive non-committals. But as many Democrats believe, the timing couldn't be better for Gore. Gore insiders have been saying for over a year that he'll be running.
As I've written in the past, the events of the last six years have greatly enhanced Gore's stature. What Al Gore represents today is honesty, integrity and a continuance of the peace and prosperity of the 1990's that he and Bill Clinton gave America. Gore's the guy you want running the country in these troubled times. We need a creative, intelligent, articulate president with a natural curiosity, a solid grasp of the issues, strong leadership skills, and a respect and appreciation for diplomacy.
We're a nation at war in Iraq with no end in sight. We face nuclear threats from N. Korea and Iran. Afghanistan is once again on the brink of being overrun by a resurgent Taliban and drug lords. Hurricane Katrina has shown that we are woefully unprepared for natural disaster here at home. Global warming, Gore's signature issue, is no longer just a concern of science geeks. The economy faces serious challenges, spending is out of control, energy prices are high, job creation is weak and real wages are stagnant. Washington, D.C. under Republican rule has been rife with corruption and scandal. Can you imagine a better table-setting for The Goracle?
As 2008 rapidly approaches, the next big question is whether Sen. Hillary Clinton will abandon her New York constituency and attempt to be the first Senator since John Kennedy to become president. But just ask most Democrats who they'd vote for, Gore or Clinton, and you may begin to answer that question yourself.