In his February 8th Rolling Stone piece called "Run, Al, Run," Tim Dickinson begins with the following:
"A stiff vice president campaigns on his administration's legacy of unprecedented prosperity. Looks terrible on TV. Bows out, following a disputed vote count. Then, two terms later, with no incumbent in the race, he re-enters the fray. Promises to change the course of a disastrous war founded on lies. And charges to victory. I'm referring, of course, to the 1968 campaign of Richard Milhous Nixon. But four decades later, history has a chance to repeat itself for Albert Arnold Gore.
"If the Democrats were going to sit down and construct the perfect candidate for 2008, they'd be hard-pressed to improve on Gore. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has no controversial vote on Iraq to defend. Unlike Barack Obama and John Edwards, he has extensive experience in both the Senate and the White House. He has put aside his wooden, policy-wonk demeanor to emerge as the Bush administration's most eloquent critic. And thanks to "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore is not only the most impassioned leader on the most urgent crisis facing the planet, he's also a Hollywood celebrity, the star of the third-highest-grossing documentary of all time."
Dickinson is dead on. As I've said for over two years now, Al Gore is the Democrats' best hope for regaining the White House in 2008. The will he or won't he charade has gone on too long, and Dickinson essentially predicts that The Goracle will soon toss his hat into the ring, and he cites several of the nation's leading political pundits to back up his contention:
"He's running in a nontraditional way, which has been powerful," says Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic consultant. "It has made him look much more interesting than if he had just been the former vice president sitting out there and thinking about a run...If Howard Dean could raise $59 million on the Internet, the mind boggles as to what Al Gore might do."
"Gore may have more money than anybody within days of entering the race," said
Joe Trippi, Dean's 2004 campaign manager, who believes Gore could raise $200 million or more on the 'net.
"There are millions of people who call themselves environmental activists, but until now, no one has ever been able to make the environment a voting issue," says GOP strategist Frank Luntz. "Gore took the environment from deep inside the newspaper and put it on the front page for the first time. He would be able to say to people, 'If you really care about global warming, you have to vote for me.'"
"Gore seems committed to being a late candidate," says Bill Clinton's former strategist Dick Morris. "He's not going to be out front as a playmaker. He's going to wait and see if there's room for him."
"Jumping in too early is a huge mistake for him," says Tony Coelho, who chaired Gore's 2000 campaign. "If the party wants to have Hillary, there's nothing Gore can do or say to stop it. But Barack Obama could be a godsend for Gore. Obama makes Hillary look like just another politician, as opposed to a fresh woman's face. He could slow her up, and John Edwards can create further doubts."
And the Hillary, Edwards, Obama slugfest could be a big boon to Gore, according to David Gergen, who's former bosses include Nixon, Reagan and Clinton. "If the three of them fight each other to a bloody draw, nobody emerges as the cherished front-runner. Then you to turn to Al Gore as someone who is not scarred up by the battle. He would look very formidable.....If Gore secures the nomination, his chances of victory would be strong."
The push for Gore is becoming louder and stronger. Clearly, the top strategists are really starting to stir, and the pressure on Gore--from a timing perspective--is intensifying. Make no mistake: Al Gore saying he's not running is not Al Gore not running. He will run. And he will likely win. As Dickinson writes, "he would also have history on his side: Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland, both of whom won the popular vote but lost the presidency, reached the White House on their next tries." And let's not forget Nixon, the other Comeback Kid. That Gore is now a Nobel Peace Prize nominee only makes him even more attractive.
2008 presents Al Gore with truly the best opportunity in his political career to capture his life-long dream of becoming president. Don't think for even one second that he will not seize the day. He's just playing it smart.
On another subject......we could use your help at The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of providing film school scholarships and grants to women filmmakers. As many of you know, Adrienne was brutally killed here in NYC on November 1st. Please visit our website to learn more about our mission and to make a donation. Every little contribution helps preserve Adrienne's legacy, and to help create something positive out of this horrible tragedy. Thank you.