Make no mistake. The Democratic Party is experiencing one of its most exciting presidential campaigns ever. For the first time in history, the party will be sending either a black man or a woman into the national election. Democrats are fired up. Ready for major change. Fed up with eight abysmal years of Bush/Cheney/Rove tyrannical rule. Judging from all the polls and the national pulse, we know that any Democrat will likely beat the GOP frontrunner, Sen. John McCain (AZ), and it's any Democrat we'll be happy with as our next president. While some may prefer Sen. Barack Obama (IL) and others Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), the secret truth is, either candidate will make any Democrat ecstatic and proud.
But for former vice-president Al Gore, the inconvenient truth is that, had he run, he would be the party's nominee. The fact that Obama and Clinton are running such a tight horserace, in a virtual delegate dead-heat, demonstrates the degree to which voters are split. And that would've bode very well for The Goracle.
Let's take a look at what we know so far as to the perceived weaknesses of both Obama and Clinton, and how Gore differs:
1-Electibility: no issue here. Gore was elected once before, when the economy was humming and we were not at war. Times have changed, and he'd have been even more electible now.
2-Ability to Beat McCain: The crotchity 72-year-old Republican is a war-monger, woefully lax on the environment, and weak on economic policy. The much younger Democrat can speak to Americans' desire to end the war, protect the Earth and be fiscally prudent.
3-Skeletons in the closet: none. He's been vetted many times over already. Therefore, unlike the fear Democrats have about Hillary, Obama and a post-2000 Bill, there are no election-eve surprises about Gore. He's clean as a whistle.
4-Polarizing: Emmy, Oscar, Nobel Peace Prize. 'Nuf said?
5-Agent of Change: Gore can successfully appeal to the "change" voter without carrying the baggage associated with the Clintons or with Obama's overall inexperience.
6-Race/Gender: He's a white male with a solid history of advancing the rights of women and minorities. This won't make me popular among certain other liberals, but in 2008 America, still, a highly qualified white male would probably fare better that a woman or a black. To say that race or gender is not a political liability is just plain being naive. You can stick your head in the sand, but I won't
7-The Senator Factor: Gore would've run as former eight-year VP. This, historically, puts him in a much better position than Obama and Clinton; the last time a Senator won the presidency was 1960 with John Kennedy.
8-The War and Foreign Policy: Unlike Clinton, who's voted in lockstep with Bush on Iraq, Gore has vociferously opposed the war from day one. And unlike Obama, who has shown his foreign policy shortcomings on many occasion, Gore's eight years in the White House has given him tremendous exposure and experience on the global stage.
I think you can start to see the point here. That a Gore campaign would've been free of the many political challenges both Clinton and Obama face, which is why voters are having a very hard time rallying around one of them. But no matter, Gore's not running, which is unfortunate. He would've truly united the party and made one heckuva great president.
On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Thank you.