Monday, May 08, 2006

Al the Candidate?

I have lost track of the number of columns I have seen about how Al Gore should run for president. I think that the real reason for this is that he is seen as the only candidate who can stop Hillary and still win. Liberals were upset with the Clintons during most of Bill's term and many of them will never forgive Hillary for voting to authorize the war in Iraq. Since Gore was working on his beard when that vote came up, he got a pass on making a choice.

Here are some of Gore's strong points according to one poster at Huffington and the problems with them. Some of these points are actually refuting why Gore shouldn't run.

The truth begins with one inescapable reality: even at his most-derided worst, Al Gore won the popular vote against George Bush.

Yes, Gore got more votes in 2000 than Bush but Bush and Kerry each got more votes in 2004 than Gore did in 2000. Also, Gore was running on the economic record of the Clinton administration. A lot of those voters were voting for "more of the same". That is why Bush (41) won in 1988. In 2008, Gore will be running as the candidate of change. That may or may not be enough depending on voter dissatisfaction but it will be a different mix of voters.

More important, Gore didn't get enough votes in the right places. He would have to win at least one additional red state. as Gore moves to the left, this becomes more difficult.

Then there is the claim that Gore is no longer wooden.
These are not the cold, diplomatic words of today's wary politician. This blistering outrage is what Gore's been saying now for years, far ahead of most other Democrats.
Gore has two public modes - wooden and over-the-top. He spent most of 2000 in wooden mode but he went over-the-top with Tipper and the kiss. Since then he started making some over-the-top political speeches. Among other things, he has been referring to conservative bloggers as "digital brownshirts" (this is a Nazi reference). This is Howard Dean territory. Since he has been saying this at party events, it was mainly noticed by the party faithful (Deaniacs) and conservative bloggers.

That leaves but the matter of Al Gore, inventor of the Internet. "During my service in the United States Congress," Gore said to Wolf Blitzer on CNN, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
By the Summer of 2000, Gore had created a reputation as a serial exaggerator (some would call it lying instead of exaggerating). He took undue credit for numerous things, both big and small, that he was not entitled to. This is the best remembered but it it stuck because of his reputation. This seems to be a long-term character flaw - he deals in truthiness instead of truth.

Someone else on Huffington (I didn't bother searching for the link) pointed out that Gore is clean. Ha! In 1997 it came out that he was violating federal campaign law. How did he get away with it? He asserted that there was "no controlling legal authority". No one was sure who should enforce this law so nothing would come of it.

Any time candidate Gore complains about signing statements, his opponent can counter with "no controlling legal authority".

Gore's biggest strength is probably his biggest weakness - the environment. recent polls have shown that Global Warming is fairly low on people's priorities. If Gore runs, he is going to be cornered on his specific policies on Global Warming. He will be countered with economic predictions showing him ruining the economy for marginal global gains. It's hard to run on a platform of economic bad times.

As candidates go, Gore has some real problems.

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