Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gore vs. Powell - becoming slightly more likely.....

Christopher Hitchens in the linked article shines a light on a notion that I've been predicting for a while: that Al Gore - after winning the Nobel Peace Prize - declares himself a candidate for President.

(I've been predicting this, as well as a "Draft Powell" movement from the Republicans.)

I think this would be justified, appropriate, and exciting. I think there's a great deal of discontent towards the early '08 candidates, and I don't think anyone has really fallen in love with any of the leading candidates (Clinton, and Rudy, as far as I can tell.)

Only a former VP with huge party connections and massive media recognition could competitively enter the Democratic race at this point, given the massive fund raising to date by Clinton.

Even without fertile, untapped fund-raising territory, it may be a strategic advantage to be a late comer to the race. Every candidate has aired out various economic and healthcare packages, which if not already, will be stale by the time that voters head to the primary polls. Gore would enter with the ability to criticize the existing plans and repeat his Iraq and global warming points ad nauseum, without really having to forward plans, especially ones involving a lockbox.

All this being said, I'm unlikely to vote for Gore, as I've been turned off by how he handled the 2000 election debacle. My impression is that he's waaaay too sore of a loser, as it wasn't the 500 or so vote difference in Florida certified by the Supreme Court that cost him the election - as he often laments - but rather his inability to carry his own state, and even his own congressional district, and his inability/unwillingness to cut a deal with Ralph Nader.

(With Nader earning ~90,000 votes in Florida in 2000, I think if Gore wants to identify who "cost" him the election, it's not the 9 Supremes, but rather Ralph Nader.)

Better luck this time, Al.


David Tayman said...

Tim -

Notwithstanding your valid points about the role of Gore's poor performance in his home state and Nader in costing the democrats the 2000 election, the action of the Supreme Court should not be dismissed lightly. The Court, then under the leadership of a conservative hawk who had just come off of presiding over the impeachment of a democratic president, took unprecedented and brazen action to make sure that the republican party prevailed. That is inappropriate and has unfortunately set the opening context for a lot of undemocratic activities perpetrated by our current regime. Think about how this looks from the outside: If the presidential election in any other country had been deadlocked over a voting dispute in a state governed by the brother of the eventual "winner" whose victory was cemented by the decision of a court led by the judge who had presided over the trial of the outgoing president we would call it (what it was) a coup d'etat.

While I like your Gore scenario, I think it is as unlikely as the Kerry-McCain ticket that optimists were hoping for in 2004. I am a lifelong democrat but I think the party has very substantial problems and may be irretrievably broken. I predict that 2008 is when we will see the democrats squander every advantage in the world and manage to pull out a loss in the face of a weakened and deaf republican party. Witness the democratic Congress' complete inability to put any checks whatsoever on a wildly unpopular republican president and witness MoveOn.Org's desperate, inappropriate and shameful efforts to drum up support through negative advertising (if I liked that approach to politics, I would already be a republican).

Cheers and thanks for the opportunity to rant.

Dave Tayman

TimmyG said...


Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I'm amazed that 1) someone wrote an intelligent comment on my blog, and 2) that you're spending precious time reading my blog. I'm thrilled about both.

To your points,

As a legal bystander, I find it hard for either side in 2000 to really have gripes - both parties brought to bear everything they could, from platoons of expensive lawyers, to pressure, to favors. If you accept that the efforts here were neutralized each other resulting in a wash, then you would have to suggest that one or more Supremes made party affiliation more important than justice. Again, I'll defer to my legal innocence (and hope), and continue to believe that the outcome was just.

This represents a rosy view, much like my view of 2008 election politics. Maybe one reason I'm pining for Gore vs. Powell is that it helps me ignore the stench coming from the regulars of both parties. Regardless, you're probably right in saying that the party machines in both camps will completely steamroll the optimists.

You're also right in your point about the 2000 kerfuffle being hosted in Jeb Bush's state. If this happened anywhere else that we cared about, we'd be calling the country a Banana Republic. (Instead, I shop there.)

What also makes us look like a Banana Republic is the death of intelligent rhetoric. You mentioned MoveOn, but you could just as easily cite another dozen partisan groups that keep us from intelligent debate and reasoned progress. All of this has made me drop party affiliation - it's unlikely that I'll be voting for a candidate in 2008, but rather as I'm now wholly in favor of gridlock, I'll be voting for an outcome - one party in the White House, the other in charge of Congress. (Or, even better, a divided Congress, regardless of party in the White House.

Please continue ranting!



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