Al Gore says he is not running for president (yet) and that’s good news for the GOP. With support for Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential bid rapidly declining among Democrats, influential Vox writer, Ezra Klein, recently birthed an amusing scenario with his widely reported piece titled, “Al Gore should run for president.”
Given Klein’s main premise — “climate change is an existential threat”, combined with Gore’s environmental leadership, and his role as a global visionary — obligates him to run for president in 2016.
After Klein’s piece made a media splash, it was reported that Al Gore was not interested in running. But the reality is that if Mrs. Clinton falters, Democrats have no new rising stars capable of winning a general election. In fact, all they have are old falling stars — and in the Democrat Party universe the biggest, dullest and greatest fallen rock star of all is the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, Al Gore.
Of course, from a Republican perspective we would laugh at how a Gore 2016 candidacy was a sign of sheer desperation. However, there are numerous reasons why Gore’s star could rise again if Hillary’s were to crash and burn.
Perhaps in light of Hillary’s growing troubles, might she be better suited for the number two spot? But the question remains, “Is America ready for its first female vice president?”
There is even potential for historic name reversal from 1992’s presidential ticket of Clinton/Gore to Gore/Clinton 2016. (Note to Gore: Employ an experienced food taster, now.)
Before we fully explore why Al Gore would be a formidable challenger to whomever tops the Republican ticket, I must share one of my favorite quotes from a friend who is GOP political strategist: “The election of Barack Obama proved that anyone can be president.”
Sad, true and unfortunately for Republicans, Al Gore is not “anyone.”
First, let’s state the obvious: In the 2000 presidential election then Vice President Al Gore won 48.4 percent of the popular vote compared to 47.9 percent for then Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Subsequently; Gore lost the Electoral College by a margin of 266 to Bush’s 271.
Now is not the time to rehash the circus-like circumstances surrounding the 2000 election and the historic role played by the state of Florida. But should the Democratic Party call upon Al Gore to seek the 2016 nomination, there is no doubt that revenge would be his mantra.
Gore’s desire for revenge would be further enhanced if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush won the Republican nomination — setting up a Bush vs. Gore rematch. Jeb you may remember, was Florida’s governor during the 2000 election debacle.
(Hello, Shakespeare, here is an idea for your next play.)
With double revenge as Gore’s unofficial personal mantra in concert with resurfaced media cries that “Gore was robbed of the presidency,” Democrats will be united and galvanized for victory.
Second, Democrats could easily justify Gore 2016 with the fact that he has more experience and has won more elections than any presidential candidate in either party.
Starting in 1977 Gore was elected to Congress from his home state of Tennessee. Then in 1984 he won his Senate seat where he served until Jan. 20, 1993 when he became the 45th vice president of the United States. In 2000, a majority of Americans voted for Vice President Gore to become president, but that did not end well for him.
The latter translates into an important advantage for Al Gore, high name identification — something that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley wishes he had.
Third, and extremely important (especially if Gore were to make a late entry into the race) is that since 2000, he has “become fabulously wealthy – richer even than Mitt Romney,” in the words of Ezra Klein. After 15 years of global activism on behalf of environmental causes, Klein reminds us that Gore could enlist billionaire friends like global warming kingpin, Tom Steyer, to “put some massive Super PAC money behind Gore.”
Let’s just say that financing his presidential run would not be a problem, giving Gore plenty of time to get back in touch with the little people. One could imagine him embarking on an environmentally friendly national bicycle tour stopping at every back road diner across the fruited plain (quite a change from his private plane.)
Reason number four has the potential for the greatest impact. You may remember how Al Gore became a national joke after famously saying that he “invented the internet.” His exact quote was, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” (Invent vs. create? details, details) But Al laughed all the way to the bank.
Klein writes that after losing the 2000 election, Gore “carved a path through finance and telecommunications.” Today “he serves on the board of Apple, as a senior advisor to Google, and at the mega-venture capital firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers.”
This means that Gore as a Technology King and would have full support and unlimited funding from Silicon Valley. Given access to the greatest tech talent, Gore’s team could develop the most innovative campaign systems and apps to help him win the White House. Surely, “Revenge of the Nerds” would be the unofficial name of Gore 2016.
Reason number five is motivation — stemming from the fact that Gore has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Heck, in his mind he got robbed of the presidency, so what could be worse than that?
Gore outwardly dealt with his 2000 loss by gaining weight, growing a beard and minting money. Then he led the charge for global warming awareness as its celebrity poster boy. But Gore’s most shocking post-election event took place in 2010 when he dumped his wife Tipper. This was a couple who were high school sweethearts and “happily married” since 1970 (as contrasted with the Clintons.) Who can forget “The Kiss” at the 2000 Democratic National Convention?
Klein wrote that the Gores were divorced. The truth is they are only separated but living very separate lives as if divorced. (Gore has a serious girlfriend and a real divorce might be a little pricey.)
There is no doubt that Gore’s post-2000 life has been “lifestyles of the rich and famous,” filled with spectacular accomplishments earning him the planet’s most prestigious awards. Not only did Gore win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, but sitting on the mantle of his mansion is a Grammy, Oscar, Emmy and a Webby.
Obviously, the only “award” missing is the presidential seal.
Meanwhile, back in the trenches of the 2016 race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the rising GOP “frontrunner” (a term I use very loosely), says that he wants to make America great again. But President Al Gore would make America cool (literally.)
Warning for Republicans: Do not underestimate Al Gore. If Hillary crashes, and if drafted, Gore is the only Democrat who could easily pick up the pieces and for that the board of Apple would invent a special app