Do you really want Al Gore to run?
by PsiFighter37, Sun Dec 31, 2006 at 12:25:19 PM EST
(cross-posted at Daily Kos)
2006 is coming to a close, and in 2007, political discourse is going to be dominated by discussion about the candidates for president. In the netroots, the only candidate that is seen as anything near a 'consensus' candidate this time around is former vice president Al Gore. Although he has reintroduced himself to the general public this year via his accessible documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, he's long been a favorite amongst us as a candidate for president in 2008. In the most recent dKos straw poll that includes Gore, he garners 57% of the vote, with all other candidates trailing far behind.
In recent statements to the press about the possibility of running, this is what Gore has to say about 2008:
"I am not planning to run for president again," Gore said last week, arguing that his focus is raising public awareness about global warming and its dire effects. Then, he added: "I haven't completely ruled it out."
What has become clear to me is that Gore would be a great president - but he does not seem to be enthused with the idea of having to campaign for the job day in and day out. Nevertheless, many folks in the grassroots and the netroots would love to see a Gore presidential campaign. Ever since he was 'defeated' by George W. Bush in 2000, the vice president has become a progressive in the best sense of the word. He was one of the first to speak out against pre-emptive military action in Iraq, and he's spoken out similarly against the Patriot Act. Of course, we are all familiar with the long-time work possible Democratic candidate for president that I truly feel comfortable supporting at this point in time. When I had a chance to see him campaign with Gov. Ed Rendell, Sen.-elect Bob Casey, and Rep.-elect Patrick Murphy a week before the election, I told him that I'd like him to run in 2008.
But, as we head into 2007, I'm going to stop considering Al Gore as a potential presidential candidate until a viable draft movement exists...because drafting the vice president into the race is the only way that he will seriously consider entering the race. And as of right now, I don't see such a movement existing.
Why do I say this? If one does a Google search of Al Gore 2008, there are plenty of sites that state a desire for Al Gore to run in 2008. Some sites are a collection of links, others have forums, and a few have petitions where people can put their name. But overall, the Gore supporters, from my vantage point, are highly disorganized. There is certainly the passion - which is great - but there is not a clearly-organized infrastructure in place for a Draft Gore movement to effectively step in and really push for the vice president to enter the race. But one's desires only become reality if one takes action, and I have seen very little of that. With the presidential field likely to be fleshed out in the next few months, there has to be a clear push to get Gore to run soon. I disagree with Markos' belief that Gore can wait until December 2007 - a year from now - to declare he's running. No matter how much grassroots support there is for Gore, there is no way he can round up the political talent, the money, and the ground game necessary to start having an impact on the race early on. The main 'draft' movement in the 2004 presidential election cycle that worked - the one which encouraged retired Gen. Wesley Clark to enter the race - failed largely because Clark didn't have the money or the organization to compete effectively once he officially declared. And he entered the race in mid-September of 2003.
To reinforce my point, I'd like to reference Chris Bowers, who had this to say about a potential 'Draft Gore' movement back in April of this year:
What is going on here? Is there anything behind this Gore "movement" besides howling at the moon? Why is there so little action? Gore '08 after Gore '08 diary goes up on Dailykos, and yet most of the websites I find on this page haven't been updated in the last month. Gore '08 after Gore '08 diary goes up on Dailykos, and yet there are no substantial Gore groups over at MySpace. There is no email list of any size. There is no fundraising. There certainly is no staff, even on a volunteer level. Basically, there is nothing. All there seem to be are diaries on Dailykos.
Draft Gore in 2008, but only do it if you mean it. Back up you words with real action. Don't whine to me about how I or some other leadership element is keeping you down or preventing this from happening. Give over your persecution and get to it. The Draft Clark movement wasn't damaged in the slightest because Markos didn't include Clark in his Cattle Calls until a week after Clark officially announced. Instead, the people behind that movement, who included my brilliant comrade Matt Stoller, did something. Hell, they did a lot of something. They were the white-hot burning core of a new wave of progressive activists who shook the very throne of power in DC. They were a perfect example of why people pay attention to blogs now, and why what we do here does in fact matter. Actions like those are why it is now possible for Ned Lamont to make a serious run at Joe Lieberman. They were netroots activists. Are you?
I am a Gore supporter. I'd love to see him run in 2008. I would be first in line to get a 'Draft Gore' movement in functioning order...if I could. The fact is, given my current obligations with regards to my academics, my job, and my focus on a permanent job after college, I cannot devote the necessary time to building that movement. It's not from a lack of passion or a lack of motivation that prevents me from doing so. Cold, hard reality prevents me from doing so.
This brings me to my challenge to anyone in the netroots community: do you really want Al Gore to run? You can wish for him to run all you want, but it is abundantly clear that if there is no strong grassroots movement to draft him, he will not run. If you do, it's time to start organizing and making a genuine effort to get Gore into the race. If this is something you really want to occur, make it happen. With 2006 passing, you only have 2007 to work with - and it's starting tomorrow. And if there continues to be a complete lack of action on drafting Gore, there is no reason to consider him when one looks at the current field of presidential candidates when deciding who to support.
So what will it be?