A question for Gore supporters

I have seen much rabid support for Al Gore growing over the course of the preceeding two years.  On one level, I very much understand it.  Gore is a proven candidate who is capable of garnering a reasonable level of support.  On another level, however, I don't understand it at all.

My first issue with a Gore candidacy is his past history.  Doesn't everyone remember how much credibility Gore had as a progressive before Clinton's first run?  Isn't there any memory of <u>Earth in the Balance</u&gt Gore?  He used to be known as quite the strong environmentalist, and was put on the Clinton/Gore ticket primarily for ideological balance, rather than for the traditional motivation of regional balance.  And Gore became Vice President.

And then, what did Al do?  He went on TV debating Perot in support of NAFTA (without environmental restrictions, aside from the other, obvious problems), he conducted his well-documented fundraising abuses.  He supported the set of Clinton initiatives that, in the long term, created the Nader rebellion in the first place.  After all of this, however, when he had the chance to finally run for president in his own name, what did he do?  Did he drop the mantle of Clinton and run as the true progressive that he was?

Nope.  He ran an uneven, confusing campaign.  He had no message consistency, being Clinton part deux half the time, and a populist the other half.  He took the coattails of a still-popular president, and a strong economy, and was unable to even garner a majority of the popular vote, despite having an opponent that also ran an inconsistent, lackluster campaign fraught with message problems.  When the chips were on the line, Gore caved.  He ran a poor campaign that did not stand up for progressive ideals consistently, if at all.

So, now, he has re-established his progressive credentials, we are talking once again about Gore for president.  I am willing to listen to the arguments for this, but I need some relatively big questions answered seriously before I am willing to consider him:  given that Gore was once a progressive, and that he dropped his progressivism once he was competing in a high-stakes race, how can we be assured that he won't do so again once he is the dem candidate?  When/if he is president?  How can we be assured that he is able to run a decent campaign?  Because we were in this exact same spot fifteen years ago.

Tags: Al Gore, Dem. Primary 2008 (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: A question for Gore supporters

Ralph Nader is that you?

by Blue State Boy 2006-05-24 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters

What statement above is non-factual?  Where do I miss the point?  I voted for Gore in 2000, but that doesn't mean that his candidacy and Clinton's presidency were less than problematic.  The comment below starts to answer my question, but I'm sick of Gore supporters pretending that there is no issue here.

by Valatan 2006-05-24 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters

I'm glad you are asking the questions.  No candidate will ever be perfect, and we need to get better at filtering them for ourselves first, before putting them through the right wing hate machine every cycle.

Gore and Feingold never seem to see any serious criticism from the netroots, and it would be better that they did if either of them became the 2008 nominee.

by scientician 2006-05-24 07:52PM | 0 recs
That's the value of an aggressive draft campaign

If Gore were drafted into the race by a large base of enthusiastic progressives, it would be kind of suicidal for him to fail to run as a progressive.  If, instead, we sit around and wait and he decides to run anyhow, then it becomes much harder to predict.  Since, as you point out, his rhetoric of the last few years is at odds with the approach he took when he last ran for office, all bets would be pretty much off.

by Daniel Biss 2006-05-24 06:13PM | 0 recs
No majority?

No gore did win the majority of votes in 2000.  I believe that because it is now 8 years later those issues fall away. especially the fundraising and the general group think of the democrats has changed.  He tried to win in the DLC way and as we now know that trianglation is for the bird or just for the Clintons, it doesn't build the party or offer the contrast that is needed for voter to make a clear distiction.  Plus the distance that Gore has from the mess that has been made in the last 6 years is an advantage that few other canditates will have.  The fact that people will or could be willing to listen to him may be what our other devisive candiates lack.

by panchoblogs 2006-05-24 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: No majority?

No, he didn't.

He got more votes than Bush, yes, but he didn't break 50% of the popular vote.  

by scientician 2006-05-24 07:53PM | 0 recs
Gore: 48.4%, Bush's 47.9%, Nader's 2.7%, Rest 1%

n/t

by NuevoLiberal 2006-05-24 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters

Thanks for calling us "rabid." Always the right way to start off a diary like this.

by DavidNYC 2006-05-24 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters

Valatan, go to my diary history and you will see "Gore's time is coming soon". There were also a couple of other Gore diaries in the last few days. You will see why we support Gore now. The only thing we did not discuss is the past fundraising abuses you mention. I was not aware of it.

But we went over his shortcomings in the past, his positives i the past that still remain as positives and gave other reasons why some of us non Gore supporters became Gore supporters.

by Pravin 2006-05-24 09:17PM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters
Beyond dispute is that Al Gore is an intelligent man.  
     Do you really think he will repeat the mistakes of the past?  
     Do you really think he doesn't know now the set of policies, circumstances, and vice-presidential nominee named Joe Lieberman (who gave him terrible advice about Florida recount)that cost him the election?
     I say:  Re-elect Gore!  
by napa 2006-05-25 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: A question for Gore supporters

While I agree with the sentiment posted earlier in the thread (no candidate should be given a free pass/be unquestioned by voters)...  It's the directly above that rings true-est with me.

Re-elect Al Gore!  5000 elderly voters in Florida who voted for Buchanan by mistake can be wrong ;)

by rtfldgr 2006-05-25 06:07AM | 0 recs
'92 and '96 weren't Gore's campaign

When Gore was on the ticket with Clinton, Clinton was calling the shots.  So if Clinton wanted to use Gore's progressive bona fides, and then turned around and wanted Gore to hawk NAFTA, that's what Gore was going to do.  It's called politics.  And it tells us more about Clinton than about what Gore would do on his own.

I agree with your assessment of Gore's "uneven, confusing campaign" in 2000, but I think he's learned from his mistakes there.  I also think the media, which had a passionate irrational hatred for Gore in 2000, have finally woken up to what a lot of us knew 6 years ago, which is that Bush is an incompetent scumbag, and they backed the wrong horse.  He's still going to have to deal with a lot of smears, as any Democrat would, but I honestly don't think the "libeal media" will savage him as badly as they did last time.

Besides that, if someone comes up with a better candidate, I'd love to hear about it.  Russ Feingold is a great progressive, but is he going to play in Missouri?  In Arkansas?  In Virginia?  In states we need to win?  Is the cottage industry that's built up around hating Hillary Clinton suddenly going to go away if she runs?  Gore's biggest baggage is that he should have won in 2000, and if he had, the country wouldn't be in the mess it's in.  I think that's pretty good baggage to have.

by schroeder 2006-05-25 07:37AM | 0 recs
Missouri and Wisconsin aren't all that different

by Valatan 2006-05-26 12:52PM | 0 recs

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