A question for Gore supporters
by Valatan, Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:34:57 PM EDT
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> 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.