January 2, 2006

''Obviously, Kerry has all but said he wants another crack at the thing."

Ugh! Come on, you had your chance. Winning after running as the party's candidate hasn't worked since Nixon (and things were very unusual when that happened). If anyone should have a second shot, it should be Gore, not Kerry.

ADDED: Here's a New Republic article from a couple months ago that's very positive about Al Gore running in '08:
...Gore is the only anti-Hillary candidate who can credibly attack her on both fronts. His early, vocal, and unwavering opposition to the war in Iraq has made him a hero to many Democrats. The Hollywood liberals over at Huffington Post as well as the university-town activists at Daily Kos and Moveon.org love Gore. If he ran, he would instantly become the favored candidate of the "netroots," the antiwar, anti-Bush crowd that championed Howard Dean and that will be a significant source of money and buzz in the run-up to 2008. The activists in the liberal blogosphere, more than any other opinion-making constituency in Democratic politics, revere Gore. They still wave the bloody flag of the 2000 recount. They still pump out bitter posts about how the mainstream media trashed Gore in 2000 yet gave Bush a free pass. They remember that Gore endorsed Dean in 2004 and they burst with pride at the fact that he chose Moveon.org as the forum for his most important speeches.

Of course, any antiwar candidate could criticize Hillary's vote for the war in Iraq. But the logic of the Gore candidacy is that, unlike other Democrats, he could attack Hillary as both out of step on the war and unelectable come November. If he runs for president he would be the only candidate in either party who instantly passes the post-9/11 threshold on national security issues. Hillary's credible case that as first lady she engaged in diplomacy and was treated abroad like a world leader would be dwarfed by Gore's eight-year record as vice president sitting on the National Security Council.

And Gore might be the only Democrat who can solve a vexing issue facing the party: How does a candidate establish a reputation for toughness on national security while simultaneously criticizing the war? Gore supported the Gulf War and, in most Clinton administration battles over the use of force, he took the more hawkish position. He is the party's only credible antiwar hawk.


Dave said...

I don't understand why people think Hillary to be a viable candidate.

Uncle Jimbo said...

I am heartened by the prospect of Hillary trying to run to the center, with Gore hammering her from the left. Especially with the amplification of the loudest and most radical parts of the Democrat party.

It smells of a loss either way. Hillary can't placate the far left, and embracing them runs off the center.

Now if the republicans even had a candidate....Hmmm Mccain/Jeb anyone?


Uncle J

Kirk Parker said...


Ditto for Gore. Didn't he really "Dean" himself after 2000? The only way I can see him appealing to the center is to somehow convince people that he didn't mean 90% of what he's said over the last 7 years.

Sure, that will be OK with the base, but taking our esteemed hostess as an exemplar of the middle, do you think it would convince her? Me neither.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, the key point with the TNR piece is that IF the Dems want an opponent of the Iraq War, they will need someone who doesn't seem weak on national security. Who else but Gore?

Meade said...

I might be able to vote for a Lieberman/Gore ticket but not the other way around -- never again.

Funny how the NR article morphs the bloody shirt metaphor into "the bloody flag of the 2000 recount."

nypundit said...

Ann, Joe Leiberman. I know he doesn't have a chance but he is an alternative to Gore and is strong on National Security. Or Zell Miller ;-)

Dave said...

Gore seems a more viable candidate than Clinton.

The problems with Gore is he has all the charisma of a wet noodle. Which does not make much sense when it comes to national politics.

One the one hand, you can't be too charismatic a person (Al Sharpton would never win) but on the other hand you can't be too bland. Hilary's personality is probably dynamic enough to make her somewhat of an interesting candidate, but then she's also too polarizing a person.

So I don't see how either she or Gore would be viable candidates...

Jake said...

Gore has made some really wacko statements since 2000, especially during his bearded phase. So wacko that it not only places Gore outside the mainstream, it places him on another planet.

Those statements will come back to kill his chances because bloggers never forget.

ChrisO said...

I'd be intersted know what you consider his "wacky statements." I ask because, just like in the election, several of his statements went through the Republican message mill before being expounded on by TV pundits.

SteveR said...

The fact that none of these people seem like good candidates (and I agree with Ann about Gore) gets back to the difficulty of running from a national stage. In the last 40 years, only Bush Sr running against a very weak democrat has won from there. Senators especially.

Ross said...

Gore was an early and vocal opponent of the war?

In August of 2003, after the invasion of Iraq and after the falsity of some of its premises began to be obvious, he gave a blistering Bush.

In September of 2002, of course, he gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club that must have Sean Hannity's favorite quote from him: "We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

Of course, that statement doesn't necessarily contradict his later assertions that Bush lied ...

chuck b. said...

Al Gore says he has no interest in returning to electoral politics. He describes himself as being "in recovery" from politics--as in, he's over it. The New Republic needs to get over it too, and the Democrats need to get serious about their situation if they want to hold the presidency again.

Mark Daniels said...

There has been one tradition in US politics of losing nominees from major parties being renominated for the presidency. Unfortunately for renominated candidates, another part of that tradition is that generally, the candidates have lost again.

William Jennings Bryan lost three times...and deservedly so. Thomas Dewey lost twice. Adlai Stevenson lost twice. Richard Nixon, as you point out, is the only one to break "the curse," so to speak, winning in 1968 after losing in 1960. (He also lost the California governorship in 1962, making his subsequent win all the more remarkable.) It's fair to point out that after having pulled off one of the most notable comebacks in US political history, Nixon also disgraced himself as President and was forced to resign; so, his resurgence as a presidential candidate may be seen as a hollow thing.

The key to Nixon's comeback, by the way, was that he campaigned hard for Republican candidates in the 1966 elections. GOP success that year came two years after Barry Goldwater was crushed by Lyndon Johnson in the presidential election amid predictions that the Republican Party was, if not dead, then ticketed for permanent minority status. Nixon was seen as a key ingredient in the Republican resurgence that year and many newly-elected or re-elected Republicans owed him big-time for their wins. Nobody else, including the successful Republicans of 1966 who didn't owe Nixon anything for their victories and who challenged him for the 1968 nomination, notably Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney, had as many chits to call in as Nixon did that year. The lesson is clear: If Kerry and Gore want to run for President again, they need to campaign for Dems in 2006 as though their political lives depended on it.

But of course, the incidents of political resuscitation I've mentioned represent the exceptions, not the rules, in our presidential politics. Americans, it seems, may be forgiving in many ways; but once they've spurned a major party nominee for President, they're pretty much voted off of the White House island forever.

Kerry and Gore though, both have some legitimate reasons for thinking that they each deserve another shot and that they could win the whole thing.

Gore nearly won in 2000 and Kerry got more votes than any Democratic nominee in history...and he did that in the middle of a war when Americans were inclined to rally 'round the flag and the Commander-in-Chief.

Both are lackluster campaigners--except when Al gets into one of his bizarre moods and sounds like an angry, volatile, sawdust preacher-wannabe. If either of them do run, I doubt that they will perform well.

But who knows what might happen in a crowded Democratic field in 2008?

Mark Daniels

Jake said...

ChuckB has to be right. I remember saying to myself every time I heard one of Gore's special statements that he has given up politics for good.

sonicfrog said...

How 'bout a Gore / Hillary 2008 ticket? No, never mind, I don't think they like each other at all. What about Gore / Kerry? Oh, to hear both candidates campaign speeches together on one stage, well my head would just explode.

I am very interested in the list, or lack there of, of candidates for the GOP in 2008. Bush will be leaving office without a clear, hand picked sucessor. McCain? He may be too old, and has pissed off too many on the far right. Giuliani? He has the 9/11 hero cred, but his posisions on social issues will be hard for the same far right to swallow. Mit Romney. Young but unknown.

sonicfrog said...

PS. My blog is one year one yesterday. To celebrate, I went and saw KIng Kong.

Ann Althouse said...

You know, I voted for Gore. I liked him. Even thought he won the debates!

Mark Daniels said...

By the way, Ann, thanks for your outstanding blog...and have a happy 2006!

Mark Daniels

reader_iam said...

Great. It seems we are faced with a choice between pernicious dynastic candidates and been-there-done-that losers.

Pathetic state of affairs.

Mark Daniels said...

I do so loathe the existence of political dynasties in our politics. We may have won our independence from the Brits, but we have yet to effect our independence from royalism!

Mark Daniels

D_Walters said...

The Democrats know that they need more than just another nominee. I think they’re really holding their noses even at Hilary. They need a messiah. Someone like Noam Chomsky would do.

Gahrie said...

1) Neither Gore nor Hillary will be able to win a national election.

2) Hillary can, and will, however win the Democratic primary. Remember, these are delusional moonbats we are talking about here. They are going to consider her a compromise candidate in the name of electability. Even they realize that neither Gore nor Dean could win a national election.

Acad Ronin said...

Tradesports gives the buy price for a Clinton bet at 44.5. The price of a Gore is 4.9, whereas Kerry is at 1.9. Warner, however, is at 20.4. It also puts the Republicans slightly ahead of the Democrats in 2008, with McCain the leading Republican candidate but only at around 29.

OhioAnne said...

There's 290 million people in this country. We should have more choices for President than what we have seen so far and, if we are destined to have political dynasties, there certainly should be ones of better quality than either the Bush or Clinton families.

Howard Beale said...

Recently I went to see Gore give a talk on global warming (a subject for another day). The guy was impressive. Either this whole "stiff one" thing is just an urban myth, or spending 5 years out of Washington has been very good to Gore. He spoke entirely without notes for an hour and a half. He was persuasive, he was interesting, and he was entertaining. Looking ahead, if he can deliver a coherent message on terrorism and Iraq and address global warming in a way that doesn't scare off the skeptics, he can be a viable candidate in '08.

Kerry is giving off lots of body language that says he's going to run again, but he's worn out his welcome with his base of support among Dems and independents. Too bad because I continue to believe he'd be decent better president.

I used to be one of those people who thought that Hillary would make a fine president but could never win a general election. Many people far more liberal than me would prefer that she not run in '08 for precisely that reason. In the past year, the situation has flipped; she's done a pretty decent job reinventing herself as a moderate, but at the expense of seeming inauthentic. I'd probably vote for her over any Republican who's likely to be nominated in '08, but I can't see myself getting excited about her candidacy.

Goatwhacker said...

I guess Al Gore would have to re-invent himself again. Remember all the nutty stuff from the 2000 campaign? Hiring the consultant to turn him into an "alpha male"? Wearing too much makeup in the second debate and looking like someone's Aunt Minnie? The magazine cover (Rolling Stone?) with the enhanced "package"? All the heavy sighing in the first debate?

I always read how Gore is a great guy in private but in public always seems uncomfortable in his own skin. He seemed to decompensate after the 2000 elections, I almost wonder if he could mentally handle another campaign.

If the Democrats could come up with a candidate who comes across as a regular guy they'd probably have a winner, as they did with Bill Clinton.

Steven said...

No wartime election in U.S. history has ever been won by the dove candidate. Not one. They have always been won by the incumbent when the incumbent ran, and by the more hawkish when the election was open. If the U.S. still has combat committments that make the newspaper in 2008, no anti-war candidate will win, whatever their "national security" credentials.

So, the question is, if we're still in Iraq, can the Democrats nominate a more-pro-war-than-the-Republican candidate in 2008? Yeah, right.

Which means the only hope for the Democratic Party to win in 2008 is that we either clearly win in Iraq or withdraw from Iraq sometime in 2007.

DEC said...

Steven, you pointed up an interesting tidbit of political history.

My nephew is in Iraq. For the first seven months, he ducked roadside bombs and motar shells. (Two of his vehicles were destroyed. He was uninjured.)

Recently, his unit moved far into the desert. The only Iraqi thing he has seen in the last three weeks is one stray camel.

It looks like the U.S. is quietly pulling back.

That means there is a decent chance the war issue won't be on the front burner at the time of the next Presidential election.

D_Walters said...


I really don't think it is quite that simple. After this Repubilcan governements record as the most scandalized, well…since Reagan, but since a long time before that, all bets are off. Poles show this and that about “the use of force”, but speak clearly about the administrations loss of credibility.

jeff said...

If anyone wants to paint Gore as "strong on defense" all we need to do is remind people of the Florida Democratic Party's attempts to get a lot of servicemembers absentee ballots disqualified in 2000.

About the only Democratic administration at this time that might be acceptable to the majority of the military would be one headed by Sen. Lieberman.

Because he went to Iraq an saw - and told - the truth.

Greybeard said...

Kerry can't run for one reason:
If he doesn't sign it, he's toast.
If he signs it, he can't continue to be a U.S. Senator, much less a Candidate for President.

Howard Beale said...

Jeff, what does the Dems' actions regarding absentee military ballots have to do with being strong or weak on defense? It's a near certainty that any given sample of military ballots will contain more votes for the Republican than for the Democrat.

miklos rosza said...

I voted for Gore in 2000 and my sister met him and says off-camera he's a nice guy, modest and witty, but I've seen him on television just screaming, screaming, in a manner that was very off-putting. All the Republicans would have to do would be replay that footage. He looked like he was deranged.

Elizabeth said...

" all we need to do is remind people of the Florida Democratic Party's attempts to get a lot of servicemembers absentee ballots disqualified in 2000.

It would be dishonest to do that without also reminding people that some of those ballots were mailed late, and that the state of Florida sent out two ballots--neither of which was marked as a sample--to some of its servicemembers serving overseas. Also, some overseas ballots arrived incorrectly filled out, and a local poll worker took it upon himself or herself to correct them. Timeliness, multiple ballots, and tampering are legitimate issues to contest. They have nothing to do with one's credentials on national defense. Gore has a good record on that, so the GOP would pretty much have to resort to demogoguery and slurs, which is exactly what this ballot kerfuffle amounts to.

Steven said...


Running against scandal is barely more effective than running doves in wartime. There isn't a Watergate in any of the so-far-revealed Bush 43 scandals. An Iran-Contra or a Teapont Dome, maybe, but those don't lose elections. Hell, even Ford came within a hair of beating Carter despite the combination of stagflation and Watergate with no "at-war" advantage.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But history does not show any reason to think Democratic prospects in '08 are bright unless Iraq is no longer an issue.

Aspasia M. said...

For 2008 I'm watching Mark Warner for the Dems and Mike Huckabee for the Reps.

A race between governors!

brylin said...

Hillary has been consistently leading in polls of Democrats even before John Kerry was nominated in 2004. She has a huge fundraising network. She has sophistication and is unlikely to make significant blunders (aka "the scream"). She has 8 years of "co-presidency." And most of all, she has Bill.

The Democrats will have been wandering in the wilderness for 8 years by 2008 and will look for a winner. It will be Hillary.

On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani has had a slight but consistent lead over John McCain. Republican primary voters don't trust McCain and for this reason I think it will be Giuliani.

So Hillary against Giuliani in 2008. The polls show Giuliani with a slight lead, but it's way too early to be sure of anything.

Ann, were you and Rudy classmates at NYU Law?

Ann Althouse said...

Brylin: I graduated from high school in 1969. He graduated from law school in 1968.

Robert said...

There isn't a Watergate in any of the so-far-revealed Bush 43 scandals.

Somebody has on rose-colored glasses.

Palladian said...

"Somebody has on rose-colored glasses."

And I think those somebodys are the ones most likely to have round, rose colored wire rimmed glasses in the bottom of their drawers next to the McGovern pins!

Eli Blake said...


Gore came out in 2002, and while not denying that Saddam had WMD, he argued that what was being done (keeping him in a 'box') was the best way to handle things. You are supposing that a belief in WMD (whether correct or not) equates to support for the war, and it did not in Gore's case.

And frankly, with the situation in Iraq giving Iran everything that they fought for nine years to attain during the 1980's (removal of Saddam, a Shiite dominated Islamic republic) plus seeing the US no longer able to pose a credible invasion threat against Iran, it is clear who the winner is in Iraq. I think Gore could see that when he could speak against the concept of 'regime change' in Iraq while still thinking that Saddam was a bad guy.

His biggest problem is not being able to articulate things, and in a way that allow political opponents to smear him. For example, during the 1988 and 1992 campaigns, he talked about an 'information superhighway,' which would link computers all over the world. So, during the first Clinton term, Congress (acting on Gore's advice) passed a tax on phone bills which went towards establishing this network. So, Gore later took credit for it calling himself 'the inventor of the internet.' Well, there had been small scale networks before that, so technically he was not (and got hammered by everyone from the GOP to late night comedians for saying it), and about the only part of it that the GOP advertised was his phone tax. Had he brought back the term, 'information superhighway,' then people would have remembered him saying it and could take credit where it was due.

Steven said...

goober_snatcher --

The NSA monitoring is maybe Iran-Contra material, but it's a heck of a lot less obviously illegal and a heck of a lot more logically connected to the national security interest. A significant fraction of Americans will defend it, just as they defended Iran-Contra, as perfectly justified, and another fraction will judge it, at worst, an overzealous defense of their own lives. On the other hand, nobody but diehard partisans would defend the Watergate break-in as justified or reasonable.

And instead of doing a cover-up or denials, the President is loudly taking responsibility and defending the monitoring as the right thing. That's miles away from actively hindering an investigation into an unjustifiable act, and it should tend to keep the wound from festering. Without the festering, it's hard to see how it will hurt Bush any more six months from now than it already has -- and the polls don't seem to show any actual damage now.

I mean, I guess you can try to run a campaign in '06 on the platform of "You should really be upset about this story that didn't upset you ten months ago when it first came out!" I just don't think it's a strategy that will work. And when it's "thirty-four months ago", I really don't think it will work.

Note I am not expressing an opinion on whether it's serious enough an action to deserve to be bigger than Watergate. I'm just saying the politics are such that it won't be.

miklos rosza said...

steven: Good points. Anti-Bush partisans can rile themselves up all the want, but as Mickey Kaus pointed out a few days ago, many people are glad to find out that Bush is doing something to foil the Islamists.

Because this isn't happening in a vacuum, and however much some for their own reasons seek to deny it there is linkage and build-up between horrors perpetrated in Madrid, Bali, Amsterdam, Beslan, Egypt, England, Thailand, Indonesia and, yes, France.

The equivalent of a worldwide serial killer is at work. To notice this doesn't mean that one's a Republican.

Sooner or later something very bad is going to happen once again to Americans on American soil. The idea of combating this with congressional hearings after the fact is not my idea of an effective response or defense.

Der Hahn said...

Regarding Al Gore's internet comment....

While a number of explanations can be given to prove his statement technically correct, it's important to remember the context of the claim and reaction. This statement, actually made during a 1999 primary debate with Sen. Bradley, became an issue when Gore developed a reputation for resume-padding and playing fast and loose with statistics during the 2000 Presidential Debates. Other examples include claiming to have accompanied then FEMA director James Lee Witt to Texas in 1998 to survey fire and flood damage (Witt was never there and Gore was there on a fund raising trip unrelated to the emergency); claiming a role in establishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (enabling legislation was passed over a year before Gore was elected to Congress), and misrepresenting the status of the woman he used as an example of someone suffering due to high prescription drug costs (she refused to accept financial help from her son, and he implied she traveled to the debate at her own expense when her trip had been supported by the Gore campaign).

A reasonable neutral list of these and other mis-statements here.

The premeditated nature of many of the examples argue against him being simply inarticulate.

ChrisO said...

Just reading the first little bit of chris b's link makes clear that it is not a "neutral" list. I've already seen several misstatements on this thread. The Republican spin machine did a good job of spreading outright falsehoods about Gore, and lazy talking heads like Eleanor Clift ran with them, because "Gore lies" had become the meme of the campaign. So now they get repeated as conventional wisdom. Gore never said he "invented the Internet." He said he was responsible for the creation of the Internet, because he led the fight for funding of Darpanet. Criticize that if you will, but a politician claiming to be responsible for something should be taken in context of his job, as a politician. Claiming he "invented" it is a very different thing.

As for the "Alpha male" thing, that's more bullshit. No one has ever substantiated it, and Naomi Wolf, who was supposedly the one who pushed him to be an "Alpha male" has repeatedly denied it. Yet the press compared her to "Nancy Reagan's astrologer."

Here's Howard Fineman on the way Gore dresses: "The fact is, Al Gore has been changing his clothes and his persona in public ever since I’ve known him, which goes back 15 years, Brian. I covered his last presidential campaign in 1988. One day he was in the conservative blue suit, the next he was playing lumberjack at the VFW hall in New Hampshire. This is a guy who, because of his upbringing and his attitude toward politics and maybe something about his life story, just doesn’t seem always to be of one piece, doesn't really always know who he wants to be in public."

Now here he is on Bush: "Dubyah loves to wear the uniform—whatever the correct one happens to be for a particular moment. I counted no fewer than four changes of attire during the day trip we took to Fort Campbell in Kentucky and back. He arrived for our interview in a dark blue Air Force One flight jacket. When he greeted the members of Congress on board, he wore an open-necked shirt. When he had lunch with the troops, he wore a blue blazer. And when he addressed the troops, it was in the flight jacket of the 101st Airborne. He’s a boomer product of the ‘60s—but doesn’t mind ermine robes." Notice any difference in tone?

As for the James Lee Witt thing, Gore said it off the cuff, when what had actually happened is he had gone with Witt's top assistant. If it didn't fit with the press's ongoing meme it would never even have been mentioned.

And he played "fast and loose" with statistics during the debate? I'm shocked that any politician would do that. Bush told a lot of statistical whoppers throughout the campaign, but the press was so taken with his regular guy persona that they were seen as charming quirks.

And finally, let's not forget that Gore drew more votes than George Bush in 2000, after having served in an administration that went through an impeachment. So as much as you can try to point out things you claim the voters didn't like about Gore in 2000, they still liked him more than Bush.

The reason I point all of this out is because this is still happening, as the references on this thread to Gore's comments since the election bear out. I'd still like someone to detail which comments we're talking about, because I'm willing to bet they've gone through the same spin machine.

OhioAnne said...

Speaking of spin ....

Gore was the sitting Vice President of a two-term administration that supposedly created the best economy in decades.

He SHOULD have won that election without breaking a sweat.

The fact he didn't speaks of his inability to connect with voters and/or their concern about who he really was.