I have been a huge supporter of Al Gore. I firmly believe that he’s our best hope of not only winning the presidency in 2008, but of presenting a bold agenda that truly moves our nation towards energy independence while preventing the catastrophe of the climate crisis.
I have argued repeatedly, here, here, here, here, and here for why Gore needs to be our candidate.
I have to say, if he chooses not to get in, I will be incredibly disappointed, and I have to believe he’s doing it for one reason and one reason only, he’s afraid.
Let me explain:
As most of you probably know, Al Gore has spent nearly his entire adult life trying to become president.
He learned much from his father, a long time Senator from Tennessee, who unfortunately, died prior to his son’s second presidential run. His father died at the age of 90, his son at his side; just before his death, he uttered these words to the Vice-President, ““Always do right,”. It’s been said that his father wanted him to be president from the time he was a little boy. Whether that’s true or not, we’ll never know, but there is no doubt that Senator Gore was a role model for the Vice-President, and their relationship played a huge part in motivating Al Gore to run for President.
After completing his education, Gore enlisted in the military, and served in Vietnam, despite being opposed to the war, and having a cozy National Guard slot reserved for him: (from NY Times):
“But he said, “I appreciate what you’ve done, but I just don’t believe I can do this.’ He talked about how small the draft roll was in Carthage” — and how, if he did not serve, someone he knew would have to take his place.
As we all know Gore returned from Vietnam, ran for Congress and won in 1976, after leaving law school early. Thus began an uninterrupted 24 years of public service, including 8 years in the house, 8 years in the Senate, and culminating in 8 years as Vice-President. We all know what happened in 2000 and what has happened since.
Now, I can completely understand why Al Gore needed a break after the debacle of 2000. I think even the noblest among us would be a bit disillusioned after seeing the Supreme Court hand the presidency to their opponent. I supported his decision not to run in 2004, and to reignite the fire in his life’s passion: protecting the environment.
His work in a relatively short period of time on this issue has been unbelievable. Think of it this way– if I told you 7 years ago that in the year 2007, Al Gore would win an oscar, an emmy, a nobel prize, amass over 100 million dollars in personal wealth , would you have ever believed it? Would you believe that he could have literally changed the frame for discussing global warming? Would you believe that he would be considered the world’s best spokesman on his long-time passion? No one would have.
Now we’re at a cross-roads. As much as Mr. Gore may not want to admit it, a huge part of the reason why he continues to receive so much attention is because there remains a possibility that he will seek the presidency. How much more work can he really do as a non-politician? How can he effectively force legislative change in the congress or in the executive branch unless he becomes a part of the process again?
Does anyone really believe that Mr. Gore can do these things better from outside government (provided he eventually delivers a real statement saying he’s not entering politics again), then he can from within?
We all know that in order to truly save our planet and move towards a true clean energy future, a lot of sacrifice will be necessary at home and an awful lot of diplomacy will be necessary abroad. Mr. Gore knows that. He knows that a carbon tax to replace the payroll tax can’t happen without PRESIDENTIAL leadership. It requires Al Gore, President Al Gore, to campaign for it all over the country. It will require a lot of political arm twisting in the congress. It will require someone who knows how to work the levers of American politics doing just that. He can’t do it from the outside.
He knows that in order to create an Apollo-like project for clean energy, the public sector has to be involved. Again, it will require huge infusions of money, a shared sacrifice by the American people, and a huge amount of political capital to make this happen. Again, it requires PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP.
He knows that in order to convince the developing nations like China and India to utilize our new technologies and help safeguard all of our futures instead of building a new coal power plant each week, it will take PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP.
He knows that the nations who now make their living selling oil to the rest of the industrialized world may throw up roadblocks to our efforts to wean ourselves from them. He knows it will take diplomacy we haven’t seen in the white house in nearly a decade. It will take PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP.
Al Gore must know all this. He has to. He has to know that without the presidency, his time on the national stage in this ADHD nation we live in is running short. He will work tirelessly on this issue, I have no doubt, but in the long run, it will be for naught.
So if he knows all this, why doesn’t he run? The only answer that makes sense to me, unfortunately, is that he’s afraid. He’s afraid of having to endure the rigors of campaigning, of being subjected to the political inanity that is an American presidential campaign, of having his patriotism and his integrity repeatedly impugned by people who shouldn’t even be considering throwing stones in glass houses, of losing. Yes, he’s afraid of losing. (No, I refuse to believe it’s because he’s happy, or he’s rich now, or that he’s found his place, or that he doesn’t want to run against Hillary).
I understand the man is human, but I don’t think his fear is founded.
We’re talking here about 90 days.
90 days until Iowa and New Hampshire hit us smack in the face. He can’t endure this nonsense for 90 days?
He could run any campaign he wants, but there is no better way for him to change the topic of the current campaign and make it about anything he desires. Even if he doesn’t win, what better way to force the rest of the candidates to make real, substantial pledges and policy proposals to solve this crisis? How better to rebuild the political will in the public than to enter the debate himself?
90 days is all I’m asking for. 90 days of a full-throated response to Hillary’s hubristic primary campaign that is already taking all us primary voters for granted. 90 days of a bold set of policy ideas to move our country forward. 90 days to show us how we can solve this crisis while taking advantage of this momentous opportunity. 90 days.
Mr. Gore, if you do that for 90 days, and don’t win the early states, I will understand if you get out. You can return to your work; these 90 days will fade into memory quickly, and the rest of your career can be spent on this passion. If you win the early states, you will coast to the nomination, and the presidency will finally be yours!
But please, if you don’t do this now, we’re all going to be wishing you had 2 years from now, regardless of who the winner is in 2008.
Please Mr. Gore. Show us that you have the courage and the strength to put your nation before yourself one more time. We need you. More importantly, our children need you.
Run Al, Run!!!!!!