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October 15, 2007
No White House Run: Al
Gore Has All the Prizes He Needs
Al Gore is not running for president next year. Nor should he. His being
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday will once again stoke the fires
about a potential Gore presidential run in 2008. But at this point, Gore
has made it abundantly clear that he does not plan to seek the
presidency again, and it's about time those expecting him to do so just
Gore's Nobel, which he will share with the United Nations'
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, may be read as a condemnation
by the Nobel Academy of the Bush presidency, just as Jimmy Carter's
prize four years ago was. But it also marks the latest triumph in a
series of them for a man who appeared left for dead politically less
than a decade ago.
The former vice president has had a remarkable run since his loss to
President Bush in 2000, in which he became just the second candidate in
U.S. history to win the popular vote but lose the election. Gore can now
add "producing and starring in an Oscar-winning film and winning a Noble
Peace Prize in the same year" to his list of firsts.
In addition to the Oscar, the Nobel, a new TV network and a "Saturday
Night Live" hosting stint, Gore has essentially put the issue of global
warming and climate change in the limelight by himself. Gore has led a
movement to take something that was hardly discussed by anyone but
environmental activists 10 years ago and put it on the mind of everyone
from governments to big business to everyday citizens.
But despite all that, it appears all anyone wants to talk about in
regard to Gore is whether or not he'll be running for president.
Liberals seem to either wish for Gore to "ride to the rescue," or to
avenge 2000, while conservatives seem to want to get more licks in – or
to be proven right that Gore has had a "secret evil plan all along" to
once again seek the presidency.
Yes, I know that most Americans now realize that Gore would have been a
better president than Bush, that our country and the world would be
better off had the hanging chads fallen the other way back in November
of 2000. A convincing argument could be made that Gore has accomplished
more as a non-president in the last seven years than Bush has while in
office. But the fact remains that Gore is not interested in running for
president. He has said so repeatedly and time is very much running out.
And really, why would he? Gore is now beloved in a way that once seemed
unimaginable, especially after the Republican campaign to trash him in
2000 (as vividly described by Eugenia Peretz in last month's Vanity
Fair). Why throw that all away, along with all of his nonpartisan
work, just for another campaign?
Gore announced in December of 2002 that he wasn't running in 2004. It's
now about a year later in this election cycle than that announcement was
in that one. He has raised no money, has hired no advisors, has
established no exploratory committee, has gotten on no state ballots and
has made no moves whatsoever to undo any of the above. All of the
battles for fundraisers, donors, top consultants and every other aspect
of a presidential campaign were begun months or even years ago.
And besides, it's not like 2008 is a scenario in which the Democrats
have no strong candidates, or need Gore to defeat a Republican
juggernaut. Unlike four years ago, it's the GOP that's the party in
disarray, and any of the top three Democrats could likely defeat any of
the Republicans. There's a "Draft Gore" movement, of course, but
drafting movements have tended not to work so well in politics the past
Just as the Hillary Clinton-obsessed right, led by Dick Morris, refused
to give up on the idea of a 2004 Hillary presidential or vice
presidential run until about the weekend of the Democratic convention,
Gore's supporters (and enemies) seem to believe, against all odds, that
he's about to jump in the race. Here's the scoop: He's not. Let him
enjoy his Nobel, and actually enjoy life out of politics.
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