Friday, March 31, 2006

Will Al Run?
On Looking Beyond Favorite Sons

Howard Dean has taken himself out of the running for 2008. Russell Feingold is just about the only "alternative," to the same old names who brought us a rousing me-too to Bush's every Constitution and international lawbreaking whim. Despite his morale-deadening me-too-ism, Mark Warner has roused a substantial bandwagon effect among the state's party insiders. Am I the only Democrat in Virginia who wants to say: Not so fast! Are we so provincial that we succumb (again) to the "from-here" bias that blinds us to the rest of the slate?

At minimum the other me-too-ers deserve at least a look. But we don't have to settle. For example, Barack Obama is every bit as qualified as Warner, stronger in the spine department, charismatic, and actually inspiring to hear. Feingold has shown more spine than Mark Warner --or the others of the declared--ever had. And a new article in The American Prospect suggests, there is a strikingly familiar, but new possibility, one that may well stun the pundit class, which staked its reputation mis-defining Al Gore.

Al Gore has changed. Or rather he is more himself now, rejecting the handling and the consulting which bogged him down in the past. And if the past few years are any indication, letting Al Gore be Al Gore is the way to go.

It's important to note at the outset, Al Gore has one thing no one else does, proof that he can win. He did in 2000. And he did it with a largely hostile media. Had the party stuck with him through the recount, he would have been president.

We know our leaders by whether they are there when we most need them. And Al Gore has been there, speaking out with courage about the war, our constitutional crisis, spying on Americans, and more. And he's been the consummate statesman as he has done so. In 2004, it must have been surreal for Gore watching Howard Dean conduct the kind of campaign he had long envisioned. This article reflects on an important option for Democrats who want change, but also want the leadership that an inspired resume brings. There's even a draft Al Gore movement at

Whether you think Gore's running is a good idea or not, or whether you ultimately support him or not, I believe you owe it to yourself, and the country, to give him a fresh look. The man was the most accomplished Vice President, and most qualified presidential candidate, in US history. Let's give the 2008 election our full, not narrow or provincial, consideration.

Check out the American Prospect article here.