Al Gore Redux

On April 12, 2007, I wrote this in a post on The Hill’s Pundits Blog:

“I predict Al Gore will be the nominee for president for the Democratic Party. This is after a vicious summer, where Hillary and Barack savagely beat each other up with their campaign fortunes. The Clinton team is plenty tough, but don’t underestimate the Daley clan, who are strongly backing the junior senator from Illinois. This fight will get ugly, and it will devastate both candidates.

“For personal reasons, John Edwards drops out of the race or he would likely be the beneficiary of the Hillary-Obama war. Hollywood, who once loved Hillary, has turned on her. And because they are so desperate to have one of their own (a filmmaker, I mean) in the White House, they will turn on Obama as well, begging him to take the No. 2 spot. Al Gore, Oscar winner, champion of the environment, Southern Democrat, will allow himself to be drafted, after a summer of saying no.”

Imagine how surprised I was when I saw Joe Klein’s column in Time magazine today:

“Which brings us back to Al Gore. Pish-tosh, you say, and you're probably right. But let's play a little. Let's say the elders of the Democratic Party decide, when the primaries end, that neither Obama nor Clinton is viable. Let's also assume — and this may be a real stretch — that such elders are strong and smart enough to act. All they'd have to do would be to convince a significant fraction of their superdelegate friends, maybe fewer than 100, to announce that they were taking a pass on the first ballot at the Denver convention, which would deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton. What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party — and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? Of course, Obama would have to be a party to the deal and bring his 1,900 or so delegates along. I played out that scenario with about a dozen prominent Democrats recently, from various sectors of the party, including both Obama and Clinton partisans. Most said it was extremely unlikely ... and a pretty interesting idea. A prominent fund raiser told me, ‘Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place.’ A congressional Democrat told me, ‘This could be our way out of a mess.’ Others suggested Gore was painfully aware of his limitations as a candidate. ‘I don't know that he'd be interested, even if you handed it to him,’ said a Gore friend. Chances are, no one will hand it to him. The Democratic Party would have to be monumentally desperate come June. And yet ... is this scenario any more preposterous than the one that gave John McCain the Republican nomination? Yes, it's silly season. But this has been an exceptionally ‘silly’ year.”

Why Al Gore, you say? Because despite the media’s love affair with the two Democratic front-runners, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have great weaknesses that will be exploited in a general election fight.

This is not my wish. I think Gore will be harder to beat than either Clinton or Obama. But I did predict it a year ago.

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