Al Gore Won’t Endorse

After his crushing defeat (or non-defeat if you prefer) in 2000, Al Gore has risen to something of a mythic figure within the party.  He went off the grid for a while, put on some weight, tried a beard for a bit but thankfully thought better of it, and when he started to come back into the limelight, what we saw was perhaps the candidate that should have ran in 2000 as opposed to the Al Gore that actually did.

That’s the freedom that not having to run in presidential politics might afford you.  In 2000 Gore somehow got on the bad side of the media, and his repressed and monotone image probably helped that along.  He stuffed his accent down, and refrained fromjoking.  He ran as a pure wonk.  This compared to Bush’s good ol’ boy attitude and Jesus dropping spelled a simple recipe; Bush was likeable, Gore was an elitist ass who had to lie about everything to make himself look better.

Of course the narrative often times fails to match the truth, but that’s how things go.  In the seven years since Gore lost that election, we’ve seen a different Al, a more relaxed Al, and Al that’s not afraid to show his accent or put on some pudge, and one who definitely has stopped capitulating on his own political principles for any kind of political expediency.  Not that he ever did so really in the past, but he’s committed himself to environmental causes and increasing availability of media control to more people in ways that might spell electoral suicide.

He’s getting to be himself, he’s getting to do what he wants, and he gets to take at least some satisfaction in the idea that a lot of folks have buyers remorse from the vote they cast eight years ago this November.

And with this new life comes new roles, documentary maker, author, activist, webmaster, and Democratic party elder.  Indeed, it is this last capacity that informs Al Gore’s decision not to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Of the past three winners of the Democratic presidential nomination, two have chosen a side; Clinton for Clinton, and Kerry for Obama.  The man in the middle, Al Gore, has decided to stay in the middle, acting as an impartial observer and if need be an objective mediator should the two camps have to come down to negotiating a deal.

This I find incredibly responsible and commendable on Al Gore’s behalf.  Given his prominence in the party and his latter day popularity, an Al Gore endorsement would be a serious boon to either candidate and he would no doubt increase his own clout from the winner should that winner take the White House.  But instead he’s choosing what’s probably best for the party.

It’s nice to see him staying above the fray instead of choosing a side (and yes, I would have been ecstatic had he endorsed Obama).

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