The Al Gore Effect

Finally Al Gore has chosen to endorse a Democratic candidate in this year’s presidential election.  Speaking before an Obama crowd that was, as is quickly becoming par for the course, massive, the former vice president described Obama as, “the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.”

Interestingly, when I first read that Al was going to endorse, I instantly wondered how many people would get on Gore’s case for not doing this sooner.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I’ve yet to read anything nasty, mind you, at least nothing from our side anyway.  But it’s still out there, which goes to show just how embittered some on the Obama side have gotten over the course of the primaries as well.

It’s kind of easy to want to sit there and say, “Dude!  You couldn’t have done this a couple of months ago?  Helped us end this primary a little earlier?”

But I have to say that I think Gore chose the right time, right for the Obama campaign, right for the party, and right for the general election.

Even right, to a degree, for Clinton supporters.

Nor do I think that waiting this long was a lack of courage on Gore’s part.  Think about that for a second, Super Delegates were under pressure from day one.  In the beginning it was Hillary Clinton who was attempting to lock up the nomination with her party machine support.  Then, when the tides turned, there was a major push to endorse Obama in order to put an end to what was becoming an exceedingly bloody and divisive primary.

For Gore, whom few believe harbors much love lost for the Clintons, it would have been all too easy to make his endorsement at a key moment in the campaign, and possibly even help swing things Obama’s direction.  But he didn’t.  At a time when battle lines were being drawn and sides were being picked, Al Gore did what few others have done and remained staunchly neutral and detached from the entire process.

As a result, now that he has endorsed, it is far less like the party elder trying to push one candidate out the door in favor of another, but more like the party elder certifying so to speak, that the battle is over.  Indeed, just Gore’s patience alone in this respect gives more validity to his role as party elder and leader.

Nor do I think that Al Gore missed his opportunity to be relevant in this campaign.

In fact sometimes I feel as though far too many people are either stuck in the Democratic primaries, or are of the mind that the Democratic primaries were kinda like the NFC championship game back when I used to watch football (ie. back when the ‘Niners knew how to win Super Bowls, or even ball games for that matter).  Back then, you knew who the world champs were going to be by watching the NFC game.  We still had Super Bowls, of course, but those were mainly for eating massive quantities of party foods and watching commercials.

I am told that this is still the main reason for watching the Super Bowl.

But one thing that has to be understood is that this whole thing is just beginning, and I think that Al Gore could play a major role in the general election.  Most significantly, I think that he has the opportunity to tap into this country’s buyer’s remorse over Bush than any other figure in politics, given the nature by which he lost the presidency, and what his opponent did to the country over the following seven and a half years.

Given the fact that Bush polls over 30% on a real good day anymore, I think it’s reasonabe to assume that there are more than a few folks out there that are kinda wishing they would have cast their vote for Gore as opposed to Bush.  While Gore seems to have lost all aspirations of one day working from the Oval Office, I think that he could be a very powerful voice and reminde to people what may happen if we choose to install a third term of George W. Bush.

Further, Al’s much more comfortable and loose.  Back in 2000 he just seemed far too uptight, and had an issue connecting especially when his opponent seemed so laid back and approachable.  Today’s Al Gore is different, more approachable.  He knows how to crack jokes, it turns out, and he’s stopped trying to hide his accent.

I don’t think that Gore is going to end up being Obama’s running mate for personal reasons (though, if that does become the ticket, forget about it, game over, McCain’s chances will effectively be reduced to zero), but I think he does have a significant role, I think that he will be a major voice from here on out, and I think that he is going to remind a lot of people about the bad choice they made in 2000, and how now, in 2008, they have the opportunity to correct that mistake.

Much much more at Memeorandum:   The Swamp, Washington Post, Top of the Ticket, The Nation, The Carpetbagger Report, The Sundries Shack, Wonkette, Hot Air, Washington Wire, Spin Cycle, Wake up America, Sister Toldjah, All Things Obama 2008, Gristmill, TPM Election Central, The Trail, TIME.com, Shakesville, Sweetness & Light, Salon, The Daily Dish and Truthdig

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