December 16, 2002
Not Gore in 2004
Well, it's official. We won't have Al Gore to kick around in 2004, as he has announced that he is not a candidate for President. Part of me is sorry to see this, as I think he's still the best person for the job, but more of me is glad that for this decision.
"I think the current policies have to be changed," said Gore. "I think that my best way of contributing to that result may not be as a candidate this time around."
A rematch with Bush, Gore said, "would inevitably involve a focus on the past that would in some measure distract from the focus on the future that I think all campaigns have to be about."
He's right. A rematch would inevitably focus on 2000, and I think Gore would get the same shabby treatment without the benefit of the is-Bush-fit-to-lead questions. Someone else can make the case that Bush has done a bad job without that baggage.
Despite Gore's demurrals that his announcement "probably means that I will never have another opportunity to run for president", I wouldn't completely count him out. For one thing, if Bush does get reelected in 2004, Gore will be only 60 years old in 2008. He could run again if he wanted to. The main problem is that he won't have much of a platform from which to be visible any more. If he doesn't find something with a relatively high profile to do between now and then, he'll be considered irrelevant.
So who do you like now that Gore is no more? Count me as an undecided. I'll need to survive the Houston mayoral race in 2003 first.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 16, 2002 to Election 2002
I've never quite understood the if-Gore-doesn't-run-he'll-never-get-another-chance. I feel the opposite. Only with time and distance can 2000 be forgotten which is, ironically, what Al needs. Remember Nixon won the presidency 8 years after losing it and the only real profile he'd accomplished since was handily losing the California governorship.
Probably a good thing for the Dems, as Gore is damaged goods, politically. Won't matter much, though, if we spend 2003/2004 talking about Kerry's haircut or whatever instead of Gore's internet and Clinton's thingy.
I think Gore did the right thing, sparing himself and the party from a painful battle that he would likely not win -- at the general election level if not in the primaries.
If Gore at all has his sights on 2008, I'd love to see him use the next two years as a non-elected lighting-rod on the issues. As a Democrat who isn't worried about re-election in two years, he has the freedom to say what others can't -- in a way that could significantly help the Democrats find their ideological feet again. The demonstration of leadership and speaking from the heart might help him later in 2008.
Don's got it about right, except I use the term "crash-test dummy" where he uses "lightning rod." I think he now has the freedom to run around saying whatever the hell he wants, whether the Establishment likes it or not. Could be refreshing.
Also, the idea has been floated that he'd take Terry McAuliffe's job?
Anyway, I'm glad he did this. He took one for the team. It took grace and it took cojones.
Your picks for 2004?
I say Kerry/Feingold, and it's not even that close. But keep an eye on Dean.
I like Hillary, but her time will arrive 2008. Bush will win 2004...