The internet is humming with the news that Al Gore's office has asked the draft Gore groups around the country to desist. This appears to be the decisive moment for all of us who have been pinning our hopes on Mr. Gore. It raises the question, of course, of what Gore supporters will do instead. The Richmond Democrat's bias toward Obama and against Edwards need not be taken too seriously for Edwards is very close, leads the Progressive/Labor wing of the Democratic Party, and is in the good company of Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden, all of whom have very appealing positions on the major issues and different personalities among which to choose.
I wrote at the American Liberalism Project over the weekend that Gore's reticence to embroil himself in the presidential race is understandable because of the viciousness that has overcome contemporary American politics (from a long tradition of viciousness, by the way). His reluctance will inevitably be viewed iconically as a failure to act on his beliefs, leaving the hard work to others. It is a real pity, I think, that a man who has established such goodwill around the planet cannot move himself to act, to take the hard political steps necessary to keep our planet habitable.
I hope that Mr. Gore understands that the political moment is now. He cannot come to us a week before (or after) the Denver Democratic Convention and hope to be swept in as the savior of the Party when the Clinton machine grinds to a halt, Bill pinioned in the gears by a late-breaking dalliance or some other absurdity that emerges from Hillary's past and triangular present. He cannot realistically come to us in 2012, because a successful Democrat would be unlikely to relinquish the White House to him. An unsuccessful Democrat would probably have to yield to a Republican successor. In 2016 Gore's stock will have reverted to mere chump change, the international effort to combat global warming having been set on various practical pathways by more courageous women and men for whom politics does not precipitate unpleasant allergies. Too bad, Mr. Gore, your chance was now or never!
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