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This morning, former Vice President and 2000 Democratic Presidential nominee Al Gore
won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Gore will share the award with the United Nations Panel on Climate Change. The Nobel Committee said that Al Gore was the,
"[S]ingle individual" responsible for convincing world government's that climate change was real, caused by human activity, and posed a threat to society.
Anticipating his award (there were 180 other nominees), American cable news shows were abuzz Thursday with speculation about a possible revival of Al Gore the presidential candidate.
Yesterday, a Draft Al Gore
committee placed a full-page ad in the New York Times
claiming to have signatures of more than 100,000 would-be voters in favor of a Gore campaign. In Michigan, supporters are desperately circulating legal petitions to meet the requisite 12,000 signatures to place Al Gore on the Primary ballot (which would also require his signature on an affidavit). And with all of the chaos in the calendar, the New Hampshire deadline for getting on the ballot was pushed back to November 2nd.
But is all of this swirl, speculation, and verbosity heralding a real change in the dynamics of the 2008 contest? According to those close to Al Gore, he is not
running. The Washington Post
response from Gore confidant Carter Eskew:
His mind is trained on solving the global climate crisis; it really is. He's much more likely to view a possible Nobel through that prism than through a campaign for president." Michael Feldman, another Gore adviser, said a Nobel likely would help advance the cause of dealing with climate change more than it will prompt Gore to look seriously at running. "There's a lot of things swirling around but he is basically in the same place," Feldman said in an email. "He is not planning a campaign and continues to spend as much discretionary time as he can trying to solve the climate crisis."
Yet, the speculation is fun. And this Gore talk is a more substantive discussion than lisps, flag lapel pins or hem-lines, even though it appears to be quickly headed to the same silly file.
It was instructive, however, to watch Hillary Clinton
not answer a question from MSNBC
's Keith Olbermann
Thursday night. Asked, "How would you feel about Al Gore running for President?" Clinton's dodge was:
"I think we've got great candidates running. We have a wonderful field. We don't have to be against anybody. All you have to do is to find who you're for. And I'm just going to keep doing the best job I can to earn the support of as many voters as I can reach."
Given the legal requirements for launching a campaign, the Gore season for demurring on a campaign will be short-lived.
With two national polls now showing Hillary Clinton over 50%, all of this Gore talk is demoralizing to the Edwards and Obama efforts. Clearly, Gore is seen by some as a more viable alternative to Clinton.
It is well known that the Gores and Clintons lack warmth for one another. This also causes speculation that Gore will endorse a candidate and make an impact. Could be. And more than likely he will endorse. And it might even have some
impact (candidate endorsements seldom deliver on their sizzle).
But if Gore's mission focus really is climate change and he's now obtained international
senior statesman status as conferred by both the Nobel Committee and the Academy in Hollywood, why cheapen his brand with political theatrics? If his endorsed candidate looses, his political stock (such that it is) drops. If he endorses a front-runner, he's simply an establishment shadow.
Being above the fray allows Gore to be a strategic arbiter if the Party finds itself embroiled at a convention or in a future situation of intra-Party nonsense.