July 20, 2015

No, Al Gore isn't the answer to either #FeelTheBern or Hillary

Al Gore/Wikipedia
Let me indulge Salon's Sean Illing enough to post a link to his piece. And, thence to destruct it.

Yes, Hillary has high negative ratings. That said, whoever comes out of the GOP race won't?

Yes, Sanders has hurdles of his own. But, he couldn't sell himself in a general election, if he got the nomination?

Yes, Hillary has high negatives. And, many of them aren't in part from connection to hubby Bill? And, that's our perfect entree.

So, let's look at Illing's 10 specific points.

1. Stature? Gore has less of it than Illing suggests. It's been 15 years since his presidential campaign and 8 since his Nobel Prize. How many people under 40 regularly think of Gore? How many under 30 even know who he is?

2. Vulnerability? Should he enter the race, he'd have plenty of it, mainly from his years as Bill Clinton's Veep. Income inequality. Standing by Bill on the repeal of Glass-Steagall. NAFTA. The start of Internet spying on Americans. JoeMentum Lieberman as his 2000 Veep. Dialing for Chinese dollars.

3. Sanders as a "regional candidate"? Same argument could have been made about Gore 1992. And, making your second Gore-touting point a weak Sanders-bashing one doesn't bode well, either.

4. Independents? See Gore's "vulnerability" above. Outside of climate change, he's no more attractive than Hillary.

5. Foreign policy? Illing can write all he wants on a blank slate. Reality is that Gore, like the Slickster, had PNAC ties, the neolib version of neocon foreign policy, and more. As for alternate history? He, like Shrub, might have attacked Saddam Hussein after 9/11.

6. Wall Street corruption? See No. 2 above, and things like dialing for Chinese dollars in his official residence. See Glass-Steagall. See "silence on income inequality."

7. Climate change. Agreed on this, but, this is to oversell the value of climate change as an electoral issue. It's a "slice" issue.

8. Nothing to lose? Oh, nothing other than peace of mind, ease of life and a rehabilitated reputation. And, again, if this is about reasons why Gore would make a good candidate, why is this on the list?

9. Vengeance? Gore refused to fight fire with fire in the Florida recount. In other words, he didn't have it in his bones then and probably doesn't today. And, a lot of his handlers and staff knew that about him in 2000. Plus, this assumes Jeb Bush gets the nod; "vengeance" isn't really a deal for Gore vs. other GOP candidates.

10. Democrats need a spark? From Al Gore? The man who refused to fight fire with fire in 2000? The man who's the same age as Hillary? The man who's been out of politics for 15 years?

And, a bonus No. 11 ...

Illing calling me "sport" after I Tweeted, pre-blog, that his list was either vacuous or stupid, or both, gets you a bonus.

Because all of these points were and are clear and easy to think about.

Basically, Al Gore is a neolib like Hillary who doesn't have any baggage that's currently being discussed, but if he entered the race, he'd have plenty of baggage that would be.

The idea that he would bring something "special" to the Democratic presidential base ... basically shows how "thin" the Democratic bench is, how worried many Dems-first "liberals" actually are about Hillary Clinton, and how "thin" much of the Democratic national-level world of ideas is.

And, Sean Illing? That includes you. "Sport."

Oh, and any allegedly liberal Louisianan claiming Gore is the answer, who's not named James Carville, is probably dumb enough in some ways that he just should change his name to James Carville. Oh, and with such brilliance, how you ever got to teach political theory at LSU I don't know. And, while not wanting to be strange or other bedfellows with conservatives, such things DO make me wonder at times about whether academic tenure is totally a great idea or not.


Katy Anders said...

No, no, not Gore! Gore's 2000 campaign is the reason I have never called myself a Democrat.

My biggest problem with Gore today is that he is connected with climate change and environementalism and yet he actually helped push such environmentally unfriendly things as NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO as Veep.

He was Mr. Environment before he was Veep and later on, when he was no longer in a position of power.

Plus, as you say, the choosing Joe Liberman as his Veep nominee ought to preclude something...

Gadfly said...

Exactly! On all counts.