Thursday, October 11, 2007

Run, Al, run.

If you've ever seen the opening scene in Michael Moore's "Farenheit 9/11," where Moore imagines Gore winning the 2000 election, you might have one of two reactions: disgust or gee-whiz sentimentality.

For me, the scene Moore painted was excruciatingly visceral: sentimentality is my middle name, and that scene stuck with me for a long time after I saw it. Some of us have never moved past the whole 2000 election mess (and for good reason), and I can't help but always wonder "what if."

So at the risk of putting salt into healed wounds, I'll jump on the "Gore should run again" bandwagon that's been popping up in anticipation of the Nobel Peace Prize announcement.

The last time Gore ran, I wan't that enthused about him. Sure, he was better than Bush, and I knew better than to vote for Nader. Since then, however, something has happened. For some of us, Gore has achieved this martyr status in the Democratic Party. He has this really cool story to tell, about how he almost became president, and with all that's happened in the world since 2000, you can't help but think that we wouldn't be having some of the arguments and problems we are today. Maybe they'd be different. But it all plays into this giant national story, about red and blue and the "something" that's wrong with Kansas and the whirring sound that's resonating from the graves of the Founding Fathers.

The imagination flies, and even though the Democrats have a good crop of candidates this time around, none of them - with minor exceptions - have this tragic tapestry behind them.

Edwards has poverty. Richardson has foreign policy. Dobbs has national service. Clinton has her husband. Obama has community. They've all got stories that are worth telling.

But Gore has a bigger story to tell, one that needs to be told and needs someone at the helm to actually get it accomplished.

I've avoided a lot of discussions about the 2008 election so far because, frankly, it's a helluva long way until 2008. Candidates forming policy papers this early is madness to me, and I've struggled to maintain a healthy distance from any political discussions so far (which I'm pretty proud of, thankyouverymuch). Dipping into the pool in October of '07 makes me want to vomit blood.

My read on it this early, however, has been an obsession with electability (kind of like the last election) and the horse-race mentality. There are three top candidates, and the rest can go to hell, and why even consider the lesser-knowns - even though some of them have been stirring the pot in fun ways. This mania about electability, though, takes the country down some muddied paths. I don't care as much about a candidate that can "beat someone" as much as I do about a candidate who has a story to tell, and some items on their to-do list that really need to get accomplished, and the respect for government to actually manage the government.

Would Gore have the support? Could he fundraise? Does he even want to run?

In my heart, I feel like there's no way it will happen. Gore seems to be having way too much fun outside of politics. And who would want to crush his spirit with the soul-blackening concessions made during national campaigns?

Luckily Dems are not in the same situation that the GOP is in: there aren't a bunch of middle-age white guys engaged in a pissing contest over who would torture which minority more, or who would leave a bigger, steamier pile of shit on our Bill of Rights.

I like Richardson's experience and foreign policy shutzpah, and that he knows how to run a government. I admire Edwards' passion about poverty and health care.

But there's something about the idea of Gore running again that could restore my political thirst. Score Hillary as a running mate, and the dream team is back. Hit up Obama as a VP, and you've got the makings of a good 12-16 years of Democratic control of the White House.

Run, Al, run.

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