Politics The First Sentence Is: “I Suspect That Al Gore Will Be Annoyed at Me for Writing This Article”
There’s a great piece on TNR’s website today by Martin Peretz about Al Gore for president. I was annoyed, before I saw An Inconvenient Truth, that everyone who’d seen it was saying that Gore should run for president, because when he ran in 2000 he seemed to have the same I’m-not-going-to-stick-up-for-myself character flaw that Kerry reproduced four years later, and because Gore is wonky and awkward and unlikeable, etc., etc., and then I went and saw the movie and left thinking, Well, shit, Al Gore is the smartest person on the planet and he should absolutely run for president. What this movie allows is for actual human beings living in America to come to the conclusion (on their own) that Al Gore should run for president; for there to be a popular groundswell of support for his running; and for him to accept the public’s call to duty (one has to imagine he would)—which is really the order in which a democracy should operate. (Is it all an elaborate orchestration on Gore’s part? I guess it could be. Again, if so: brilliant. Rather than spending money on launching his campaign, he’s making money on launching his campaign.) Anyway, that groundswell is going to have to have some life in the media, and Peretz’s piece today is a wonderful glimmer of what’s to come.
I am a subscriber to TNR, so you might need to subscribe to read the story. (Subscribe already!) There’s a lot of useful, interesting stuff I’m not going to quote here—including quick takedowns of eight other potential Democratic candidates who might decide to run—but let me just give you two quick excerpts:
The first pragmatic reason to be for Gore, then, is that he is electable. He won once. He can win again. This is not simply a slogan; it is a serious thought. I find, moreover, that there is an undercurrent of guilt around the country about the fact that the presidency was taken from him by a vote of 5 to 4, with the 5 votes coming from Supreme Court justices who, on any other matter, would otherwise have reflexively deferred on a matter of Florida votes to the power of the Florida courts whose judgment would have resulted in Al Gore being president and not George Bush. These “strict constructionists” and “originalists” suddenly turned activists… Imagine what would be the outcome of a rematch. My guess is that if there were a poll asking voters whom they had voted for in 2000, Gore would win by a landslide. I know people who are actually ashamed of having cast their ballots for George Bush. But Gore will not be running against Bush.
His film, An Inconvenient Truth, and his book with the same title are smash hits. On 600 screens now and second on the Times best-seller list (also very high on Amazon and Barnes & Noble), this could be the beginning of a campaign. The movie and the book were not launched as part of a political campaign…. In any case, he says—and I believe him—this is not the launch of a political campaign. But campaign or not, it has bonded him to so many intelligent and activated citizens of all political persuasions and social strata that it may be the most brilliant campaign-launch in our time.
Again, the story is here. It’s day-brightening.