In a case of dueling leftist media today, Vox’s Ezra Klein is encouraging former VP and almost-should-have-been President Al Gore to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the office in 2016 at the same time as Luke Brinker at Salon.com is arguing that’s not such a hot idea.
Frankly, I like the idea. A lot. It might be the one thing that could lure me back into the Democratic Party fold for another run at getting a Progressive agenda adopted. Klein’s arguments are pretty persuasive, though, like Brinker, I think he glosses over the central issue of income inequality as if it were a minor nuisance simply because (apparently) Gore hasn’t been outspoken on the subject. Brinker’s obviously a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, whose positions and proposals on that subject are decidedly progressive.
But what if Gore ran, picked Warren as his VP, gave her portfolio over the economics of inequality, and focused his energies on the existential global crisis? And what if he made a commitment up front to serve only one term, yielding then to a fully qualified and vetted Warren in 2020?
Now that could get my pulse pounding again. That could draw me back into the Presidential fray on the Democratic side of the ledger rather than continuing my long-term change strategy of backing the Green Party candidate, whoever that turns out to be. (Please let it be Jill Stein!)
I doubt this is even remotely possible. First, I suspect Gore sees himself as having more influence now than he’d ever have as President. Second, he probably wonders whether he could be elected even in an era when it’s common political lore in DC that the Democrats own the White House and the GOP owns the Congress for the foreseeable future. And Gore is not without his own baggage (including inexplicably inconsistent behavior on the environmental front and an unpleasant divorce from a popular woman). But I suspect he is electable and bringing Warren onto the ticket would almost certainly clinch the nomination for him. If, as some have suggested (yeah, I’m looking at you, Peggy Noonan!), Hillary Clinton really doesn’t want to run as much as it sometimes seems she does, then Gore’s entry into the fray would give her great political cover for bowing out, particularly if Warren is on the ticket.
Of course, at the end of the discussion, it’s up to HRC. If she wants the nomination, she’ll almost certainly get it. And if she gets it, she’ll almost certainly win. And if she gets it, I’ll certainly stay Green. Because there is no issue or combination if issues of more consequence than the climate and on that topic alone, Ms. Clinton is a complete bust.