The Self Made Pundit
Monday, December 16, 2002
NO GORE IN ‘04: The republic is a little poorer today with Al Gore’s announcement that he will not run for president in 2004.
Gore is one of the most thoughtful politicians around today. If he had not been savaged by numerous misleading treatments in the news media in 2000 – fueled largely by Republican and right-wing spinmeisters – he would undoubtedly be president today. For that matter, if five members of the Supreme Court had not disgraced themselves with the most partisan decision in Supreme Court history, he would probably be president.
Recently, Gore has been a forceful critic of the Bush administration’s slapdash policies, which appear coherent only when they forthrightly cater to corporate interests. Unlike many other Democrats, Gore has not been afraid to criticize a foreign policy that has simplemindedly chosen a forceful sounding bellicosity towards Iraq over a more considered approach of how best to deal with terrorism. He has also not been afraid to attack disastrous economic policies that favor the rich.
Despite sounding like a presidential candidate – and a great one at that – Gore has decided that another spokesman might serve the Democrats better in 2004:
Well, I personally have the energy and the drive and the ambition to make another campaign. But I don't think it's the right thing for me to do. I think that a campaign that would be a rematch between myself and President Bush would inevitably involve a focus on the past that would, in some measure, distract from the focus on the future that I think all campaigns have to be about.
The last campaign was an extremely difficult one. And while I have the energy and drive to go out there and do it again, I think that there are a lot of people within the Democratic Party who felt exhausted by that, who felt like, O.K., I don't want to go through that again. And I'm, frankly, sensitive to that feeling.
Gore’s decision must have been a difficult one to make. I certainly find it a difficult decision to accept.
Given Gore’s recent outspokenness, I think he would have been an effective candidate against a fundamentally dishonest administration, which is adopting domestic policies even more ill-advised than the first Bush administration’s. For just the latest outrage, read today’s Washington Post article on the Bush administration’s plans to shift taxes from the rich to the poor. (Link via Counterspin Central.) Gore, who has the instincts of a populist – in the best sense of the term (see Trent Lott for the worst sense) – would have been one of the best spokesman for the Democrats in 2004 in denouncing Bush’s class guerrilla warfare on behalf of the rich.
In recent weeks Al Gore has shown what a spirited Democrat can do as he has forcefully and effectively blasted the Bush administration. I hope other Democrats that what to be president are not shy in following in his footsteps.