What could be less democratic than a major political party nominating a candidate for President who didn’t receive a single vote in the primaries? That would create the biggest example of smoke-filled-room politics and the biggest underhanded manipulation by a political party in decades. And ironically, it’s the Democrats who have begun laying the groundwork for exactly that scenario by pushing Al Gore as an alternative to the two candidates who have raised hundreds of millions from their followers to finish in a virtual dead heat:
Plans for Al Gore to take the Democratic presidential nomination as the saviour of a bitterly divided party are being actively discussed by senior figures and aides to the former vice-president.
The bloody civil war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has left many Democrats convinced that neither can deliver a knockout blow to the other and that both have been so damaged that they risk losing November’s election to the Republican nominee, John McCain. …
Two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that a scenario first mapped out by members of Mr Gore’s inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true.
Desperation leads the unwise to folly, and this is perhaps the best example yet seen. The party establishment, which created the superdelegate conundrum that now threatens to split the Democrats, want to avoid that result by pushing not one but both popular candidates out of the race. Rather than having the establishment choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, which threatens to have a significant portion of both camps defect to John McCain, they want to enrage everyone by offering the loser of the 2000 campaign as their hand-picked alternative.
Well, good luck with that. In terms of demographics, Al Gore is no Barack Obama. It won’t make much difference whether the establishment picks Hillary, Gore, or the clone of Bill Clinton if they torpedo Obama while he leads in delegates to the African-American voters in the party. Theft is still theft, and putting Obama on as VP won’t mollify them one bit — nor should it. How is that any different than nominating Hillary over Obama, except that Hillary has actually built an electoral following and a large list of contributors?
The notion that this solves anything is patently absurd. Besides, Gore’s biggest issue has already been negated by John McCain, who supports American action on global-warming issues. Gore has done nothing on any other public policy over the last eight years. He played footsie with Hollywood and flew private jets all over the world to scold people over their energy use, and turned himself into a one-note activist who won’t even be able to play that single tone in an election against McCain.
If the Democrats worry about having the establishment make the decision on the nomination — and they should — the worst possible alternative would be to foist a retread who didn’t even bother to enter the campaign as their solution. Even at the best of times, Gore polled behind both Obama and Hillary among Democrats. Can you imagine how he’ll do in the general election, especially as the product of a sleazy backroom deal intended to steal the nomination from two candidates who have worked for over a year and garnered so much support?
All I can say is this: Rove, you magnificent bastard.