Last night, Buzzfeed reported that things have gotten so bad for Democrats in this cycle — well, mostly Hillary — that Al Gore had begun to muse on the presidential possibilities. One adviser told the Buzzfeed reporting team that Gore had thrown “lukewarm water” on the idea, and emphasized that the water wasn’t cold. Today, however, a follow-up from Politico seems to have chilled the water from tepid to crisply cool:
“There’s no truth to it. He’s laser-focused on solving the climate crisis,” Gore spokeswoman Betsy McManus told POLITICO Thursday evening.
Earlier Thursday, Buzzfeed News posted a story saying that “supporters” of Gore “have begun a round of conversations among themselves and with the former vice president about his running for president in 2016, the latest sign that top Democrats have serious doubts that Hillary Clinton is a sure thing.” The story quoted a “senior Democrat” as saying “they’re getting the old gang together” and “figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically,” and the article cited “a member of Gore’s inner circle” who “asked to be quoted ‘pouring lukewarm water’ — not, note, cold water — on the chatter.”
But Mike Feldman, who was Gore’s traveling chief of staff during the 2000 presidential election campaign and speaks to him regularly, says the speculation is probably just “Democrats talking to other Democrats. … I’m not saying there’s nobody out there fantasizing about it, but I haven’t heard anything and I’d be pretty insulted if there were a group of Gore advisers meeting and I wasn’t invited. I just don’t think this is on his mind.”
The headline on the Politico piece states, “Al Gore not planning to run against Hillary, advisers say,” emphasis mine. And … so? The premise of an Al Gore candidacy could only be as a white knight rescuing his party after a collapse or withdrawal by Hillary Clinton. In fact, there is no scenario in which Gore would be taken as a serious candidate for the nomination outside of a huge vacuum resulting from a Hillary departure.
The same is true for Joe Biden, and of John Kerry, who gets a mention from Michael Hirsh and Kate Bennett in this roundup for “riding high” on the Iran deal. Hirsh and Bennett must not be paying attention to polling which shows that Americans strongly oppose the deal. Gallup’s poll today shows that Barack Obama only has a 33/55 approval rating for his handling of Iran, his worst showing among eight issues polled in this survey. It’s 31/58 among independents, and even among Democrats it’s only 56/29.
There are only two reasons these candidates get mentioned at all. One is that Hillary Clinton has turned out to be a disastrous candidate, even more atrocious than in 2008, and this time she’s not even in a competitive primary situation. The second is that Democrats have no bench, which is why we’re seeing trial balloons for retreads like Gore, Biden, and Kerry, all of whom failed to win in presidential campaigns, mostly from more than a decade ago. If Hillary collapses, who else have they got?
So don’t write off Al Gore just yet. But if Democrats think Al “Soft Chakra” Gore is their white knight, feel free to write off Democrats when they adopt him.