Before anyone starts throwing snowballs at me, let me explain why a Republicans for Gore movement should start immediately. Noah leaped to the conclusion that this would only appeal to “the pews at the Church of Vox,” but he’s in error. In fact, an Al Gore challenge to Hillary Clinton would indeed reinforce what Democratic politics are all about, as Ezra Klein argued. In my column for The Week, I agree entirely:
Suddenly, Democrats need a Plan B! But they’re not done with ’90s nostalgia yet. Rather than look to the future of the party, Vox’s Ezra Klein wants to resurrect another Clinton administration figure, Al Gore. “Gore offers a genuinely different view of what the Democratic Party — and, by extension, American politics — should be about,” Klein gushes. “Though he’s been out of office for 15 years, he’s never left the climate fight. Gore has proven himself the opposite of those politicians who love the game more than they care about the issues.”
That’s true — and wildly irrelevant, not just to the election, but also to voters. The most recent Gallup poll on issues puts dissatisfaction with government as the most pressing issue for Americans. Government is the solution proposed by Gore to fight global warming. Meanwhile, climate change doesn’t even make the list, nor do environmental concerns at all. …
But let’s not be hasty in ridiculing this choice. Republicans have every reason to embrace an Al Gore challenge to Hillary Clinton in a Democratic primary. Not only would it advance the cause that Democrats will continue a war on coal, but Gore’s return might actually convince voters in coal-rich states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and even Illinois that Republicans will be the better bet for blue-collar voters. As Clinton and Gore tried to out-progressive each other on the “war on women,” the GOP could continue to eat away at the Catholic vote, already dwindling away from Democrats.
Young voters won’t exactly be psyched about two Democratic throwbacks from the ’90s while the GOP backs younger, energetic candidates with track records of accomplishment in executive and legislative roles. But hey, at least Democrats can revel in the debate between two people born before the Korean War.
Don’t be surprised to see Republicans for Gore banners appearing soon … along with peals of laughter. Although the latter won’t come exclusively from Republicans.
Nothing screams relevance to a younger crowd of voters than having a debate between two people who first came to Washington before many of them were even born. In an electorate where populism and anti-establishment sentiment characterize both parties outside the environs of the Beltway, the Battle of the 1990s Establishment Stars will be a thrilling sales pitch. For Republicans.
The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto follows Noah’s lead in wet-blanketism:
“The problem with a Gore candidacy, to be blunt, is Gore,” Klein observes. He notes that the former vice president is a “wooden,” “aging” candidate with a “challenging” relationship to the press. He has “complicated” finances, though Klein doesn’t tell us exactly what that euphemism means, except to note that Gore “made an insane sum of money by selling his cable network to Al Jazeera.”
There’s more: Gore poses as an environmentalist but is in fact “a jet-setting, Davos-attending mansion dweller,” wealthier than Mitt Romney, according to a 2013 Politico report. That opens him to charges of “rank hypocrisy.” And “his personal life isn’t the storybook it once was,” thanks to his 2010 separation from wife Tipper. (Klein says they’re divorced, but at least as of last June, according to London’s Daily Mail, they were still legally married.)
Klein sums up the matter: “I don’t think it particularly likely that even if he did run for president, he would win.” He also notes that “there’s no sign that Gore has even a scintilla of interest in running for president.”
So who’s in favor of a Gore candidacy? Ezra Klein.
For now, James. For now. Republicans need to encourage this movement, to demonstrate that Democrats have a choice in the primary, and independents in the general election. Democrats have the choice between two older establishment figures who sell out their stated causes for their own personal gain whenever given the opportunity. Independents can choose one of those relics, or someone who actually won an election in the past ten years and has a track record of executive accomplishment.
So yes, let’s start the Republicans for Gore movement right now. In the immortal words of John Blutarski … who’s with me?