It Doesn’t Appear Gore is Running in 2008

Still, I miss Al to a certain degree. His infusion of “populism” into the 2000 campaign is exactly what the Democratic Party and the Country needed. Yet, the Washington Post notes today that Gore will not run in ’08 and also links to a New Yorker story about Gore (Issue of 2004-09-13) that is quite interesting, particularly Gore’s observation of the rihgt-wing. Also the New Yorker story notes that contrary to some press reports, Gore and Kerry got along well as Senators and Al Gore considers Kerry someone who is honest and upfront about his feelings, no matter what they are.

Quips from the Gore story in the New Yorker:

Gore was quick to distinguish the Bush Administration from any predecessor. Things were “much worse” now, in his view, than in the nineteen-eighties. “The experience of the Reagan Administration was in many ways disappointing to the right wing,” he said. “It was satisfying to have a champion who won the hearts of so many Americans and was so eloquent as a presenter of many of their ideas, but it was deeply disappointing to them that he bowed to reason far more than they would have wanted. The largest tax increase in history was not the Clinton-Gore increase in ’93 but what Reagan did in ’82. That was really disturbing to them. His arms-control initiatives, which I was a big part of, were very troubling to people like Richard Perle, who is very prominent in the genesis of the Iraq policy. There was a determination, in the aftermath of the Reagan experience, to prepare themselves for the next opportunity they had. So that they would be comprehensive and uncompromising across the board. Then, when Gingrich and his crew succeeded, in ’94, they laid the foundation for the identification of all the discrete levers of power and particular programs, policies, offices, agencies that needed, in their view, to be transformed. . . . Bush, as a candidate, basically shook hands with this collection of groups that were bound together to respect each other’s respective self-interest. What they had in common was that they were all powerful and had a set of objectives that were counter to the public interest.”

Gore refreshed himself with a long sip of tea. The chops and the greens had been dispatched and a fruity granita, served in tall crystal cups, had been placed before us. He polished off the ice and checked his laptop. Then he began talking about the disappearance of the Soviet Union and the old “bipolar” world.

“One consequence is that there is an emergent triumphalism among market fundamentalists that has assumed an attitude of infallibility and arrogance that has led its adherents to be dismissive and contemptuous of values that are not monetized if they don’t fit into their ideology.”

What’s missing? I asked.

“Families, the environment, communities, the beauty of life, the arts. Abraham Maslow, best known for his hierarchy of needs, had a dictum that if the only tool you use is a hammer, then every problem begins to look like a nail. Translating that into this discussion: If the only tool you use for measuring value is a price tag or monetization, then those values that are not easily monetized begin to look like they have no value. And so there’s an easy contempt, which they summon on a moment’s notice for tree-huggers or people concerned about global warming.”

And yet the Bush ideology is tinged with religious belief, I said. Not everything comes with a price tag attached.

Gore’s mouth tightened. A Southern Baptist, he, too, had declared himself born again, but he clearly had disdain for Bush’s public kind of faith. “It’s a particular kind of religiosity,” he said. “It’s the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common. In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impulse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it’s not going to be the source of your salvation. And the deepest roots are in philosophical and religious traditions that go way back. You don’t hear very much from them about the Sermon on the Mount, you don’t hear very much about the teachings of Jesus on giving to the poor, or the beatitudes. It’s the vengeance, the brimstone.”

Doesn’t this Gore quote sound like the same stuff we’ve heard from another certain Senator? Kinda like “I’m tired of politicians talking about family values but not valuing families”? Maybe the Democratic Party is speaking with one voice after all.

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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16 Responses to It Doesn’t Appear Gore is Running in 2008

  1. beachmom says:

    I didn’t pay attention to politics as much back then. I am very impressed with Gore, and what a fine mind he has.

  2. Marjorie G says:

    I got the same sense then as now what a terrific mind but better service to himself, and us, not being in politics. And as much as I don’t always see John Kerry as the most natural, either, I see him more comfortable and effective. More honest, and not the back-slapper. Interesting how direct and honest with Al.

    Al’s comments as armchair to history and change very interesting, like the comments above about the Conservatives identifying what they needed to change in policy and levels of government. We could use some of that strategic thinking, although not their deception.

    Good post, Nick.

  3. Indie Liberal says:

    I like Gore. I still get mad at how he was treated here in TN back in 2000. He would have made a good president. 9/11 wouldn’t have happened on his watch.

  4. Nick says:

    INdie

    Your in Tennessee? I’ve always wanted to ask a Tennessee Dem this question: Why did Gore lose tennessee in 2000? Is TN still a battleground state, or another southern state that’s gone full blown GOP (e.g. like Alabama)?

  5. florida dem says:

    Gore has been announcing he won’t run again all over the place. However, his online fans keep holding out hope he’ll run again. Maybe they will accept this as his final answer.

    Gore is a true intellectual. I agree with Marjorie, his unique vantage point to history make his observations all the more interesting. He gave a speech last year about how all the right wing groups williningly got into bed with each other. It was practically a VRWC primer for every liberal who has no idea what we are really up against. He broke it all down so well. He would have made a fine president.

  6. Indie Liberal says:

    Nick,

    Yes, I am. Some Tennesseans thought Gore had taken a turn to the left, so they thought he was too liberal and abandoned his moderate views. There was a man in his hometown of Carthage (who advertises on TV) saying he and other residents were voting for Bush because he thought Gore was “too liberal.” I know he has been trying to mend fences since 2001 by teaching at local universities. He even has a house in Nashville suburb.

  7. Indie Liberal says:

    Nick,

    As far as TN being a battleground state, it was close here in 2004, but hopefully with a Democratic governor and Senator (hopefully Harold Ford Jr. will be elected), things could change.

  8. janet says:

    I have always liked Gore and in many ways felt I could identify with him almost more so than Kerry. I have seen him three times in person—once when he was a vp candidate and he came to the UWash. The band, Heart, played, small crowd and my youngest was in a stroller–great time. The second he was a pres candidate and he flew into my community for a campaign stop and he was mobbed like a rock star. The third was a book signing in Seattle with Tipper before he had announced he wasn’t running again. I actually made him laugh when I told him I had “spawned” two baby Democrats and the oldest would vote in 2004.

    Oh sigh! Such hope for our nation at those times.

  9. Ginny in CO says:

    I do hope Gore will accept a Cabinet position. He is brilliant and has tremendous experience. I am not sure if he woulfd be comfortable with that and yet I think he has the same kind of commitment and responsibility to the country and the world as Kerry.

  10. Todd says:

    I dunno…I kinda hope Al does run. As I’ve speculated elsewhere, there’s a good chance he and Hillary would split the Clinton-loyalist vote, which opens up a sneak attack from JK. Just a thought.

    Still, wouldn’t the debates be interesting? Gore, Clinton and Kerry?

  11. Ginny in CO says:

    Todd,

    I think it would be an interesting primary, and probably an exercise in how to run a really good, thought provoking, stimulating primary race. Maybe we should get them to do it for that alone!!

  12. KJ says:

    I campaigned for Gore. Actually thought he’d take this country a long, long way, especially after Bill Clinton had his turn. I too hope he continues to speak out and write at least a weekly column. He’s a bright man and a visionary, imo.

    Todd, the chance to see Kerry, Gore and Hillary debate would be fantastic. In fact, I wonder why debates between playahs aren’t held on “off” years. Wouldn’t that be something to see? Various topics at a time?

  13. Ginny in CO says:

    KJ,
    I was always impressed with Al. What he and Bill did for the VP office was overdue. (Not to mention a huge relief after 4 years with Dan a heartbeat away..) He was absolutely a fanatastic back up for the Presidency.

    Debates in off years. Cool. We could keep some discussions on the table and work out some viable solutions & positions. Especially with those three.

    Maybe a “Meet the Dems” / “American Week in Progress Review” show, You could actually have some intelligent discussion and show how real thinkers come to consensus with out coercion or uncivil attacks.

    Yeah, sometimes my idealism breaks through.

  14. Marjorie G says:

    Could we ever have good televised discussion, with our elders, when gotcha captures of quotes wind up in opposition campaigns with none of the attempt illuminate. Almost eliminating a point of their ever running again for dogcatcher.

    But the Dems could certainly let the citizenry in on what we need to do, how difficult, how government should or could work. Loads of necessary stuff. I’d actually watch TV again.

  15. Todd says:

    Ginny in CO writes: “Maybe a “Meet the Dems” / “American Week in Progress Review” show, You could actually have some intelligent discussion and show how real thinkers come to consensus with out coercion or uncivil attacks.

    Yeah, sometimes my idealism breaks through. ”

    Maybe, but I think you and KJ are onto something. Why not have debates between “leading Dems” (doesn’t have to be just those who are going to run in ’08) in off years? With all the talk of the collapse of the Republicans, all I ever hear is “too bad the Dems don’t have a platform or coherent message to capitalize on it”.

    A series of debates between leading Dems would help strengthen the party’s focus, imo. Maybe someone should call Howie Dean.

  16. KJ says:

    Marjorie makes an excellent point, as always, but if I stay in idealism mode, can’t help but think it would be a wonderful exercise in democracy. As for changing posititions, well, that’s what grownup do. Presented with facts and a perspective they haven’t considered in just a certain light, they often do change their minds about a situation or a solution. Might help the country get away from “absolute” thinking.

    Of course, I believe in Narnia, too. 😉

    But still. Sure. Call Howie. 🙂