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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

If I Had the Time: The Electable Gore

If I had the time, I would definitely have to discuss a recent article in The New Republic that seems to support the idea that Al Gore is “more electable” than Hillary Clinton.

But the logic of the Gore candidacy is that, unlike other Democrats, he could attack Hillary as both out of step on the war and unelectable come November. If he runs for president he would be the only candidate in either party who instantly passes the post-9/11 threshold on national security issues. Hillary’s credible case that as first lady she engaged in diplomacy and was treated abroad like a world leader would be dwarfed by Gore’s eight-year record as vice president sitting on the National Security Council.

And Gore might be the only Democrat who can solve a vexing issue facing the party: How does a candidate establish a reputation for toughness on national security while simultaneously criticizing the war? Gore supported the Gulf War and, in most Clinton administration battles over the use of force, he took the more hawkish position. He is the party’s only credible antiwar hawk.

First, while there were people who supported John Kerry on his own merits, there is no doubt in my mind that a large portion of the activist left supported Kerry only because they believed he was “electable"--that is, he would be the man who would save them from another term with Bush in office. Falling into the trap of merely gauging electability instead of relying on strong messages and idea would probably spell failure for whomever Democrats run against the GOP.

Second, the idea that Gore has credibility on any subject is a stretch. Sure, he has some resume padding in that direction, but in the years since his loss, he has been preaching only to the hard, activist left on issues ranging from the environment to the war. He has no standing with moderates and I don’t know anyone in that camp who considers him to have a credible voice in respect to the war on terror. Hillary Clinton, as hated as she is by some and as affeted as she seems to be in positioning herself for a presidential campaign, seemingly has a better reputation with moderates.

Third, Gore’s bearded years are a goldmine for the kind of ads that run during election years. Without resorting to really nasty tricks, Gore’s image would be of a bearded, lost outsider with no feeling for what the rest of the country has been most concerned about. The images and speeches may play well with the Howard Dean/Wesley Clark supporters, but Iowa and Ohio will reject him out of hand.

So, yeah, if I had time, I would beg the Democrats to put their support behind a man who couldn’t ride economic prosperity and general (if slightly misplaced) national optimism to his own presidency. Focus on the “electability” of a man who has grown even more out of touch with Main Street instead of developing messages and leadership that can sway a majority of Americans to vote Democrat.

The party of Pelosi and Dean seems to be bent on suicide in the face of a Republican breakdown.

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instead of developing messages and leadership that can sway a majority of Americans to vote Democrat.

Maybe I’m shallow, narrow minded, and partisan, but I can’t imagine a circumstance in which I would vote for a Democrat. You see, even if a particularl candidate seems reasonably good, they bring with them the rest of their party. ALL of them. That’s something I just CANNOT stomach.

on Oct 18 2005 @ 12:34 PM

While I’m unlikely to vote Democratic, pretty much regardless of the candidate (I’d vote third-party first), I’d actually like the Democrats to put up a real candidate.  If you don’t have a credible opponent, there is much less reason to actually listen to your supporters.

The Democrats have largely captured the Black vote in the US.  As a result, the Democrats can ignore the concerns of the Black community, to its great detriment.

The country needs sane candidates from both major parties.

on Oct 18 2005 @ 01:41 PM

The Democrats haven’t nominated anyone since I’ve been able to vote that I considered a reasonable alternative. The 3rd party candidates are typically worse.

If there isn’t anyone worth voting for in 2008, I’m not yet sure what I’ll do. I suspect that a lot of people will just stay home.

on Oct 18 2005 @ 01:48 PM

Oh, and I agree: the country would be better off with a strong opposition party instead of the steadily declining Democrats.

on Oct 18 2005 @ 01:49 PM

If there isn’t anyone worth voting for in 2008, I’m not yet sure what I’ll do. I suspect that a lot of people will just stay home.

And this is very dangerous. Imagine a vacuum of leadereship. Who will come along to fill the void and what horrible thing will people allow them to do simply because they have a strong personality or exude strength and charsima?

on Oct 18 2005 @ 02:09 PM

If necessary (and I’m probably talking about a John McCain nomination here), I’ll choose the least worst alternative.  I will do this to avoid voting for a candidate I cannot stomach, and knowing that the candidate I vote for has no chance of winning.  My hope would be that a significant electoral setback, like that in 1992, will cause a change in the attitude and actions of my party.

on Oct 18 2005 @ 05:48 PM
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