A Democrat’s dream for 2008

Brian Murray

As a Democrat, I am excited with the results of the election last week, although I am a bit worried about our prospects to win the presidency in 2008. It will be hard to distance ourselves from the Republican Congress that did not have much to show for its existence.

Winning in ’06 could be the worst thing that happened to Democrats. If they hadn’t won, by the time 2008 came around people would have been so angry that Democrats may have swept both branches of government.

That being said, in the spirit of the recent media trend of talking about the 2008 presidential election ridiculously early, I’ve been thinking lately about our prospects in ’08.

Barack Obama seems to be the chosen boy these days, especially since Mark Warner dropped out. It seems everyone is looking for the Hillary-alternative. But other candidates, namely Joe Biden, Evan Bayh, John Edwards, John Kerry and Wesley Clark seem to lack the charisma of Obama and the overall ability to appeal to moderate sentiment.

But I believe someone we have all forgotten is the most likely dark horse to come as the Hillary-alternative and win the nomination. His name: Al Gore.

Although I agree Obama represents the future of the party and will be president someday, I worry about his ability to fight his inexperience. It reminds me eerily of John Edwards in 2004.

Thus, my conclusion is this: a Democrat ticket of Al Gore and Barack Obama makes the most sense if the Democratic Party wants to take the White House in 2008. Here are the reasons why:

First, Gore left Washington and will come back as an outsider that has been separated from politics for eight years. He has had no connection to the Republican leadership from 2002-2006, and he will have no connection to the recently-elected Democratic Congress that will struggle to get things done. Therefore, he is a dark horse candidate that has no recent failures to plague him.

Second, he is the only candidate with a direct political connection to the party face, namely, Bill Clinton. Hillary has no political connection to him other than being his wife. Gore is a Hillary-alternative that also has an attachment to Bill Clinton, which equals possible successes in the Southern states that helped Clinton get elected. It is doubtful that Hillary can win those states, considering that most Americans have an opinion of her that is unlikely to change.

Third, Obama, as much as I would love to see him run and become president because I think he is one of the best future candidates this country has, will struggle with the same attacks that plagued John Edwards, namely, little experience and knowledge of foreign affairs. John McCain could look like a foreign affairs savior compared to Obama, and it could tip the election, considering Iraq and terrorism will still be issues. Gore has that experience as vice president for eight years.

Fourth, Gore represents the heat of the party that needs to return to Clintonite Democratic politics if it will convince the electorate to vote for it. While Gore represents the old guard with the experience to lead, Obama is the future of the party. He is the bright, young and charismatic leader that will lead the Democrats into the next part of the 21st century. He will gain the valuable experience he needs to run for president as vice president. This experience would be infinitely more valuable than a stay in the Senate. This will ensure Obama can run in four or eight years.

Fifth, most Americans think Al Gore is a good guy. He is not considered crazy for his global warming campaign, considering that most Americans think it is a significant problem. Let’s not forget that he won the popular vote six years ago, and people are becoming nostalgic for Bill Clinton’s economic times, especially the middle class and independents, who are driving the outcomes of elections these days.

Sixth, a Gore-Obama ticket provides the necessary melding of experience and future that the American people can trust as both tested and visionary.

The Republican opposition would have almost no remedy that could mirror the same type of blend. Young Republican stars are rare these days, and there are none that could bring to a ticket what Obama brings. Perhaps the only presidential contender with the experience of Gore and connection to the American people is McCain.

However, McCain has never received 50 million votes. He is also very old. I think Americans want a relatively young president, or at least someone on the ticket that is young.

Seventh, to all those that say Gore does not want the presidency, he has never ruled out a future in politics. He is quoted as saying, “I don’t seek the presidency right now, but I won’t rule a future in politics out.” That was in 2004 and 2005, hardly right now.

So what should we look for? This is my advice for the next year.

Gore will stay silent until close to next fall. He does not have to announce early because he will be able to raise money no matter the date because he has some money, a global warming campaign, and he is the alternative to Hillary, which will get him some donors from other Democrats that want someone other than her.

Also, the later he announces, the less connection he has to the current Democrats and the Congress that will be struggling to get things done. The less press, the better for Gore because he won’t have to take public stances on the problems plaguing Congress until closer to the election. This will feed his outsider perspective and allow him to play up his image as a ’90s Clintonite Democrat.

Look for Gore to run as the Hillary-alternative and defeat her in the primary, taking Obama as his running mate and to win the election in November 2008. It’s a Democratic dream ticket leaving Republicans virtually speechless. Plus there’s an unbelievably natural campaign slogan: GO!