12 June 2008

Vice President Al Gore... Again?

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Democratic Strategist James Carville argued that former Vice President Al Gore should reprise his role to serve on the ticket of Senator Barack Obama.

The 2000 election loser has seen his international status soar due to his advocacy of environmental issues and his winning of the Nobel Prize.

In the interview, CNN quotes Carville as saying:
“I think if I was Senator Obama I would say the biggest economic problem we face is the biggest national security problem and the biggest environmental problem,” Carville told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room.

“And if I were him, I would ask Al Gore to serve as his vice president, his energy czar, in his administration to reduce our consumption and reliance on foreign energy sources.

“That would send a signal to the world, to American people, to Congress, to everybody, that America's getting serious about this horrendous problem that we face.”

Interestingly, if Gore were to rejoin the political fray and become Vice President for a third time he would have spent longer in that office than anyone else in history. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride? Would Gore really want this label in history and be willing to subject himself to a subordinate role for further eight years?

His gravitas and status as the pre-eminent authority on global warming would certainly send a clear message that the United States was ready to tackle environmental issues and his southern roots (he is from Tennessee) coupled with his experience (he served in the U. S. House of Representatives (1977–85) and the U. S. Senate (1985–93) as well as being a veteran of three presidential campaigns between 1992 and 2000) would balance Obama’s youth and geography.

Some would argue that with a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award there is little need for him to return to politics. I would argue the opposite - with these accolades, surely there is no better time for him return to politics and to push for real change at the top of government. The Vice Presidency has the potential to be a powerful position with unparalleled access and influence over the President. He knows how it works and he knows which levers need to be pulled to get things done in Washington. An interesting prospect for Obama, a first term junior Illinois Senator.

And seems like I have been talking about endorsements lately (Will Bill? 11/06/08), can we expect Gore to publicly back Obama in the near future? He remained steadfastly neutral throughout the primary season – perhaps angling to become a deadlock breaking party elder, or if you believe some of the more cynical reports, wanting to emerge from the chaos of a second convention ballot to become the nominee himself.

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