The last major Democratic Party player, former vice president Al Gore, formally endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president in Detroit, Michigan, Monday night, June 16. In a rousing speech in front a huge crowd, Gore’s speech reminded the gathered Obama supporters that “elections matter.”
Indeed they do. Al Gore would have been president if not for a problem in the counting of votes in Florida in 2000, which subsequently led to a court decision that placed George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Not too many people have to be nor want to be reminded of the last seven and a half years of failure that has ensued.
But in that same time, the former vice president has lectured and made a movie about global warming. He has won an Academy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize. Politics is not the only thing Al Gore seems to be good at.
Gore began by commending Senator Obama for opposing the war in Iraq. He then went on to talk about Senator Obama’s inexperience, reading quotes that sounded like the sound bites, quotes, ads, and editorials that have become a common accusation made by Republicans, John McCain’s camp, the GOP, and conservatives in general. Only the quotes were from another time, another election. They were remarks made about John F. Kennedy by then Vice President Richard M. Nixon and the GOP in the run-up to the 1960 election.
That really got the crowd going.
CNN’s Campbell Brown stated that if Gore had been making speeches like this one in Detroit back in 2000, he would have won the election. Maybe. But his message in 2008 was clear. His support for Obama as the next American president was summed up by asking a couple questions:
“Many people have waited for some sign that our country is awakening once again. How will we know when a massive wave of reform and recovery and regeneration is about to take hold and renew our nation? What would it look like if such a change were beginning to build? I think we might recognize it as a sign of such change if we saw millions of young people getting involved for the first time in the political process. I think we might just recognize it if we saw that new generation casting aside obsolete and hurtful distinctions and reaching out to one another across the ancient divisions that have frustrated action in the past. I think we would know this change was coming if a new generation rejected the special interest politics of the past and the big money that fueled it, and instead used the internet to get small donations and unite Americans in a common effort to realize our common destiny.”
Gore stayed out of the race until there was a clear victor. His endorsement lends Obama’s camp even more weight in Democratic Party circles. There is even a link to support the Obama campaign the first page on Al Gore’s website, AlGore.com.
And just how much collateral does the name “Al Gore” hold these days? Quite a bit. He is internationally known and respected. He is considered the foremost spokesperson for environmental issues pertaining to global warming. And he is the man who would have been president had the election not been stolen from him by meddling Florida Republicans and Supreme Court justices in 2000, according to many bitter and resentful Democrats.
But will he take the vice president position himself if asked? Key advisors and friends say that he would be flattered by the offer but has no intention of becoming vice president again. David Gergen, political advisor to several presidents and a political analyst for CNN, stated on “Anderson Cooper 360” that Gore could be used most effectively with the upcoming global environmental conferences and the rewriting of the Kyoto Accord, which expires during the next presidency. And Gergen is correct; environmental issues are Gore’s passion. With his foreign policy expertise, he would be America’s best ambassador to that gathering and the perfect person to help heal an international wound.
But long before that can happen, the former vice president has decided to help the junior senator from Illinois become president. And with Al Gore’s help, he just might.
Christopher Hass, “Open Thread: “How Will We Know?”, BarackObama.com