With the GOP’s lukewarm sentiments about McCain, and conservative suicide voters threatening to go Democratic, plenty of votes are up for grabs. The liberals could win this election, but much of it will depend on their choice of vice-president. John Edwards seems like a natural pick as someone who could win southern states, but it may not be in Obama or Hillary’s best interests to choose him as vice-president. Edwards ran two failed presidential campaigns. As Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate, Edwards failed to gain a single southern state. If Obama and Clinton want an effective vice-presidential candidate, Al Gore is their best bet.
At first glance, Vice-President Gore seems like a strange choice. Gore’s 2000 campaign was a mess. Mr. Inconvenient Truth was too liberal for conservatives and not Green enough for Nader. Voters perceived Vice-President Gore as fumbling, socially awkward, and wooden. So ineffectual was Gore’s campaign that he failed to win Tennessee and Arkansas (his and Mr. Clinton’s home states). Yet the problems that plagued Vice-President Gore in 2000 no longer seem relevant. History has somehow redeemed him. Since 2000, Gore has become a best-selling author, an Oscar winner, and a Nobel Prize recipient. Vice-President Gore would be a boon for either Obama or Clinton.
Mr. Obama’s fans flock to him with messianic devotion. Ideologically, Obama is a typical party-line liberal. Yet like many things in life, it’s all in the packaging. With a winning smile and a gift for words, Obama has the uncanny ability to tap into an emotional core. He inspires supporters to hope for a better tomorrow. Who needs self-help books when Obama is in the house?
Yet Obama has his detractors. He enjoys support from college students, academics, African-Americans, and liberal New York investors. But he detracts conservatives, establishment liberals, and senior citizens. Critics point to Obama’s thin resume and empty platform. People accuse him of skating by on charm, rhetoric, and empty promises.
Vice-President Gore could aid Obama by bridging the generational gap. With a 24 year record in public service, Vice-President Gore would appeal to older Americans who tend to vote on experience. Also, while Vice-President Gore is a liberal, he and Mr. Clinton originally ran on a moderate platform. Even as Democrats, President Clinton and Vice-President Gore represented a departure from the radical liberalism of McGovern and Teddy Kennedy. Clinton and Gore cut spending on welfare and promoted free trade through NAFTA. If Vice-President Gore returned to his moderate roots, he might sway swing voters who would otherwise be turned off by Obama’s leftist agenda.
Hillary, on the other hand, is running on experience. Mrs. Clinton trumps Obama at the debates. She knows the system inside out and has many friends in Washington. Yet experience is a double-edged sword for Hillary. While voters argue that she’s earned it and that she has paid her dues, many people find her abrasive, out of touch, and jaded. Mrs. Clinton carries the baggage of Monica-gate. People accuse Hillary of only staying with Bill to elevate her political agenda.
Vice-President Gore may help Mrs. Clinton. Unlike Bill and Hillary, Gore does not carry Lewinsky baggage. Whatever problems, at least Al Gore is happily married. Vice-President Gore has also enjoyed a surge in popularity. His Live Earth Concert brought in celebrities like Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, and Kayne West. At the Oscars, Gore was embraced by the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, and pretty-boy Leonardo DiCaprio. Vice-President Gore is Hollywood’s darling. As a running mate, Gore could boost Hillary’s Tragically Unhip image, appeal to young voters, and even get her a spot in Oprah’s Book Club. Even Britney Spears may drag herself out of rehab to vote for Gore.
John Edwards is unelectable. Vice-President Gore, on the other hand, left office with a 60% approval rating and nearly won the presidency. With a disgruntled GOP and many swing votes up for grabs, Vice-President Gore may help the Democrats clinch this election.