Thursday, May 8, 2008

Al Gore as Vice President

I don't know if Al will want the job. If he doesn't take it, he'll go the way of Colin Powell: someone who was in line for the White House, but who failed to stay in the limelight and therefore no longer has the chance. Al's environmental crusade is important and global, but it's everyone's concern now. Even as its frontman, I don't believe he will have enough visibility four years from now, or eight, to be in a position to run for president. Being vice-president again would be a been-there, done-that role for Al. But it would also put him back, a heartbeat away from the presidency, where he would have some advantages for environmental purposes that he will not have in the political wilderness, especially if he bargained with Obama for an express environmental portfolio. And in the keep-it-clean campaigns that Obama and McCain talk about, running as Veep might not sully Al overmuch. He could be bigger than the job without necessarily letting it diminish him. Al as vice president would bring some advantages for the Democrats. There would be, for some, the inevitability and historical factors: Al won it already, for chrissake, let him have it -- and hey, we can still have a whiff of the Clinton era without the Clintons. The white male voters who have not been too keen on Obama might find Al's portly presence reassuring. Finally, Al could play the role of the unifier, between the Clinton and Obama camps.