In recent days a lot of speculation about a potential 2016 run for the White House by Al Gore have surfaced. I don't know where these rumors started, David A. Graham at the Atlantic has a rundown of some of the possible culprits.
Wherever the rumors started, I have to believe that it's an idea being touted by people who don't remember the 2000 election or it's Republicans who'd like to run against a punching bag next year.
Al Gore has been a great champion for climate change, but he's a terrible campaigner.
The 2000 election should have been a cakewalk. The United States had seen eight years of economic growth, record low interest rates and unemployment and no serious military conflicts. People in Washington were even using the phrase "peace dividend". Budgets were not only balanced but the US government was running a surplus and using it to pay down the national debt and Clinton had come closer than anyone has sense to getting a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Monika Lewinski or no Monika Lewinski, Gore should have been able to start campaigning the day before the election and still coast to a victory. Instead he lost to a bag of hammers.
Before hardcore Dems (who do remember) start in, I know he won the popular vote; I know about hanging chads and the Supreme Court - none of that should have mattered.
His opponent, George W. Bush, was completely unqualified and could barely string together a sentence even when he was reading it off a teleprompter.
He "lost" Florida but he also lost Ohio and New Hampshire and his home state of Tennessee.
In 96 Clinton won Tennessee, he also won Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia all of which Gore lost.
Gore campaigned badly enough to lose, what should have been a landslide to one of the worst candidates ever fielded by a political party. He lost and then he and his supporters blamed 'hanging chads' on a handful of ballots in one state.
Gore has been, or will have been, out of the game for 16 years by the time the next election rolls around. During that time he has lectured quite a bit, but he has not done much debating. In case you don't remember, lecturing instead of debating was considered one of his weaknesses in the 2000 election. Republicans would also have accusations of "unwanted sexual contact" to throw at him and would use his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera to rake in billions in donations.
Al Gore has been a great champion for climate change and as a Vice President he was extremely adequate, but as a candidate there is no reason to believe that he would fare any better than he did in 2000. The Republicans, for their part, have more bags of hammers waiting in the wings.
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