Sunday, September 09, 2007

Could a Gore endorsement put Obama over the top?

For the Democrats chasing the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008, the Holy Grail now has a name: Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr.

From Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray at The Washington Post:
Former vice president Al Gore's pronouncement that he is likely to endorse one of the Democratic candidates for president before the primary season is over has set off a slew of speculation about who his choice might be.

Truth is, the courting of the "Goreacle" began many months ago. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Gore huddled in Nashville in December, and Gore has also met with former senator John Edwards (N.C.). Gore and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) conferred as recently as last week.
But there's one candidate that almost certainly won't be invited to this dance:
It seems safe to predict that Gore will not be endorsing the bid of the senator from New York. A more open question might be whether he would throw his support to Obama -- the only candidate in the top-tier who, like Gore, opposed the war in Iraq from the start -- or another surging contender at a critical moment to try to derail Hillary Clinton's quest for the nomination.
Al Gore is no political neophyte: he knows that for an endorsement to have any effect and for it to obtain any influence for the endorser, it must go to a candidate that needs it and can win with it. All of the Democratic hopefuls need Gore's endorsement to beat Hillary Clinton, but realistically only two candidates have the ability to take Gore's endorsement and win with it: Barack Obama and John Edwards. John Edwards is a good man, I supported him in 2004 and if he gets the nomination next year I will happily campaign for him, but the man of the moment is Barack Obama.

Obama has shown himself to be an exceptionally talented fund raiser, even without federal lobbyist money. Yesterday's event with Obama and Oprah Winfrey is estimated to have brought in more than $3,000,000. Obama has the financial resources to make his run and take the fight to Hillary Clinton and, later, to the Republican nominee in November 2008.

There is another factor in Obama's favor, something that I think is key, an X-factor that I haven't seen many commentators talking about: new primary voters. Anyone who has been to an Obama event in the last couple of years, and I've been to two, knows what I am talking about. People, thousands of ordinary people, will go far out of their way to see and hear Barack Obama speak. Obama gets ordinary Americans excited, and he does it by the tens of thousands.

Right now, news agencies are polling likely Democratic voters and they are seeing a great deal of support for Hillary Clinton. But the voters they are polling are likely established Democrats who voted in the 2000 and 2004 primaries. I think that next year will see a significant influx of new Democratic primary voters and most of these new voters will be coming out to support Barack Obama.

Those of us who were in Virginia last year and worked on Jim Webb's primary against Harris Miller understand how this works. Remember, Harris Miller had more or less locked up every Democratic committee in Virginia: it didn't matter because the change voters, many of whom had never voted in a Democratic primary before, came out to push Webb over the top. I believe that the current presidential primary will play out according to a similar script.

I predict that Barack Obama will receive the endorsement of Al Gore and many other prominent Democrats, including many of the current candidates as they drop out, and when the various primary days arrive early next year, the change voters will come out strongly for Obama, putting him over the top.


vwcat said...

There are some other voters that won't be counted aside from those of us who never voted in primaries and just general elections.
I watch Washington journal on cspan in the morning. if the topic is politics, more and more often, some guy, a proud and real Reagan conservative calls and says he really likes that guy Obama. Says he is not hateful to republicans and listens to them. gives them respect. They know he is a progressive. A democrat. They do not care. They like the guy and he reminds them in some ways of Reagan. makes them feel proud of their country again.
It is really strange.

The Richmond Democrat said...

Well said. I think you are correct, Obama has a really unique ability to reach out to people while remaining true to his principles. His ability to disagree without being disagreeable is going to do a lot to win converts. Obama is someone who is going to be President of the United States, not just president of a political party, or even a small faction within a political party, as George W. Bush has been.

Linda in SFNM said...

I believe the only candidate Mr. Gore will be endorsing is himself.

Every other candidate has been jumping on this to create a story for themselves after a short little interview by Harvard asking if he will endorse someone and he said "probably".

Why folks don't seem to be jumping on the real story that Mr. Gore will not say he won't run and hasn't ruled it out for himself is funnier.

No matter what, Mr. Obama does NOT share most of the values Mr. Gore holds dear, so I doubt he would even be chosen as a running mate. It would be like Lieberman all over again and we didn't know hose NeoCon Lieberman was 7 years ago. And even then, Mr. Gore said he chose Lieberman because of his strong environmental work, Obama can't even claim that.

Time for a COOL change,

The Richmond Democrat said...


I empathize with your enthusiasm for Gore, but he himself has said that he will make an endorsement.

I don't think he is interested in running, I think he's made his peace with the past and he is now devoted to environmentalism.

Maybe he will run, nothing in life is certain. But I think you should prepare yourself for the possibility that he won't, and hopefully you will be willing to support someone else, particularly if they are endorsed by Gore himself.

Mark Wiznitzer said...

I hope you are right, because Obama is the clearest way to again unite this country. I also hope your analogy of Jim Webb applies. However, I detect a strong tendency among rank and file Democrats to "win the battle" and lose the war, as they did with Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

So unless more people like Ted Sorenson Zbig Brzezinski speak out, and that would include Al Gore, I predict that Denver will hand it to Hillary and the Republicans will be laughing all the way to the White House.

The Richmond Democrat said...

The key is going to be organization. If Obama's organization can convince al those people who come out for speeches to come out on primary day, he will win this thing.

Ian O'Corrain said...

Gore, in my opinion, will either endorse Obama (in which case my 2008 dream ticket is Obama-Gore) or he will enter the race himself and Obama, with some humility, will soon endorse him as his presumed veep. We shall see.

Gore, by the way, did not say he will endorse a candidate but said, rather, "odds are that I will," a cryptic statement that is perhaps a reference to the bookies predicting a 2-1 chance of a Clinton victory.

There's a rally in support of a Gore candidacy in Des Moines on the 21st. We're not giving until Al gives us a Shermanesque statement that he won't run.

Great quote from Mencken, by the way.

Bill Earl said...

Since U. S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) dropped out(who I worked for for over two years) Gore is my first choice, but if HE opts out, I would vote for Biden, but ONLY if Biden is a viable candidate on February 5...the date of my CA primary.

If Biden drops out in January, then I have no idea who I will vote for on Feb 5.

HOWEVER,for those of us who remember "Governor Tom Bradley" of CA in 1982 have not forgotten "The Bradley Factor" (look it up on Wikipedia) which could sink Obama if he IS nominated.

I appreciate being able to comment in this forum.

BiLL Earl
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