Having now won the Norwegian Primary, it is reasonable to ask why Al Gore would want to slog his way through the snows of New Hampshire.
But the inconvenient truth is that never has the man who might yet be president needed to more seriously consider his personal legacy–not to mention the small matter of his potential to make the world anew–than now.
There is, after all, the matter of the open space at the end of what is now the most remarkable resume of anyone seeking – or considering seeking – the presidency.
This is how Al Gore’s resumé reads as of this morning:
Son of a great senator.
Harvard graduate, with honors.
Award-winning investigative journalist.
Winner of the popular vote for President of the United States.
Academy Award winner.
And, now, Nobel Peace Prize winner–he shares the prize with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–for “their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”
As resumés go, that is one for the top of the pile.
But it begs the question: Shouldn’t a man who has gotten this far be thinking about how to finish the journey?
And isn’t the last stop the Oval Office?
To think that Gore is not pondering these questions today would be absurd.
Of course, the former vice president says, “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity.”
No doubt about that.
But Gore cannot feign ignorance of his own “political issue.” When he appeared in San Francisco on the eve of Friday morning’s announcement, at a fundraising event for California Senator Barbara Boxer, the man of the hour tried to deliver an earnest address about climate change. But when he concluded his remarks, the crowd burst into chants of “Run Al Run!”
That message echoed the full-page ad that was placed by the burgeoning “Draft Gore for President” movement in the front section of Wednesday’s New York Times. The advertisement bluntly suggested that the announced contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination lack Gore’s “vision, standing in the world, and political courage” — not just with regard to climate change, but in his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq, his defenses of civil liberties and his advocacy for a renewed commitment to science and reason.
“There are times for politicians and times for heroes. America and the Earth need a hero right now,” read the Draft Gore movement’s open letter to the soon-to-be Nobel man. “Please rise to this challenge, or you and millions of us will live forever wondering what might have been.”