Posted by: David Kiley on October 15, 2007
I listened to so-called political experts on National Public Radio ruminating that Al Gore would find it difficult to make headway in a run for Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 2008 at this “late date.”
Seems to me that there are two things going on. Al Gore, in my estimation, has a bigger brand than Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If you were Al Gore and saw the ridiculous exchanges between Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Gravel. Kucinich, Dodd and Biden, why would you sully your brand by getting into a situation where you are expected to show up at these small beer debates still populated by people with no shot at the nomination. Al Gore mixing it up with noisemakers like Kucinich and Gravel after winning a Nobel Peace Prize?
The system is now rigged to pretty much prevent Gore from running. To get in now and subject himself to the nonsense between now and the primaries would lower is soaring brand power. He wouldn’t, I think, be able to dodge all the debates before the primaries. Or could he?
What surprised me was the boys-on-the-bus gang opinions about Gore not being able to challenge Hillary Clinton. It seems pretty clear to me that Al Gore, if he chose to get in, would suck the oxygen out of a lot of Obama’s support, most of Edwards, and even cut into Hillary’s. A lot of people who have given money to Clinton and Obama, would hit their wallets again for a candidate they were sure could beat a GOP nominee. Gore is the only one in the field who, hands down, wins all the Democrats and enough independents to guarantee a Democratic win. He is really the only one who could suck substantial support and resources out of every other candidate running.
And, he would keep a lot of hard-line, but disaffected, Republicans at home on election day—people who will only come out this time to vote against Hillary Clinton rather than voting for Rudolph Giuliani or Mitt Romney.
But Al Gore understands his brand. He is worth, by some estimates, in excess of $100 million. By the time 2008 actually rolls around, his net worth could easily be up to $150 million. What if, by the time the Democratic Convention rolls around, there is so much worry over a Democratic loss to the GOP candidate that the party reaches out to Gore at the convention to only run for the last two months before the election as their best hope? Now, that would be a great brand story…if the system allows it. If it doesn’t…we need a new system.