I doubt he’ll pull the trigger. There’s no need for him to do so. His passion is fighting global warming, not social security solvency or extracting ourselves from Bush’s myriad messes.
Rolling Stone asserts,
Most of Gore’s closest associates believe that he is unlikely to run. “He’s hanging out with interesting people, he’s making money, but he’s still having a serious impact on the political discourse,” says Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network. “You could look at all that and say, ‘My God, he’ll never run for president.’”
A friend of mine from high school, Eli Attie, was part of Al Gore’s staff during the Clinton administration and during the 2000 election. Afterward, he got work in the private sector — as a writer and producer on the TV show The West Wing. I told him how jealous I was of his involvement in presidential politics, and he told me what a relief it was to be out of it. From all I know of what’s involved — cheap hotels, bad food, brutal hours, glad-handing every asshole in sight, constant money-grubbing, and the fearsome unblinking eye of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy — it’s perfectly understandable that Eli, Al Gore, or anyone else would be relieved to be done with it. Who, after all, would ever want to be in it? Only the hopelessly idealistic, or those with an abiding commitment to public service, or to naked power.
Al Gore has made a new name for himself as a leader whose passion on issues of global importance has transcended party politics and national boundaries. He and his proxies speak as if a presidential run would mire him in the muck, bringing him back down to a level where he could only be less effective than he is now. But recent history provides an example of another man whose moral leadership transcended politics, yet was coaxed into his country’s presidency to great effect: Nelson Mandela.
For my money, Gore is planning to run, and those who claim to know otherwise are probably dissembling in order to help him set the stage properly. (No, my friendship with Eli Attie gives me no special access nor insight one way or the other.) But just in case he really isn’t planning to run because he believes he’s found his bully pulpit, I have this message for him: the American presidency’s pulpit is bullier, and we need our Mandela.