Al Gore and the Presidency

AL GORE AND THE PRESIDENCY….Matt Yglesias says everyone should give up on the idea that Al Gore might run for president:

That said, I agree with the basic sentiment: Gore hits the sweet spot of experience and vision in a way that nobody else can. What’s more, a person who’s in a position to be a viable presidential candidate and who believes the things Gore says he believes almost has a duty to run, a duty that I’m sad he hasn’t seen fit to take up.

Me too. At the same time, I feel like there’s an obvious point to make about Gore that, for some reason, no one ever makes: the stuff he’s done over the past five years that puts him in that sweet spot is largely stuff he was only able to do because he had the freedom of not running for office. Real politicians who are running for real office have to be very careful about what they do and say. They have to pander to interest groups, they have to raise millions of dollars from rich donors, and they have to soften up their positions to avoid alienating too many fence-sitters. That’s just the way it is, and while it’s nice to think that maybe Gore would have figured out a way to square this circle and still win, it ain’t so. If Gore were seriously seeking office he simply wouldn’t have been able to spend his time the way he has since 2002.

Plus, as Bob Somerby tells us, Gore also knows perfectly well that the quasi-cease-fire he’s had with the press recently would break down completely if he actually ran for office. We’d be back to stories about earth tones and discovering Love Canal, profiles that harped endlessly on his stiffness and wonkiness, and talking head buffoonery about his weight or the size of his house. Is it any wonder he figures he can get more done as a private citizen than as a Democratic primary candidate?