Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Talk of Gore in '08 Reaches Fervent Pitch

With the release of his documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," taking place tomorrow in select cities (the Milwaukee and Madison opening is June 16), Al Gore is all over the news. And talk of a Gore presidential bid in '08 is coming right along with the coverage.

The documentary has received rave reviews by every audience that's viewed it, which bodes well for Gore's popularity. As a politician, Gore was always considered thoughtful and intelligent on the issues. His one downside was always a lack of charisma.

But with this documentary, which features Gore prominently, along with some hilarious recent appearances on Saturday Night Live, Gore has largely remade his public image into someone who's both smart and vibrant. And this makeover appears likely to stick, unlike some of the hastily conceived transformations from his 2000 campaign (I think everyone remembers "the kiss").

Here's the trailer for "An Inconvenient Truth" -- pretty powerful stuff:



Many Dems see Gore as one of only two people who could topple Hillary Clinton as the nominee in 2008. The other: Barack Obama.

And for those, like me, who figured 2008 was too soon for a presidential bid by Obama, there's some evidence that suggests otherwise.

Obama recently wrote a book that's going to be published this October called The Audacity of Hope. In it he doesn't take too kindly to his current position in the US Senate. In an excerpt that can be downloaded from his website, Obama writes:

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Except for the few minutes that it takes to vote, my colleagues and I don't spend much time on the Senate floor. Most of the decisions--about what bills to call and when to call them, about how amendments will be handled and how uncooperative senators will be made to cooperate--have been worked out in advance, by the Majority Leader, the relevant committee chairman, their staffs, and (depending on the degree of controversy involved and the magnanimity of the Republican handling the bill), their Democratic counterparts. By the time we reach the floor and the clerk starts calling the roll, each of the senators will have determined--in consultation with his or her staff, caucus leader, preferred lobbyists, interest groups, and ideological leanings--just how to positions themselves on the issue.

. . .

In the world's greatest deliberative body, no one is listening.

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Although seemingly discontented with his current job, Obama doesn't appear to be interested in leaving public office anytime soon. Earlier this year he started the Hopefund PAC that's already distributed millions to Democratic candidates for the upcoming midterm elections.

As Jason Zengerle of The New Republic notes about these revelations: "Spreading money around to Democrats all over the country, making noises about how the Senate maybe isn't the best place for him to affect political change--sounds like a guy thinking about running for president to me!"

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