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December 8, 2003
Somewhere in Washington, Karl Rove is Delighted

Former VP Al Gore has decided to endorse Governor Howard Dean:

Former Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) will endorse Howard Dean (news - web sites) for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean's grip on the front-runner's position and usher more support from wary party elite.

As stated several times in the article, this all but assures Dean of the nomination. While I highly doubt that Al Gore is anywhere near as popular with his party as the writer would have you believe -- let's not forget that this was the man who couldn't carry his home state when he was running on eight years of prosperity and relative peace -- he's correct about the effect of this announcement on the media, which inexplicably still thinks he's a man of political substance. He's not a man who stands by his friends, even those who stood by him, as Joe Lieberman found out tonight:

In choosing Dean, Gore bypassed his own vice presidential pick in 2000, Sen. Joe Lieberman (news - web sites) of Connecticut, who is struggling in his bid to capture the nomination. Lieberman even waited until after Gore made his decision last December not to run before embarking on his candidacy. ... Lieberman spokesman Jano Cabrera said Gore did not tell the Connecticut senator about the endorsement, which Lieberman had sought.

Lieberman, who stood by Gore during the long, nightmare aftermath of the 2000 election and who even waited for weeks before campaigning this year to see if Gore would run again, doesn't even merit a telephone call from his former running mate. Sorry, Joe. You get to find out about it from the media, like everyone else. Don't call Al, he'll call you. What a pathetic and detestable way to treat the Senator from Connecticut.

Why is Gore endorsing Dean now, instead of waiting to see how the Governor handles himself in the primaries? Hugh Hewitt discussed this on his radio show and web site (scroll up) and concluded that Gore wants to set himsef up for 2008, after the inevitable Dean meltdown, and lay claim to Dean's leftist following. Paying the Clinton wing back for real and imagined slights was another possibility. Hugh thinks that Gore can deliver the African American vote, but wouldn't the Clintons be better at that? (Gore will do better than Dean, but that's not saying a whole lot.)

I don't buy the idea that Gore is making Machiavellian moves for a run in 2008. First, Gore could have run this cycle if he wanted; Democrats practically begged him to do so, and Lieberman made a fool of himself waiting on Gore's decision, especially in light of today's events. After blowing what should have been a walkover in 2000 and going refusenik in 2004, Democrats will not be excited to see him return from the dead for the 2008 cycle. Second, if Dean's candidacy turns out to be a McGovern-like implosion, those leftists that Gore covets will be persona non grata for the next few election cycles, George Soros' money notwithstanding. They will be positively radioactive. All he will have succeeded in doing is driving the party into the Clintons' wing. Of course, if Dean wins by some miracle, then 2008 will be a re-election campaign and Gore (and Hillary) will have to wait another four years.

No, I think Gore harbors a grudge against the centrist Democrats, the realist, DLC wing associated with the Clintons, and he thinks that he can translate his popular-vote success in 2000 into a similar result in 2004, thus depriving Hillary of her only realistic shot at the White House (in eight years, she's old news) and assumes the role of party kingmaker, and likely DNC chairman, as Hugh also predicted. Gore has gone more radically left since the last election, or more accurately has become more honest about his leftist views, and should feel at home with the Deanies. As a presidential candidate, he's done. As kingmaker, he's taking his big shot.

Just wait for him to claim the invention of the Internet campaign for himself, though.

UPDATE: Power Line is less than impressed with Gore's treatment of Lieberman, too. And Jettison at Blogs for Bush describe the Gore endorsement as the start of the 2008 Hillary campaign.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 8, 2003 10:19 PM

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