Showing the sort of gutsy leadership for which we all admire the guy, Al Gore publicly endorsed Barack Obama yesterday, only two weeks after Obama defeated his only remaining opponent in the primaries and became the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.
Why didn’t Al endorse Barack a few months ago when it might have been relevant to the race? Why did he wait until everyone from Hulk Hogan to Hillary Clinton had already thrown their support to Barack? Since it’s now nothing but a meaningless formality, why bother to endorse him at all?
I think Gore wants Barack Obama to win the election. I think Gore also recalls what happened to the last guy he endorsed before the primaries were over. Remember when Gore stuck his neck out and supported Howard Dean in 2004, and then Dean self-destructed by promising to march his armed supporters down the streets of Washington, D.C. and take the government by force (or something like that) following a third-place finish in the Iowa caucus? As a result, the Democrats nominated John Kerry, who, thanks to his lack of charisma and poorly articulated “fire bad!” stance, promptly lost the general election to one of the most inept and unpopular presidents in history.
We can blame Bush’s shameless fear-mongering and exploitation of the military, Dean’s left-wing stridency, or Kerry’s neck-bolts, but I think we all know what happened four years ago was all Al Gore’s fault. He jinxed Dean and Kerry the same way he did the internet, the tobacco industry, and the planetary climate. I’m not saying he does it on purpose, but everything he touches turns to shit. If I were a member of the Nobel Committee, I’d be damn sure to look both ways before I cross the street. Freakish, highly localized tornadoes do happen.
For this reason, I think Al intentionally held off his endorsement of Barack until he knew it wouldn’t mean a fucking thing. I don’t suppose too many McCain voters are going to jump ship now that Bill Clinton’s vice president has come out for the other guy. Al’s hoping he can have it both ways — he gets to publicly endorse Obama, the guy he wants to win, and soak up a little media coverage along the way; and the utter irrelevance of the endorsement hopefully means Obama’s candidacy won’t fall into the sea like everything else Al Gore gets anywhere near.
I actually like Al Gore. I feel bad for him. I’d give him a hug if I weren’t so deathly afraid.