Is Gore taking steps toward a political comeback?


On May 13, the opening skit on ‘“Saturday Night Live’” was based on an alternate universe where Al Gore actually won the 2000 presidential election. In the sketch Gore sits in the Oval office and delivers a State of the Union address, touting the success of his ‘“lockbox’” idea and bemoaning the fact that gas is down to 19 cents a gallon and the oil companies are ‘“hurting.’”

‘“I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies, he says, ‘“because ‘— hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us.’”

Funny. And also, apparently, nutritious food for thought.

The ‘“SNL’” appearance neatly dovetails with the release of his book/movie project An Inconvenient Truth, which underscores the imminent threat of global warming ‘— the film’s Los Angeles opening attracted stars like Sharon Stone, David Duchovny, Larry David and teenage snowboarding legend Shaun White, known to everybody under 25 years old as ‘“The Flying Tomato.’”

The PR blitz begs those of us in the media to ask of Gore the same question we ask everybody who increases their profile at this point in the presidential election cycle: Do you plan to run? Again?

‘“I’m a recovering politician on about Step 9,’” Gore told the Associated Press (and a crowd in Coconut Creek, Fla.; a bunch of moviegoers after the film’s premiere in Atlanta; a group at Vanderbilt in Nashville and anywhere else he was recently asked about his viability as a candidate).

But hey, the election’s still a couple years away ‘— plenty of time for Gore to fall off the wagon. And forgive us if we’re reading too deeply into his coy (and canned) response, but it looks to us like he’s doing a bit more than shilling for his current projects.

And even if he’s not, perhaps we should take another look at Al Gore as a viable candidate for the office.

As of right now no clear front-runner has emerged from the Democrat camp though, admittedly, it is early in the cycle. But the party has been unable to generate any real excitement save for speculation about the nature of the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Rupert Murdoch, an unholy alliance that some believe to be a jiu jitsu-type ploy by the Republicans to convince the Dems to back an unelectable candidate.

Sure, he’s been batted around by his opponents and the press, but in the past few years some of the things that people were berating him for now make him look unusually prescient. Global warming is a threat to our environment. The war in Iraq was an ill-conceived mess. And he kind of did invent the internet.

He’s also proven that he can take votes away from Republicans ‘— if everyone who voted for him in 2000 does so again and is joined by all the right-leaning voters who are now jumping ship, he might even be able to seal the deal this time.

Step 9, for people in recovery, involves making direct amends to persons they have harmed, whenever possible. But in self-reflection, Gore comes out looking not so bad. Hopefully in the next few months he’ll move on to Step 10, continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admitting when he was wrong. Then on to Step 11, when he seeks to improve his conscious contact with God.

Might that be enough to bring the conservative Christians over to his side?