Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore for President? Why?

NUMEROUS articles have been written in the last couple of days about whether or not Al Gore will and should run for president (a quick search on Google news turns up this, this, and this). In many ways, it sounds like a good idea. Al Gore has scored plenty of brownie points with not only this country but the entire world with his push toward environmental reform. He has won an emmy, he has won the nobel peace prize... At this point in his life, he is one of the most popular current or ex politicians in the world. It is understandable that people are asking if he'll run, and many are pushing for him to enter to presidential race.

But few people have asked the most important question of all: Why?

No, not "why would we want him to run?" I know the answer to that, because I'd prefer him as president to, and would consider voting for him over all the candidates in the field. No, the real questions are "Why would he run?" and "Why should he run?"

Why would he run? This is a question that sounds like it has an easy answer: Because, as president, he can do more to help the environment.

Really? Pause for a second. Do you real think that? Do you think the president can honestly do much of anything? And what about if there is a Republican majority again? Do you think he'll be able to get anything done at all?

Becoming president could easily be one of the worst things he can do for his message. Yes, he has an opportunity to be a very prominent voice in the most powerful position in the world. But I would argue he easily has that now, and without as television ad attacks.

Why should he run? This is similar to the answer of the former question. He should run if, and only if, he can do more of a significant amount of good as president than he can as a civilian - and while I'm sure many people are looking at our current president and laughing, we are talking about how much more good he can do as president than another good Democratic candidate who isn't running on that issue. All of the current candidates believe in global warming and will do something to reverse it, and while they are not as prominent in the field as Gore is, they can probably get the same amount done if for no other reason than Republicans in Congress are going to get in their way as well.

Similarly he'd be bound to many more laws and customs that would prevent him from influencing the mass public, if for no other reason that he'd become his own polarized political figure.

But this doesn't mean he should be out of politics completely. The press and the blogosphere act as though the only option for him is either to run for president or not to. I've given my reasons why I don't believe becoming president is a huge step up for his cause, but that doesn't mean I think he should not be in politics at all. What about head of the EPA? What about United Nations rep? These are two (of probably several) high ranking positions in government that he could use to oversee his important agenda while still keeping out of the political abyss that is the presidency and congress. He can use his influence behind the scenes while still remaining a seemingly non-political figure on television or in print or whatever else he'd use to spread his message (can you name the head of the EPA off the top of you head right now? If you are reading this sentence and have not yet thought of it, don't worry, neither has anyone else).

It's a conversation that doesn't make sense to me. I want to see Al Gore elected president [again] as much as anyone, but unless someone can explain otherwise, I don't see why he would see the need, nor why that is his only political option to enact change.

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