Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Gored Again II

More people seem to be coming to the understanding expressed here that Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean is mostly a Gore uppercut to the Clintons.
But it's hard to know what to make of this bizarre observation rom the Daily News:

Behind the scenes, observers said the frosty response had more to do with 2008 - when both Gore and Hillary Clinton are projected as potential presidential contenders - than current affairs.

There are "observers" who think that there is a serious chance that Al Gore plans to be a contender in 2008? After completely passing up 2004? One is tempted to think that those must be the "observers" who stay behind the scenes because smoking dope in public is still illegal. But stranger things have happened - especially where Mr. Gore is involved.

Mr. Gore's endorsement does create a curious additional incentive for Senator Clinton. If Howard Dean is the nominee, then even if he is not elected he will have plenty of opportunity to rid the Democratic Party of lingering Clintonian influence - especially the egregious Terry McAuliffe and his flock. Mr, Gore's enthusiastic endorsement will make it all the easier for Dr. Dean to sweep out the Clintonian detritus.

Further, absent a complete Dean disaster in the general election (which is possible, even likely - but far from assured), Dean's influence in the Democratic Party establishment could long linger - just as the Clintons' influence has lingered. Worse, if Dean is nominated, Senator Clinton will have the unpleasant choice of (1) vigorously supporting Dr. Dean, thereby undermining her own institutional position and simultaneously associating herself more closely with a Dean disaster instead of positioning herself as the post-election-disaster savior, or (2) distancing herself from her party's candidate, thereby positioning herself as the post-election-disaster savior, but also undermining the candidate, giving herself a further reputation as a divisive figure in the party and making more and more intense enemies within the Party. Even if she evades all those rocks, Senator Clinton - who already controls much of the Democratic Party machinery - will be no better off than she is now following a Dean loss. And if he wins, she's finished forever as a Presidential possibility.

The conventional wisdom - and my opinion - has been that Senator Clinton is unlikely to run in 2004 because the conditions for a Democrat win are not good (especially on the economic front). But if she sees a Dean nomination - especially one coupled with the Clinton-hostile Gore endorsement - as reducing her chances in 2008 enough, she might well reconsider.

Does any of that help explain why her sock-puppet, Wesley Clark, is suggesting that Senator Clinton may be his running mate?

Or maybe it will just turn out to be the other way around.

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