Tue 09 Dec
Before I learned to like baseball, the race for the Presidency of the United States was all the baseball I needed: an intensive, protracted race that changed daily, full of odd twists and turns and intricate, obscure statistical bellwethers. The news that former Vice President Al Gore will endorse Howard Dean tomorrow is exactly the kind of grand, highly dramatic turn of events that makes this race so compelling, at least to me.
Gore ran in 2000 on a blueprint that was practically hand-traced from the DNA of Bill Clinton’s centrist politics — and which served as the template for this year’s campaigns by his former running mate Senator Joseph Lieberman, and, to some extent, Rep. Richard Gephardt and General Wesley Clark. All three of those campaigns have spent the past several months standing diametrically opposed to that of Dean, the insurgent leader of the pack, and in doing so have been effectively paying a kind of homage to Gore’s 2000 bid for the White House.
And yet Gore will have effectively renounced these torch-bearers in his endorsement… The Times story includes a quote that sums up how bad this news is probably being received at various candidates’ Democratic campaign headquarters: “I think this may be the beginning of the end for the other candidates.”
This makes for great, entertaining politics, and as an uncommitted Dean supporter I’m actually happy about this turn of events. But my lingering skepticism of Dean’s ability to surmount the cloud of misinformed conservatism that has hovered over this country since Bush took office makes me wonder if it’s also just a first class upgrade on a fast train to disaster.