Al Gore Won’t Run: Anatomy of a Meme

Crossposted at  dailykos and Truth and Progress
The conventional wisdom that Gore “won’t run” spread almost immedately, starting on the night BEFORE the Nobel Prize announcement. Interestingly enough, that opening salvo came not from the usual suspects on the Right, but from the Hillary camp, via an emissary by the name of Dan Gerstein, on Thursday’s night’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Hardball). But could the facts be more inconvenient, hence more threatening, to all those now pushing the status quo? 

So back to Thursday night, a few hours before the Nobel is announced, and speculation is rife as to what Gore will do if he wins. And here’s Dan Gerstein, an obscure Democratic spokesman, not given to prime time media appearances that I know of, pushing this meme that Gore won’t run, because it’s just too late, and Hillary’s lead is insurmountable, and besides, he would not run because of his long-standing friendship with the Clintons.

Now just who is this Dan Gerstein, you ask? Why, he was Joe Lieberman’s spokesman, in that worthy senator’s primary campaign against Ned Lamont, just a year ago. You might remember him as the guy who put out the lie that Lamont’s campaign had hacked Holy Joe’s campaign website, putting it out of commission — a lie that threw a wrench in Lamont’s campaign for half a day, and was later discredited completely, but that turned out to do the challenger lasting damage. Lieberman of course went on to lose the primary and wage his ensuing re-election campaign mostly with backing, funding and logistical support covertly provided by the Republicans, who wanted to ensure the re-election of a proven reliable Dem ally and deny a vociferous war opponent a voice in the Senate.

And here the plot thickens, because Lieberman also received the strong and active endorsement of the Dem establishment, including the participation of Bill himself in his re-election campaign, although the support from Hillary was a little less vocal, for strategic reasons.

Bottom line: Gerstein was the perfect mouthpiece for Operation Stop Gore, whose prime movers hail from BOTH the Republican and the Clinton camps. Strange bedfellows indeed, but very effective, for the meme quickly spread to all the news outlets, quickly confirmed by anonymous “former advisors” and “friends” of Gore, all spouting the same talking points,  while the real and current advisors and close friends of Al Gore were saying nothing, other than the usual “has no intention of running but hasn’t ruled it out sometime in the future’, except for one close, long-time staff member cryptically defined, on the record, as “sometime later than today”)).

By Friday night, just a few hours after Gore was awarded his prestigious inernational accolade, the meme that he would not run had metastasized and gone international, pushed by a cohort of well-known “former Gore” associates like Donna Brazile  and known Clinton loyalists like Paul Begala, which would seem to indicate that Bill had been busy calling in chips six ways from Sunday, from every party and media contact in a position to spread it.

Personal sidebar here: Two nights ago, I dined at the home of a well-known Canadian journalist and his well-known pundit wife. While my friend, the wife, was out of the room, her journalist husband insisted on regurgutating the meme he’d been hearing all day from the Washington Beltway via Washington-based correspondents of Canadian media. And this morning I woke up to an editorial in my local paper of record, that categorically opined that Gore will not run, proceeding to spout the very same talking points, word for word.

As for me, here’s my bottom line take on this: Al’s prime concern is the climate crisis. He never takes his eyes off the ball, i.e. his goal of achieving a massive shift in the existing paradygm, in order to take on the challenge of salvaging human civilization from the worst to come. Because he has news for the Beltway gasbags and their pupeteers in both parties: We’re out of time, all of us.

Now rewind a few months to last srping. When The Assault on Reason came out, the same gasbags failed to grasp the substantive thrust and logical end of Gore’s message. For The Assault on Reasonwas a manifesto , a  call sent out to his countrymen and women, a more substantive rhetorical iteration of Howard Dean’s fabled You Have The Power, demanding restoration of democracy, by and for and from the people. Anyone who has read The Assault on Reason carefully can have no doubt that never again will Al Gore play by “THE RULES” that determine the current American political landscape.

And anyone who watched Gore’s barnburner of a Martin Luther King Day 2006 speech before the Constitution Society on Restoring the Rule of Law knows he has shed every fear and inhibition that formerly constrained him and has turned himself into a orator of awesome, truth-telling force and power.

Gore will confound the “conventional wisdom” that has now set in cement, over the course of two short days. And if ever proof was needed of how broken the system is, how rigged the game, how our democracies have been subverted by and are hostage to Big Media conglomerates controlled by the very corporate interests that fund conventional political campaigns, then we surely have been given it. 

Which is why Gore willl enter this race, at a time and place of his choosing, and seize the moment, electrifying the nation, throwing the race wide open and changing the tenor of the political conversation for good. And he will “do all (he) can” (read go for broke) to try and fix the broken system, for he has nothing to lose other than his self-respect if he sharank from the task, and nothing to loose except even more time wasted, when the planetary emergency he sees unfolding calls for a political earthquake big enough to flip the existing paradygm and make possible the emergency measures he knows must be taken immediately, by all countries pulling together. Because the science is in and he knows, better than any of us, that we and our kind have run out the clock and OUR TIME IS UP.

To succeed, candidate Gore will have to wage an unconventional, inconvenient campaign, that will extend and ramp up and inject momentum into the unconventional, inconvenientl campaign he has been waging until now, to preserve a habitable planet for all our children.

And he will bring to the fray an ever-growing army of followers from every political persuasion, that even now is gathering, an all-volunteer corps of unlikely acolytes, including the young, the disaffected, the discouraged, all of whom do not now vote, an army of and from the people, that will rally to his banner from every corner of the Nation.

And if there were any real journalists left, this would be the story they were covering, not some manufactured soundbite-laden falsehood handed to them with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink, by some mouthpiece for Camp Rudy or Camp Hillary. 

Gore will take up the fallen mantle of Howard Dean. He is a man who thinks strategically and whose vision extends well over the artiificial horizon of the next news cycle. Above all, he is a man humble and astute enough to learn from his own and others’  mistakes. He will campaign with thunder in his voice and the heart of a lion, and inspire us all with HOPE RESTORED.

It may look impossible to you now, but as late as Friday, when he had the perfect venue, before the offices of the Alliance for Climate Protection, and indeed the perfect opportunity to bow out gracefully and hand the political baton to the current field of primary candidates, he declined to do so.

No matter what the gasbags say, Gore HAS STILL RULED NOTHING OUT. And telegraphed many times that “a Shermanesque statement” would be forthcoming (as it was in 2003, when he called off his supporters and endorsed Dean) if he were to decide to stay out of the race.

So can we at least agree that it’s WAY too late for that? Hundreds of thousands of names have been gathered, both on online petititions begging him to run and on paper ones, designed to get his name on the ballot in every state in the Union. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been pledged, some of it spent on various efforts, including ads on TV and in the New York Times, to draft him into the race. His own current staff have watched and smiled in silence as Gore has toured the country, garnering ever more thunderous ovations, urged to run from all quarters, and they have allowed DraftGore people the run of lecture halls and convention centres where their boss has appeared to give his slideshow, and where his supporters were free to pass out DraftGore 08 buttons, T-Shirts, leaflets and petitions. Yet the traditional media barely mentions these things. Funny that.

I say remember this: in politics, for better or worse (and haven’t the Bushies proven it for the worst?) ANYTHING is possible. So please heed Al Gore’s own words:

The Sierra Club’s executive director, Carl Pope, said Gore had personally urged him to persevere.

“Once, when I was particularly frustrated by challenges I faced in my job, Gore heard me out and replied, ‘Never, ever give up,’ ” Pope said. “That would seem to be his motto, as reflected in the thousands of speeches he has delivered, the Live Earth concert he built from scratch, the nay-saying he has endured, the movement he inspired.”

“Never, ever give up.” That was also Churchill’s motto, to keep up the British people’s morale, even in the darkest days of World War II, when London was aflame with German bombs and Hitler and his allies had consolidated their hold on the whole of Continental Europe.

And so we watch. And we wait. Undeterred by pundits, anonymous sources, Republican and DLC operatives united by their common fear of the threat he poses to their comfortable world of RULES and media-manufactured “inevitabilities”. And we keep the faith. And you must work harder, and you must yell louder than ever before so you can be heard, now that a fierce noise has risen up from the motley crew of visionless powerbrokers, determined to STOP DEMOCRACY from springing to life from the scorched earth of the future world they have wrought for us. 

Don’t listen to the din of denials and pundit puffery, but follow your hearts. And listen to Al. Until you hear him say that you should stop, press on, regardless!


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  1. and kill this meme!

    • RiaD on October 14, 2007 at 19:29

    from your mouth keyboard to {deity of your choice}’s ear!

    • Tigana on October 14, 2007 at 19:55

    team gore 08 let t

  2. I would choose you for a “cheerleader” any day.  😉

    It’s all about money once again and forever.  All these naysayers are simply trying to protect their investments in Hillary.

    Corporate America would see it the same way in protecting their goals in total disregard of anything else.  The Repugs would be forerunners in that respect — screaming and smearing alike!

    Maybe, and somehow, Americans will wake up to the crisis of global warming and realize that we need a leader who would crusade for our nation and the world in combatting the crucial challenges immediately before us.

    Hope and our voices may make it happen!

    • sharon on October 14, 2007 at 21:46

    i’m sending it to everyone i know and then some.

  3. In Al Gore’s own words:

    ~~~ In the United States, political will is a renewable resource. ~~~ 
    Al Gore, The Assault on Reason

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    • lezlie on October 14, 2007 at 22:56

    that Gore has so many “friends” and “advisors” all of a sudden! the question becomes when did they “advise” him… 92? 96? then probably friends of Clinton. Al and I have a mutual friend… a real friend from his TN days… and nothing has been decided!! As we used to say in the 60’s, Keep the Faith, Baby!!
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