Not really an essay. (Not gonna rant again.) Just a bloody shame!
December 4, 2007, 9:53 am
The ‘Draft Gore’ Movement, Sidelined
By Corey Kilgannon
The effort to draft Al Gore for the New York Democratic primary has been put on hold, but signed petitions are stacked in an apartment on East 84th Street just in case. (Photo: Corey Kilgannon/The New York Times)Al Gore is not running for president – not yet, anyway, his most ardent supporters would say — but the campaign to draft him in New York lives, if only on life support, in an apartment on East 84th Street.
Yes, the local “Draft Gore” campaign rests in several neat stacks of nomination petitions, on a campaign table next to “Gore for President” buttons, stickers and fliers. The table is in the modest, rent-stabilized apartment of Robert Plautz, 60 a tax lawyer and longtime Democratic activist. Mr. Plautz helped organize a last-ditch effort to put Mr. Gore on the Democratic primary ballot in New York State with a signature-gathering mission to persuade the former vice president to run again.
The petitioners began on Oct. 30 and, since Mr. Gore did not publicly tell such “Draft Gore” groups across the country to stop, they continued to gather 2,352 signatures in New York State on dozens of petitions. Finally, on Nov. 13, a Gore representative sent an e-mail message urging them to desist.
Mr. Plautz’s group complied, but not without second thoughts.
“We were told, ‘Please don’t put Al Gore in an uncomfortable position,'” Mr. Plautz said. “Some of our supporters said, ‘How do we know it’s not a dirty trick by another candidate?’ and wanted to continue on. But in the end, we felt it came from a credible source.”
Mr. Plautz said that state election law permitted petitioning until the Dec. 6 ballot registration deadline, or Thursday, to get 7,000 signatures to place Mr. Gore on the ballot for the Feb. 6 primary. Mr. Plautz estimated that the group would have gotten more than 7,000 by the deadline, then Mr. Gore would have until Monday to decline by filing formal papers with the Board of Elections.
While he accepts that Mr. Gore is not running, Mr. Plautz said, there is no sense in destroying the petitions before the Thursday deadline, in the event of a miraculous change of heart.
The campaign had no advertising and no real budget, he said. It did (and still does) have a Web site, Newyorkforgore.com, and a column section called “Reading Al’s Mind” — “in which we will post your thoughts on why Al Gore is or is not running.” (One entry is titled, “Will We Soldier On?”)
On the table in the apartment, there were letters from some of the 63 volunteer petitioners. One petition bore a purple Post-It that read, “Since I never heard back from anyone, I assume this effort is dead.”
Mr. Plautz said that, in all, he collected 99 signatures in about five hours on city subway platforms. “I’d say, ‘Would you like to see Al Gore on the Feb. 5 ballot?’ and some people would say, ‘Is he running?'” Mr. Plautz said. “Some people would look at me strangely, either because they didn’t like him or didn’t believe he could get on the ballot.”
Here’s the linky, in case you want to read the comments and/or post one yourself: