Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is Gore running?

John Gibson will be watching Live Earth very carefully indeed on Saturday, with a stopwatch and a notepad, waiting to see any evidence at all of political airtime being given to Al Gore and a presidential campaign.

Gibson, it's fair to say, would feel vindicated by the headline in the latest Spectator:

Live Earth is Al Gore’s campaign launch

That would seem to be a bit of a cynical misuse of what is meant to be a politically neutral campaign, using all these people's goodwill and time, which they believed to be being put towards a green future, as a launchpad for a run at the White House.

But hold on - James Forsyth's article under the eye-popping headline actually says the complete opposite:
So, is this all a prelude to a Gore presidential run? This would certainly be in keeping with the new politics. Barack Obama made himself a serious contender for the Democratic nomination not by doing the traditional rubber-chicken circuit and glad-handing local power brokers, but by going on a book tour. Fred Thompson, the latest candidate to enter the race on the Republican side, is running not on his Senatorial record but his performances in the TV drama Law and Order and various B movies. The stage seems set for Gore to scoop up the Nobel Peace Prize in October, and run as an Oscar winner and Nobel laureate rather than as a former vice-president.

But political insiders don’t think he will. They point out that even now Gore only comes in third in the Democratic field, trailing both Obama and his long-time rival Hillary Clinton. Larry Sabato, professor of political science at the University of Virginia and the pre-eminent poll-watcher in America, points out that still almost half of voters would not vote for Gore in any circumstances. Most importantly if Gore shed his cloak of celebrity and became a politician again, the normal rules would once more apply. He would be savaged for not practising what he preached. His earnestness would once again be the favourite butt of late-night comedians’ jokes.

So, erm, if he's not running, how can he be launching a campaign?