Al Gore has until the end of October to run for president. If he doesn't act by then, the moment will have passed and it will forever be too late.
He can't pull a Fred Thompson and wait for months to get into the race. First, he would lose all momentum. Second, he is never going to have more momentum than now. Third, people hate someone who can't make up their mind and keeps waffling.
This is the time for action. If he makes a bold and decisive move within the next two weeks, he can grab this race by the throat. If he doesn't, he's out.
Besides, there really isn't that much time left before Iowa and New Hampshire anymore. This is do or die time. Now, what should he do?
Of course, he should go in!
No one can have as much an impact on the world as the President of the United States of America. After all, look at what George Bush has done to the world in the last six years. If Gore truly believes what he is saying about global warming and the abuses of the constitution and the failings of the Iraq War, then he has an obligation to enter the race.
Is there tremendous personal risk involved? Yes. The conservatives - and the media - will instantly be back on his throat. They'll dredge up all the old bullshit (Vanity Fair has a great article on the hatchet job the press did on Gore in 2000, read it here). They will take some of that Nobel and Oscar luster off of him. He'll have to get back in the mud. It's not an inviting proposition.
So, what's the alternative? Sit back and do nothing? Won't his words seem empty then? He's not a regular Joe; he is as viable candidate as there has ever been. He can't claim he didn't have a chance. He not only has a chance, he has an excellent chance.
He's already winning in Michigan among the Democrats and he's not even running. And if he makes it out of the primaries, he has an even better chance of winning the general election. The Democrats have huge leads on every issue nationwide, and oh yeah, he already won the popular vote once before. Who voted for him last time and thinks, "Boy, I wish I voted for Bush instead?"
If he doesn't run, won't his reputation take a hit, too? The man who could have changed the world, but didn't. That's rough. And it would be true.
Finally, he knows this field of Democratic candidates is the same old cautious crew. So afraid of their shadows that they are paralyzed into inaction. They call the Bush administration the worst ever and then never effectively challenge them on any of the issues. A field of followers.
By the way, if Gore gets in, he better be the Gore we've seen in the last six years, not the Gore of 2000 or the Kerry of 2004 or the Hillary of 2007. There's an old Top Gun saying, "Turn into the fight."
If he comes in, he better come in swinging. Don't let anyone smear him again without punching back. Stand up for the issues you believe in and if you lose, you lose (but if he fights like this, he won't lose). At least you can hold your head up high that you did the best you could for your country. Can he really say that now?
So, in the end, should he run even if it means risking his reputation? Let me ask you -- what would a patriot do?