06/02/2008 12:14 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gore's Sacrifice Squandered

Enough about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party at large. The real loser in this historic battle for the Democratic nomination is Al Gore. Following his defeat by Katherine and the Supremes in 2000, the candidate-turned-caveman-turned-activist quickly became something of a rallying cry for Democrats. Gore was the primary victim of Republican treachery and his fate was invoked by John Kerry in 2004 and Clinton and Obama this time around.

The message: Republicans are thugs, they will cheat again.

Of all the electoral gifts the Bush Republicans have handed Democrats in the last seven years (some more enthusiastically received than others), the Florida debacle was undoubtedly the best/worst. Remember all the sound bites of Kerry & Co. regarding Bush's inability to carry the popular vote the first time around? And, remember how the big news on November 3rd wasn't really the president's reelection itself but rather the fact that he now had a "mandate" -- something not even 2000 version of justice could afford him?

Alas, the future campaigning Godsend that was Gore's crucifixion has been irrevocably squandered by Hillary Clinton in her increasingly demon-possessed candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

The Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee's decision on Saturday guarantees Barack Obama's nomination. Yet Clinton and her supporters' ludicrous proposal -- that of absolute reinstatement and seating of all Michigan and Florida delegates -- is the ultimate indignation of an already ugly campaign season. Al Gore was essentially awarded Democratic martyrdom in 2000 for the grandest of betrayals by a broken system. If anything positive were to come from Republican contempt for the Democrats, it would be the scar that would forever mar the complicit GOP machine.

In other words, Gore took a bullet for the party in 2000 even if the exit wound was only partially punched.

Suddenly, still recovering from the investigations and impeachment proceedings of the Clinton administration, Democrats had the upper hand in the ongoing pray-off over righteousness -- an issue with deep implications in the branding of both parties, but particularly the Republicans.

All that came crashing to a halt several weeks ago when Hillary Clinton decided that, despite the state parties' clearly violating the rules set forth by the DNC, she would push for the delegates she supposedly won from Michigan and Florida to be seated at the convention, making of it a phony case of disenfranchisement. All of this despite the fact that her opponent had acted in accordance with the rules, even going so far as to withhold his name from the Michigan ballot.

As OTB's own Dawn Teo recently wrote, "Just because Clinton understands that the rules were broken does not mean that she thinks the rule breakers should be punished."

So much for Gore's sacrifice. No wonder he has so retreated from the political stage.

I don't know how a dictionary would define faith, exactly, but I was once told that faith is believing in the truth of something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In this respect, Hillary Clinton's continued persistence is an act of deep faith, and one that is perhaps most easily understood in its most personal context. This was, after all, supposed to be her year and the culmination of an undeniably extraordinary life and career that has brought her -- nearly -- to the very pinnacle of political success.

But faith alone isn't good enough in politics and, in the case of Hillary Clinton, it's just damn misguided.

It's time for hope.