Let us assume for a moment that the Democratic convention commences in August without a presumptive nominee. (Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama appear likely to throw in the towel before the convention, no matter what happens on May 6, and it also seems increasingly likely that the candidates will be effectively locked in a stalemate, notwithstanding Obama's almost inevitable lead in pledged delegates and probable lead in the popular vote.) If no nominee is selected on the first ballot, the convention will become a brokered one, and (obviously) it is at this point impossible to guess who will emerge victorious on any subsequent ballot.
But imagine this: what if Barack Obama, if unsuccessful on the first ballot, rather than continue to fight for the nomination, meets with Al Gore, yes Gore, and tells him that he would willingly throw his support behind a 'Draft Gore' campaign, and become his vice-presidential running mate. One cannot imagine a scenario under which, with Obama's and his supporters' (and delegates') support, Al Gore would not become the nominee on the second or a subsequent ballot, even accounting for a last-minute furious fight by a Clinton campaign known for its fury.
Admittedly, Al Gore has often publicly said he is no longer interested in the presidency, that he is well over the disappointment of not attaining it, and that he can do better work (on the environment and global warming) as a private citizen. And he has said those things with all sincerity. But it is relatively easy to make those comments and believe them when the presidency is an abstract notion, and when the idea of entering the grueling fray of a long winter of primary politics is a singularly unattractive one to a retired politician. But one cannot underestimate the effect, sitting in the convention hall in Denver and watching the future of his party, and potentially his country, being decided and his being offered, on the proverbial silver platter, the opportunity to likely become the forty-third president of the United States a mere two-and-a-half months later, can have. (And who really believes that as president of the United States he cannot do more for his cause than he can as a tireless, and admittedly often effective, private citizen?) As the saying goes, "show me the money," and such a scenario would surely have to figuratively count for a lot of cash. Nobel prize winner, Oscar-winner Albert Gore would have to possess an unusually small or suppressed ego, something neither he nor any other politician is known for, to refuse the proposition.
But why, one might ask, would Obama make such a suggestion in the first place? Well, why shouldn't he? He is, and would be, understandably reluctant to become the Clinton running mate, a rival he will have arguably beaten; he would understandably be reluctant to become the running mate of a rival whose husband was himself a two-term, and highly popular, president, and he would be understandably reluctant to become the running mate of someone whose campaign at least, if not always herself and her spouse, has engaged in rather vituperative, malicious, and even vulgar attacks on him and his character. But the running mate of the granddaddy (now that Bill can really no longer be considered that) of his party? Barack Obama knows full well that if he cannot become president in 2008, matched with the right candidate (and assuming a good eight years), he will likely become president in 2016. When he is still in his fifties. He also knows that even were he to prevail at a brokered convention, he will be in a tough fight against John McCain, not least because as we have recently re-discovered, race cannot not be factor in these United States, certainly not in 2008.
I have been, and am still, an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama for President of the United States. I believe that an Obama presidency will be enormously beneficial for the country and will have the potential to revolutionize our foreign policy, to the great advantage of the U.S. and the rest of the world. I am still hopeful, indeed optimistic, that he will become the nominee of the party, and believe he should. But if that is not to be, Obama might do almost as much good as the Vice President, at least in a Gore administration.
A Gore/Obama Democratic ticket would be a hard one to beat by any Republican, let alone the seventy-one year old John McCain, who can hardly be considered one of the more formidable Republican nominees in recent history. Dream ticket? It's this, not Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton. Al Gore and Barack Obama, if they were to seriously consider running together, would be the saviors of what soon will be a fractured Democratic party, and would virtually ensure a Democratic White House in 2009. And as my friend Glenn O'Brien, copywriter extraordinaire, pointed out last year (well before it was clear that Gore would not be running) a Gore campaign would have the ultimate campaign slogan, one that Obama, (even) Clinton, their supporters, and many independents couldn't help but happily endorse: "Re-elect Gore 2008."