The time has come to have a serious discussion about Al Gore and about whether or not you want him to run for president because let's be honest with each other, Al Gore doesn't have to run.
He can go forward and fight his fights from the outside in. He can run a different campaign and keep winning it. If you were Al Gore, you probably wouldn't run either. Do I think he would lose a lot of momentum if and when it's clear he isn't running for President? Hell yes. But he would still have plenty to do.
But I'm here to say: we need Al Gore.
Not from a "wouldn't it be great and make the perfect t.v. movie moment and we fade from hanging chads to confetti at The White House" but from a real deep need: this country needs Al Gore.
Al Gore thinks he is a lousy politician, he's right. He is. We need some lousy politicians who say what they mean and mean what they say. We need some lousy politicians who can't stop themselves from rolling their eyes when a member of the press asks a moronic question. We need someone who points out how stupid the captions are on t.v. shows. We need Al Gore.
Al Gore lost a race in 2000 that shouldn't have even been close. I love this about him as a potential candidate. We need someone who has run the race and lost because only someone who has lost can win in 2008. Why?
Someone who has lost will laugh when the consultants tell him what they want to charge. (20 million for six months work in the McCain campaign for example, that's what these people think is reasonable and those assholes will get jobs with someone else just you watch.)
Someone who has lost will stick to what they think. Someone who lost and left DC will look at DC and say hmm, I lived there? What was I thinking?
Besides I don't need another a candidate to learn from losing. Gore lost and learned. Kerry lost and someday will learn. I don't need Barack or Hillary or Edwards to learn from losing - I need someone who has lost to win by learning from a previous lost.
Furthermore, for a Democrat to win, and I truly believe this, we need to run an entirely different kind of race. When I see John Edwards's first tv commercial or read Mark Penn's strategy memo or see Barack's response to 'the troops not being funded,' I don't see anyone who has much of a clue.
How about a Presidential Campaign that is new media driven where the candidate actually gets new media? How about a Presidential Campaign that has a contribution limit of $500 per person? How about a Presidential Campaign that's about YouTube and bloggers and the soul of new media? Not just the bells and whistles of a souped up traditional campaign.
Hell, how about a campaign that isn't run by, for and about Washington and instead have one that is by, for and about the people?
Paging Al Gore.
We also need a Democratic candidate who publicly and loudly called the Iraq War a mistake right from the beginning. We need a candidate who didn't vote without reading the intelligence and is now trying to correct a mistake.
We need someone who was right from the start. Because let me tell you - if you think Iraq is a mess now, wait till the end of this year - and seriously, two of our three candidates voted for the war and the other, to be fair, wasn't on the stage at the time. Of course, then there's the guy who called it a disaster before it actually was one.
That would be Al Gore.
We need a Democratic candidate who has seen the worse the other side has to offer; who has seen how they fight and how they win. We need someone who understands the evil within the opposition. We need someone who is willing to bring a gun to the gunfight. Say Al Gore.
We need a Democratic candidate who understands how the issue of climate change is impacting our world from a security standpoint, from a poverty and education point, we need someone who can use signing statements for someone other than torture. Al Gore springs to mind.
And unfortunately so do two other things. The first is that Al Gore is not a candidate and has no plans to be a candidate as of today, July 17, 2007. I promise you that this is true. There are no plans, no secret committees, no planning sessions, nada, nothing.
However, the door is not completely shut because Al Gore likes to say something like "I don't know what I would have to see to change my mind but I would know it if I saw it."
Guess what? The only thing Al Gore needs to see is a mirror.
Because the only person who can stop Al Gore is Al Gore. And clearly, he needs a kick the ass on this one. Let me see if I can sum up my message.
I get you have a great life, I saw you with Cameron Diaz at LiveEarth, I get it. I get you don't don't want to deal with the press, I saw Diane Sawyer soil herself on national tv in her interview with her. I get that answering the same stupid question is annoying.
I get that the other side plays dirty and they love to turn their machine against you and make fun of your energy bills. I get that the campaign trail is a shitty place and the food is bad and you're a long way away from your family. I get that you are making money and having fun and that it's great to work with smart people like Steve Jobs. I get that we ignored you in the 1970s and 1980s when you were right about global warming.
I get that you love your time with your family and your wife and your grandchildren.
I get that you're worried the support isn't real. That you will lose again. That it will be like December 2000 all over again. I get the fear. I get that you really really really don't want to run
I get it. Really, I do. Guess what? I don't care.
Stand up. Let's get to work.
The recent poll out of New Hampshire, the first one to ask the question correctly, clearly shows the support for a Al Gore run is real.
If Al Gore enters the race in New Hampshire, he wins.
If Al Gore enters the race by October 15, he can run a four month campaign and win.
So Al Gore needs to look in the mirror. He needs to see that there is one candidate who can not only win The White House, but win the country back. Al Gore knows his history. In the early days of our country, our forefathers risked everything for this country. Our early leaders ran not for themselves but for their country. Al Gore knows this better than anyone, and Al Gore alone of all the potential candidates out there, needs to respect the history of your country and answer the call.
This then is the core issue. Because the only person who can stand up and get this thing moving is Al Gore. He has to stand up and say:
I am thinking about running,
He doesn't have to be sure. He doesn't have to commit. But nothing is going to happen until instead of saying 'no,' he says 'maybe.'
And he has to do this by September 1. Then he sets up an Exploratory Committee but guess what? His committee is really to explore whether to run or not. He can raise money and then by October 15th, he has to declare. But here's the thing. Money raised to the Exploratory Committee can be donated if not spent. So he could raise the money and say look, if I don't run, here are the ten charities I will give the money to after I pay the bills.
I will only accept donations up to $250 right now.
And if I run, I will accept another $250 from you. No more than $500 per person.
How much would he raise? Well, this has been a debate among the smarter people I know online and whole I certainly don't want to name names here are the numbers.
One prominent online strategist thinks $20 million in a month. Another thinks $30 million. And a lot of people think he could raise $40 million.
Here's how you get to $40 million.
300,000 give an average of $80 for $24,000,000
64,000 higher end donors give $250 each.
But a funny thing happens if you're Al Gore - what do you need the money for? Television ads? Not sure you really need them. Mainstream media and the online world will carry your messages in a four month campaign.
High priced consultants? I think he learned that lesson too. He can use the money to travel, set up rallies that are free to attend, he can hold concerts like LiveEarth and make them general admission for $25.
He can barnstorm the country and speak to who he wants to, when he wants to. He doesn't have to make fundraising calls or do lots of events. He doesn't have to do tons of one on one interviews and meet the press, because the press will come meet him.
He was $20,000,000 to spend on travel, staff, and signs.
Can he raise $20,000,000? You tell me.
150,000 give an average of $80 for $12,000,000.
32,000 higher end donors give $250 each.
That's will happen.
So there you have it.
Set up a committee and raise $20 million and worst case, $15 - $18 million gets donated to charity. Set up a committee and you only get $2,000,000 - well, it's still a good month raising money for charity. And people like me shut up.
Set up a committee and see if everyone who is blathering like me will put their money where their mouth is. I will. I promise. Set up a committee and see what the polls really do when you're really in the race. Set up a committee and explore.
There can be a million draft Gore posts and a million people who write about him running. There can be a thousand emails sent and a million comments online. I have very smart top political friends who have sketched out fundraising plans. One of the smartest political people I know has a plan for Iowa, ready for the taking.
I know people in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, California, Washington State, they all call me and say "do you think there's a chance?" It's the number one question I get in the traditional press. It's the number one question I get online. And the answer to the question is to set up a committee. Guess who the only person who can answer that question?
Al Gore. And he now has just under 45 days to answer it.