12/29/2007 03:40 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Gore, Clinton And Democrats Can Learn From Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was no angel, but she was a
believer in democracy who gave her life for
her country, retuning to Pakistan knowing she
would probably give her life for her country.

By contrast, Democrats in Washington have
a life crisis, consult an army of pollsters, and have trouble taking
clear leadership stands
on war and peace because members of a
Congress with record unpopularity might lose
another point or two in the polls.

Our discredited politics in America has become
a said Kabuki dance of insiders congratulating
and protecting each other, of pollsters and
pundits uttering sweet nothings into the ears
of politicians too fearful and self-indulgent
to take even minimal risks for the higher values
of our country.

Benazir Bhutto gives her life. Democrats in
Washington cannot risk a point in the polls.
Republicans in Washington cannot summon
the courage to speak out against a president
and war that many of them privately, silently,
believe is a disaster for our country.

Meanwhile young heroes give their lives in this unwise war our insiders
sent them to fight from the safety of their focus groups and polls and
their smugness while they dispense their wisdom caked in make-up from
the safety
of their television studios.

Give Al Gore credit for elevating the debate
about climate change, but at a moment that
our country, under George Bush, sabotaged
the Bali summit why isn't Al Gore running for

Never have the man and the moment come
together so perfectly as Al Gore for president
in 2008. Never has any potential candidate
been so clearly the heir to Roosevelt and
Kennedy, never has any potential candidate
so clearly embodied change when change is
needed, and experience when experience is
needed, as Al Gore for president in 2008.

Having supported Gore through campaigns and
governance over a generation, words cannot
express my disappointment, my sadness and
to some degree my outrage that Al Gore had
better things to do, then be leader of the free

Movies and books can be important, and even
great; making money through venture capital
for worthy businesses is fine; awards, honors,
prizes and standing ovations are wonderful but
they are marginal compared to the leadership
of the free world, by America, in our times.

Does Al Gore, or anyone, seriously believe that
any presidential candidate, in either party, is
even remotely as committed to the battle to
save the Earth from the planetary emergency
as Gore? If the world is truly in danger of
extinction unless major changes are made
within the term of the next President, isn't
there some higher obligation to hold the one
office that can lead the nation and the world
towards those changes?

My hope is that Gore at least makes a major
endorsement for change in the coming hours,
but the real shame is that our strongest leader
does not lead where it matters the most, and
the voice of both experience and change is
silenced on the most important debate about
the future of our nation and the world.

Benazir Bhutto gave her life for her country;
Democrats so often lack the courage of their
convictions to risk even a few points in the
polls; and Al Gore racks up the prizes and
awards, no doubt deserved, but sadly silenced
when the man who should have been leader
of the free world, had higher priorities.

Benazir Bhutto's murder is a moment of outrage
and sadness, of crisis and shock, but it also a
reminder of the power of hope, of the higher
purpose of patriotism, and of the higher truth
that one woman can make a difference, if she
gives enough of a damn to try, and puts
everything on the line for the cause she
believes in and the country she loves.

Good-bye, Benazir, you may be gone, but you
will be remembered and honored. Perhaps
some day in the land that gave us Washington
and Lincoln, some heroic leader will emerge
once again, inspired by your courage and your
example, and rise above the mediocrity and
timidity of our times, as you did in yours.