I've been traveling through the state of sunny California this past week, meeting new people and dropping by local chapters of Drinking Liberally. Everywhere I go, I ask the same question: "Who do you like in 2008?"
"Edwards is a good guy," they say. Or: "I'm for Feingold, definitely." Or they say they just don't know, they're not all that enthusiastic about anyone yet.
"What about Al Gore?" I ask. Their faces light up, then drop: "Yeah, but he's not going to run."
"I'm working to draft Al Gore," I tell them. "And no, it's not crazy."
When my friend Mary Beth Williams contacted me, asking if I'd help her do just that, I knew right away it was a great idea. I'd seen Gore give his historic President's Day speech in D.C. back in January, and I'd been pushing on my blog for Al to run. (Not that Al Gore reads my blog, but it made me feel better.)
Mary Beth (well-known in the blogosphere as the driving force behind the Koufax awards) also happens to be an experienced political operative, having been a paid staffer for Clinton-Gore, Gore-Leiberman and Kerry-Edwards. She told me her plan. (With the dynamic Mary Beth, there's always a plan. And a backup plan, and the contingency plan for the backup plan. She and her husband Eric have four little kids, two of them with autism. Oh, and they sold their house and are traveling across the country in a RV to do ground work for this campaign - that's how serious she is.)
"I don't think it's that Al Gore doesn't want to run," she said. "I think what he's really saying is that the political process has been so degraded, he doesn't want to be out there carrying the load by himself. The last time, he was savaged by the media and we didn't really have anything in place to fight back."
I agreed, because when I first mention Al Gore, some people tend to pooh-pooh him immediately. "Oh, we could never run him again, the media would kill him." Well, I think we need to stop letting the media choose our nominees. To me, them's fighting words. I'm sick of letting the media hacks chip away at decent, honorable candidates based on their sweaters, or their enthusiastic rally yells. (But then, that's me.)
So yeah, Mary Beth found me more than willing to help.
She registered a PAC and put together this month-long $5 primary campaign, which ends at midnight, July 1st. Based on the Maine model, it's this simple: Put your money where your mouth is. If you'd like Al Gore to be the nominee, go to her Draft Gore 2008 site, click the pledge button and put up your $5. So far, with very little publicity, 1213 people have found their way to the site, pledged $5 or more and signed on to volunteer. Have you pledged yet?
The money will go toward building organizations in the caucus states, working to put ground operations for Gore in place. If we can build a groundswell of support, making this a true citizens movement, I suspect Al Gore will hear the call. Ignore the corporate media and see the dream of what could be: This brilliant, experienced visionary in the White House, this decent man who's been tested by fire, at the helm of the ship of state.
If we build it, he will run.