Nixon and Gore...
Richard Nixon was a vice president who didn't get along with his president at the crucial time he was running for president in 1960. Nixon went on to lose a race that was razor-thin close.*
* Myth buster: Even if Illinois went for Nixon, JFK still would have had 270 electoral votes. Illinois had 27 such votes and JFK officially received 303. If any state vote was iffy that JFK won, it was Alabama, where the electors may not have truly represented the white vote there.
Anyway, Nixon goes back to his home state of California, proceeds to run against Pat Brown for Governor in 1962--and loses to Pat Brown. At a press conference shortly thereafter, Nixon says to the press guys, most of whom hated Nixon: "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."
Nixon licks his wounds and watches his rival, Jack Kennedy, get assassinated in November 1963. He then watches the Republicans nominate then US Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) for president in 1964, who gets beat big in the post-JFK martyrdom landslide that year.
Nixon then starts showing up around the country doing speeches for fellow Republicans. By 1966, he is talking about national issues and is starting to get noticed. There is, by 1967, a buzz about a "new" Nixon. Nixon then announces he is running for president, and this time, he is getting support from quite a few of the Goldwater activists, who he has been cultivating. He doesn't care whether he receives Jackie Robinson's endorsement and no longer talks about civil rights in the way he did in the late 1950s. Nixon is strictly for "law and order," which is fast becoming a buzzword for certain white folks as "stop this n****r civil rights garbage--NOW!"
Nixon then runs for president against a Democratic Party that is torn apart by a far-off war and in a year where two leaders who might have helped hold the New Deal together--Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy--are gunned down.
Why do I go into this?
Well, Al Gore, whose relationship with his former President boss, Bill Clinton, in 2000 was worse than Nixon's relationship with Eisenhower in 1960, and who, like Nixon, has a very unfriendly relationship with the national media, made another rousing speech today. This speech was on the warrantless wiretaps undertaken by the mis-administration of the Terrible President.
Is Al Gore readying to run as the "new Al" for 2008? I think he may be. And, this time, he appears to have found his father's New Deal sensibility instead of that Democratic Leadership Council crap that he enveloped himself with for most of his career up through 2000. I happen to like the "new Al" better than the "old Al." In fact, I'd be comfortable with him this time around in a way I was not in 2000. His friendship with Marty Peretz at the New Republic (of Likud) is over. His relationship with most DLCers is also over. Al is a MoveOn.org kind of guy now. More at home with the likes of Soon to Be Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) than Not Too Long for the Senate Joe Lieberman (R-CT).
There is one important distinction between Nixon and Gore, starting with the fact that Gore's reputation for being a liar is mostly unearned and unsupported. Gore was a pretty consistent corporate Demorcat for most of his career, listening to his political advisers even when he should not have.
Even back in 2000, though I was a Nader supporter, I defended Gore from the ridiculous press attacks, thanks mostly to my reading the then-incomprable Daily Howler. If Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), the populist governor, is not going to run for president in 2008, I don't see anyone else out there worth supporting (I supported Wes Clark in the 2004 Dem primaries--and it does not appear General Clark is interested in another run; more interested it seems in being secretary of state or defense in a Dem administration, which is fine, too). Al Gore, though, looks better and better every day.
Gore vs. Lindsay Graham would be really interesting. The so-called "liberal" but really corporate-owned press loves Graham to the same extent they hate Gore, which is to say: A lot. If I was advising Gore, I'd run a populist campaign, rip into millionaire reporters who suck up to their corporate bosses--and knock those swing voters for a loop. As the Republicans prove their anti-government rhetoric means they don't know how to run a government--and their "we're for small goverment" rhetoric is contradicted by their love of warrantless wiretaps and imperialist presidencies--we could be in for an electoral shift a la 1968. And who says a former vice president who lost a close election, hated by the media, can't lead that shift. It's happened before...
Stay tuned, campers.