- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gore and Nixon

“Several weeks ago, former Vice President Al Gore told the Associated Press that he ‘had no plans to seek the presidency in 2008.’ His words were eerily reminiscent of a quote from another former Vice President, Richard Nixon, who told the same Associated Press in November of 1965 that he ‘had no plans to seek the presidency in 1968,’” Roger J. Stone Jr. writes in the New York Observer.

“Many years later, in 1992, I chatted with Nixon in his Saddle River, N.J., home. He told me that ‘no man who narrowly misses the brass ring ever stops dreaming of another shot at it.’ If Nixon was right, Mr. Gore may be positioning himself to be the one Democrat who can defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential primaries,” said Mr. Stone, a longtime Republican political operative.

“As a Republican, I could never back Mr. Gore’s election as President. But as a Nixonite, I see some uncanny parallels in the careers of the two former vice presidents. In fact, if Mr. Gore looks at Nixon’s strategy in 1968, he could end up in the White House after all.

“Nixon’s book ‘Six Crises’ was a cathartic exercise that Nixon wrote after he lost the 1960 presidential election — one that maintained his place on the national stage. Mr. Gore’s new documentary on global warming, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ thrusts him back to the center of the political life.

“Like Mr. Gore, Nixon lost a presidential election in a photo finish, and many felt the presidency was stolen from him. Later, both men withdrew gracefully when further challenge to the result was fruitless. The grace with which each withdrew and accepted defeat was considered an act of statesmanship amid partisan furor.

“Both men also chose to sit out the next presidential race, fearing they could not win — but both made important endorsements that year. Nixon made 141 campaign appearances for the Barry Goldwater?William Miller ticket (more than Goldwater himself). His strong endorsement earned Nixon a conservative base that proved vital for his nomination and election four years later.

“Mr. Gore’s early endorsement of Howard Dean in the 2004 primaries earned him a new and growing anti-war constituency. Despite Dr. Dean’s collapse as a candidate and his weekly gaffes as the Democratic National Committee chairman, one fact remains clear: Mr. Gore was an early and articulate critic of the war in Iraq and supported the most anti-war candidate in 2004. He has since made notable speeches questioning the war, becoming the darling of the MoveOn.com crowd, and is now best positioned to be the ‘peace’ candidate in 2008.”

Gore’s chances

“Like a completely refurbished ‘pre-owned vehicle,’ Al Gore seems to be positioning himself to Hillary Clinton’s left and as greener than John Kerry for a run at the 2008 Democratic nomination for president. His slogan might well read ‘re-elect Al Gore,’” Dick Morris writes in the Hill newspaper.

“The former vice president’s slashing attacks on the administration and his stalwart, if misguided, opposition to the Iraq war leave him without the complications and complexes that will devil Clinton as she seeks to appeal to the unforgiving left of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Morris said.

“And Gore may be a man whose time has come in his party. It was he who warned of climate change and predicted its consequences. Hurricane Katrina was just a fulfillment of the prophesies Gore wrote about in his late-1980s book ‘Earth in the Balance.’ He has been an energy-conservation nut for years, and his obsessions with alternatives to oil will play better and better as we come to realize how our addiction to oil has led us to dependency on the dealers of this particular drug — Iran, the Saudi royal family and Hugo Chavez.

“The Democratic base’s anger at Gore’s defeat in 2000 was assuaged by the worse Kerry defeat of 2004. The idea that he was an incompetent candidate has been replaced in Democratic iconography by the idea that he was cheated out of the presidency. The hiatus has healed his reputation with the base in much the same way that the negative rap on Nixon for losing in 1960 was ameliorated by the Goldwater wipeout of 1964.”

News blackout

ABC, CBS, and NBC “have all completely ignored Al Gore’s speech in Saudi Arabia, where he denounced the U.S. government for committing ‘terrible abuses’ against Arabs after 9/11, and that Arabs had been ‘indiscriminately rounded up’ and held in ‘unforgivable’ conditions,” Tim Graham writes at www.NewsBusters.org.

“So that’s a big fat zero even as David Gregory was still defending his anti-Cheney ardor on ‘Imus’ [Tuesday] morning. That was not on MSNBC, which was running Olympic hockey, or I might have a transcript,” Mr. Graham said.

“I came in halfway through, and Gregory got very defensive when Imus started making cracks about how Cheney’s friend Katherine Armstrong looks just like Willie Nelson. Gregory warned he didn’t want to be associated with or identified as approving of these remarks. It was all quiet for Cheney on the morning-show front [Tuesday].”

Mayoral candidate

Hoping to win the post his father held in the 1970s, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu entered the race for mayor of hurricane-battered New Orleans yesterday, saying new leadership is needed to “restore our credibility nationally and internationally.”

Mr. Landrieu, 45, joins a field of 12 candidates in a campaign that illustrates just how much Hurricane Katrina has transformed the city’s political landscape: Only two of the candidates so far are black, and the winner could become New Orleans’ first white mayor since Mr. Landrieu’s father, Maurice “Moon” Landrieu, left office in 1978, the Associated Press reports.

That is, if the election takes place as scheduled. Worried that black voters scattered by the storm will not get a chance to vote, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called on the Justice Department to put off the April 22 election — which was already postponed from its original February date because of the damage inflicted by Katrina.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin, criticized and praised for his handling of the Katrina crisis, is running for re-election.

Mr. Landrieu, brother of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, brings instant name recognition to the race because of his family name and his four terms in the state Legislature.

Pataki update

New York governor and presidential hopeful George E. Pataki remained in a Manhattan hospital yesterday, recovering from surgery to remove a blockage in his intestines, his office said.

“The governor is in good spirits, awake, reading, walking around and conducting state business,” his spokesman, David Catalfamo, said in the statement.

Local television news showed Mr. Pataki, 60, sitting up in bed and speaking with an aide, Reuters news agency reports.

Mr. Catalfamo said doctors had not set a date for Mr. Pataki to be released from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan.

Mr. Pataki had his appendix removed in an emergency operation on Feb. 16.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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