Thursday, August 31, 2006

Al Gore For President: The Man Meets The Moment

Huffington Post
Brent Budowsky
Al Gore For President: The Man Meets The Moment

Imagine this: a President of the United States with vast domestic and international experience who would aspire to unify the American people, uplift a reformed American politics, and inspire friends of freedom and democracy everywhere.

Imagine: a President who would assume office with commander in chief quality experience who would be trusted on matters of war and peace; and with a temperament that respects the breadth and diversity of the American Family and brings people together in common cause.

There will be other candidates for President who have much to offer and would deserve enthusiastic support. In my opinion, Al Gore is unique because of the extraordinary breadth of his experience, his ability to get ahead of the curve on cutting edge issues, and his vast knowledge that war and peace issues should be decided with integrity, clarity, and the full involvement of the American people, Congress, and allies.

Beyond all of the individual issues is this: the kind of America a Gore Presidency would bring, which would let loose the positive and creative energies of a good and great people, versus the kind of America George Bush has brought, which is what the overwhelming majority of the American people want to end.

Unlike virtually every major Democrat in Washington Al Gore was dead right about Iraq from day one. This commends him for the Presidency for two reasons, both equally important. The first reason is that with decades of national security experience he was wise enough and smart enough to know that the Iraq War was a tragic mistake. The second reason is profound: Al Gore had the courage and clarity to speak out clearly, forcefully, and unequivocally without the maneuvering and positioning that led virtually every leading Washington Democrat to be dead wrong.

Iraq alone should not be disqualifying. But this is the defining war of our times, and evaluating who should be leader of the free world and commander in chief, the fact that Al Gore was completely right and courageously straight is a monumental plus.

When George W. Bush took office, he was a man of enormous self-esteem but virtually zero knowledge of the world, zero understanding of foreign nations, zero understanding of military strategy or military life. When Al Gore was a young man he had vast curiosity about the world that continually expanded his knowledge throughout his life. He was not a war hero, but accepted the obligations of service, joined the military and had more world experience and war experience returning from Vietnam than George Bush did the day he took the oath of office as President.

Al Gore has been in a military family, respects military leaders, knows military issues, has experienced sacrifice in service, knows that American diplomatic leadership is essential to world security, would never send our troops to war without adequate support, and learned from long experience that mobilized support from democratic allies is vital for diplomatic and military initiatives.

If Al Gore becomes President and commander in chief on the day of his inaugural he would be one of the most qualitied leaders to ever assume the Presidency. Years in the House of Representatives, years in the United States Senate, eight years as one of the more active and respected Vice Presidents. Deep and serious involvement for decades in military strategy and global economics, an enormous body of first rate leadership in protecting the environment, advancing new technologies, and advocating a pro-America energy policy that aggressively promotes new energy sources to protect our security and our consumers.

These are not merely position papers, or bogus internet petitions that are little more than fund raising tools of the consultariat class. These are areas of leadership that comprise a lifetime body of work: serious, substantive and real.

These are initiatives of meat and potatoes, of impact and depth, that required substantial intellectual content, developed throughout thirty years of work, involving major collaboration with excerpts in the field, and often collaboration with interested Republicans and independents.

Since leaving the Vice Presidency, Gore could have made a small fortune through less noble pursuits, but has continued his life pattern of major leadership well beyond his opposition to the Iraq War.

Inconvenient Truth is a perfect example. He tapped decades of work with environmental leaders and scholarly knowledge; he worked with Hollywood in a higher pursuit of a major documentary that combined major intellectual quality with major public impact.

Gore combined his knowledge of environment and energy with his interest in financial markets and global economics, through Generation Investments which brings together enlightened money with socially conscious business.

Gore has spoken passionately and eloquently about the Bill of Rights, human rights, political freedom, checks and balances and American Constitutional democracy. Others have spoken out as well, but in considering which candidate best articulates the American idea I commend Gore's sweeping speech at Constitution Hall and other strong, detailed statements on these subjects.

Al Gore understands from many decades of real world experience and a lifetime body of work in the House, the Senate, and as Vice President that we have three branches of government, two major political parties, key allies around the world, and that ALL must be respected and involved on the great issues of security.

We are not a country with a French King who says "L'Etat C'est Moi" or a Nixonian President who says "I am the law". We are not a country where intelligence is distorted, where war is used for partisanship, where opponents are called traitors, where the Bill of Rights is bartered away, where Guantanamos are justified, where Congress is treated with contempt, where Courts are bypassed and ignored, where the American people are insulted with a politics of fear, where allies are demeaned, and Washington is turned into a capital of courtiers, sycophants and influence peddlers.

Al Gore does not blame the American people by suggesting we have psychological trauma because we know things have gone terribly wrong. Al Gore embodies the American people and the real America. Imagine the kind of country we will be, with a President who believes these things, based on decades of hard leadership, substantial experience, and achievement from a lifetime body of serious work.

There are other good candidates that will emerge. In my humble opinion, the man and the moment come together. The mission is clear, the moment is now, and the man is Gore.