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Robert M. Liu

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Al Gore's Judgement and Luck
2/8/2004 3:19:45 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

This short piece touches upon the Democratic primaries and Howard Dean's political fortunes.
Al Gore's Judgement and Luck

by Robert M. Liu

(1) Al Gore did show good judgement on this one:

When Al Gore announced that he would not seek the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2004 presidential race, he said a re-match between Bush and himself would be "about the past", not about the future.

This assessment by Al Gore definitely showed good judgement, since, in the post-9/11 environment, his participation in the 2004 presidential race would have almost certainly led the American public to re-focus on the Clinton-Gore national security policy of "the past" and then compare it with that of the Bush administration.

Al Gore did not say that he was ashamed of "the past". You bet he'd say he is proud of the Clinton-Gore past if you ask him. But he knew "the past" would not help him if he decided to run. To put it bluntly, he was afraid of "the past" as it could come back to haunt him and cause him to lose again.

(2) Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean:

In early December of 2003, Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean as his party's nominee for president. He said Howard Dean had "good judgement" in opposing the war to topple Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein. At first, the Gore endorsement appeared to be a smart move -- Howard Dean was the front runner then.

But before the week ran out, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. troops, boosting public support for the Iraq War. Suddenly, Dean's anti-war rhetoric fell out of favor. Like a bubble, the myth of the Dean campaign was pricked.

Democratic voters now realize Howard Dean's judgement may not be as good as Al Gore believes. Political old hand and former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris, says Howard Dean (if nominated) is a gift from God to George W. Bush for doing the right thing. Who has better judgement, Al Gore or Dick Morris?

(3) Why hasn't Dean won a single Democratic primary so far?

According to media reports, Democratic voters now want to choose someone who can beat George W. Bush in November, and since they believe Howard Dean couldn't win they have voted for Senator John Kerry in the primaries, believing Kerry stands a better chance.

However, there is another possibility. Since the Democratic caucuses and primaries are open to Independents, Howard Dean's defeat may be an indication that most Independents abhor his radical anti-war rhetoric and so want to see the Dean circus fold up as soon as possible. These patriotic Independents understand what damage a political clown could do if elected.

(4) Will the Independents again vote for Kerry in November?

To be fair, in endorsing Howard Dean, Al Gore did have a point. As a long-time political player, Al Gore knows the importance of energizing his party's left-wing base because it is a reliable source of votes. At the time of the Gore endorsement, Howard Dean clearly had a good grip on this voter base.

Now, the question is: Will those Independents who voted for Kerry in the Democratic caucuses and primaries (because of their dislike of Howard Dean) again vote for Kerry in November? Remember the Independents are independent of both parties -- they are not as reliable a source of votes as the left-wing base for the Democratic candidate. What if they stay at home or vote for Bush come November?

(5) Judgement and luck:

In a card game, one needs good judgement and good luck in order to win. Life is like a gamble, where it also takes good judgement and good luck to win. While it is debatable whether Al Gore has good judgement or not, his luck has clearly run out in America's political casino, as if whatever he touches runs the risk of going sour.

On the day when the Gore endorsement came, Howard Dean was all smiles. Some may have thought that Dean had locked in the Democratic nomination. Yet, recently, I heard one commentator call Al Gore's endorsement "the kiss of death" for the Dean campaign. What an irony of life!

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More Blogs by Robert M. Liu
• A Special Invitation from Donald Trump - Tuesday, July 28, 2015
• A Man Is Known by the Company He Keeps - Thursday, October 09, 2008
• A Simple Quick Fix for the Crisis - Thursday, October 09, 2008
• A Commentary on Issues of Current Interest - Sunday, December 02, 2007
• A Bit of History to Illustrate the Consequences of Treaty Breaches - Sunday, November 05, 2006
• A Couple of Historical Parallels and Other Issues - Thursday, November 02, 2006
• A Debate Plus a Dilemma - Saturday, December 10, 2005
• A Tale of Two Sides - Thursday, November 10, 2005
• A Bit of History to Illustrate the Role of China's Military - Sunday, October 09, 2005
• An Anachronistic System - Thursday, September 08, 2005
• Is President Hu Jintao in Control? - Tuesday, August 09, 2005
• If I Were a Unocal Shareholder... - Thursday, July 07, 2005
• China and North Korea - Tuesday, June 07, 2005
• A Culture of Obstructionism - Tuesday, April 05, 2005
• American Capitalism - Monday, March 07, 2005
• Another Turn for the Better - Tuesday, February 08, 2005
• A Set of Interesting Historical Parallels - Saturday, November 13, 2004
• A Shamelessly Sophistic Debating Technique - Monday, October 11, 2004
• A Campaign in Disarray? Probably -- Plus Campaign Issues - Monday, September 13, 2004
• A Campaign of Tortured Arguments - Tuesday, August 10, 2004
• Does It Add Up? - Monday, July 12, 2004
• A Turn for the Better - Saturday, June 12, 2004
• Amazing Poll Results - Monday, May 10, 2004
• Voodoo Politics - Tuesday, April 06, 2004
• Ambivalent Mind Set - Thursday, March 11, 2004
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Friday, February 27, 2004
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Friday, February 27, 2004
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Friday, February 27, 2004
•  Al Gore's Judgement and Luck - Sunday, February 08, 2004  
• Strategies and Schemes - Wednesday, December 31, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Tuesday, December 09, 2003
• Communist China and Free China - Saturday, December 06, 2003
• The Role of the United Nations - Friday, November 28, 2003
• American Dominance - Sunday, November 16, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, October 05, 2003
• Snippets - Monday, September 22, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, September 14, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, September 07, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Thursday, August 28, 2003
• A Message to Claywoman - Wednesday, August 27, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Monday, August 25, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, August 24, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Wednesday, August 20, 2003
• Snippets - Wednesday, August 20, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Wednesday, July 30, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Sunday, July 27, 2003
• A Message to Claywoman - Friday, July 25, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Thursday, July 24, 2003
• Snippets - Monday, July 21, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Wednesday, July 16, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Tuesday, July 15, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, July 13, 2003
• Snippets - Sunday, July 13, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Sunday, July 13, 2003
• A Message to Lawrance G. Lux - Saturday, July 12, 2003

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