Let me be the first to propose a national movement to draft Al Gore for president in 2016, carry the banner of the New Frontier heritage of the Democratic Party, and mobilize to elect true Democrats to the House and Senate in 2012.
On the playing field of national politics, Gore is the conscience of the Democratic Party, the soul of what true Democrats stand for, and the fighting spirit that Democrats everywhere hunger for.
Many of us worked our hearts out with the fierce urgency of progressive patriots and the soaring hope that the next New Frontier would have begun in January 2009. It did not. So be it.
It is understandable that those who worked the hardest for the great dream of 2008 are depressed. It is time for us to regroup, reassemble and renew the battle for what Ted Kennedy brilliantly called the causes that endure and the dreams that never die.
If Gore runs in 2016 he would be the most qualified candidate for the presidency in a century.
Gore was a first-rate member of the House. A leader of substance and depth in the Senate. An influential vice president in the highly successful presidency of Bill Clinton. A Nobel laureate who earned the honor through decades of service to save the earth from poisons that could destroy her, and from those who threaten her with their lust for profits and their cult of greed.
If we have learned anything from the history of the presidency, it is this: experience matters. Judgment matters. Achievement matters. Integrity matters. The wisdom to see the truth, the clarity to state it and the courage to fight for it matter above all in the presidency. Voters would know, before Gore even announces his candidacy, that he already qualifies for a lifetime achievement award that would help informed Americans make the wisest decision about who should lead the nation.
Gore knows that if we have a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich the rest of the nation will die poor. Gore knows that the president, and only the president, can speak for the nation as a whole and that if this voice is silent, the entire nation suffers.
Gore knows, as Kennedy knew, that the rising tide lifts all boats. Gore knows, as Kennedy knew, that many of our wealthiest citizens stand ready in the patriotic spirit to ask what they too can do for our country, if only our leaders would ask them.
Gore is again escalating his public profile. He will continue raising his voice through the fall about the crisis of climate change. His book about the challenges confronting the nation, to be released by Random House in 2012, will probably be a runaway best-seller and major political and publishing event. Gore’s voice, vision and challenge in his book and book tour will powerfully shape the 2012 debate.
Those of us who believe in the Democratic heritage are now in the position of Kennedy in 1955 and Reagan in 1975. We must build anew, organize again and set the stage for another great historic Democratic president after 2016.
My advice to fellow believers is to mobilize now to support true Democrats in the House and Senate in 2012. Gore has provided the example with his fundraising support for House Democrats.
Those who dream the dream can give their time and money today to true Democrats, to campaign committees and to super-PACs such as Majority PAC and House Majority PAC. Very large donors can ask that their donations be targeted to Democrats they admire the most.
Let’s end the depression, fight harder than ever and again treat the heritage of the Democratic Party as a movement and a cause. Let’s support Democrats who remember what it means to be a Democrat, and help them win in 2012.
Let’s begin a draft movement to make Al Gore president in 2016. While times are tough today, let’s stop selling short our aspirations and start planning for the next New Frontier.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at [email protected].