Monday, December 08, 2003

The big news tonight, of course, is Al Gore's imminent endorsement of Howard Dean. Democrats seem divided on exactly what this will mean (except Joe Lieberman, who doubtless knows exactly what it means). There have been, for example, both genuine and sarcastic declarations of the inevitability of a Dean nomination.

Josh Marshall says:
I was talking to a friend this evening about Gore's announcement and he said that Gore's endorsement wouldn't be all positive since a lot of people are still pissed at Gore for what happened in 2000.

But I think that's very much a DC reaction, and not one, I think, that's shared very widely among Democrats around the country. Whatever they thought of Gore going into 2000, I think most Democrats around the country see him as someone who by every measure was robbed of the presidency and thus has great credibility to make such an endorsement.
That makes sense to me. I think Gore screwed up the 2000 election badly, but that doesn't mean I don't think he was robbed in Florida - and every passing day of the Bush Administration makes Gore look better and better to me. And I'm not the only one.

I think the most important aspect of the Gore endorsement, though, is that it deflates the most persistent charge against Dean: that he's a far-left whacko fringe candidate who's out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Al Gore is as centrist as centrist gets - he was the DLC's golden boy. If he supports Howard Dean, then Howard Dean has centrist appeal. It's hard to spin it any other way.

It's probably unwise to declare that anyone's nomination is inevitable before any votes are cast, but it sure looks good for Dean. Yay!