Three down. One to go. Oscar. Emmy. And now the Nobel. Al Gore can complete the Grand Slam by declaring his candidacy for president. With this latest accomplishment, which he shared with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Draft Gore movement has been given a huge steroid-like boost.
"Will he or won't he run?" For the past few weeks, it's been the question creating tremors of mounting interest on the left side of the Net.
Now that he bagged the prize as predicted, we will see the following reactions:
1. Online organizations like DraftGore.com and AmericaforGore.org will see a great surge of interest. This is the good, healthy kind of surge, the one that doesn't sacrifice lives in a fruitless war. There will be a spike of online signatures. Expect to see the numbers double and soon fly past 250,000. There might even be another full-page ad in New York Times which generated a ton of publicity this past week.
2. You will see a ramp-up in effort and number of volunteers of grass-roots groups in Iowa, California, Michigan, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to get Gore's name on the ballot for upcoming primaries. All of this is done independent of Gore, and represents a remarkable validation of the inherent strength of democracy in action, and one freed from the corrosive influence of special interests and Beltway politics. If Gore does run, he is a lock to win Time magazine's person of the year award, but runner-up should be awarded to the Draft Gore movement.
3. All this interest in Gore has to make the Hillary camp nervous. There he is, biding his time in the wings, saving boatloads of money by not campaigning, getting wonderful press and relishing every moment of his continual place in the media spotlight. Yet the instant he does declare --that's still a big if-- Gore is the only Democratic contender who can dethrone her as frontrunner. And it could happen quickly, like one of those Texas-size ice floes splintering off Greenland. It will alter the political environment overnight.
4. The media will continue to heat up speculation about a Gore candidacy. It's an ongoing and fascinating news story with a great pair of legs, and is far more interesting than reporting on visits by Obama, Clinton, and Edwards to Dubuque or Manchester.
5. The right-wing noise machine will do everything in its callous, abusive power to delegitimize Gore and his Nobel Prize. It will tread over old ground and use personal attacks because it realizes it can't defeat Gore on the critical issues that really matter: Iraq, health care, global warming. It will try to trivialize him. To sane, reasonable ears, still hearing stuff like "Gore says he invented the Internet" is completely silly, but it has resonating power among conservatives who get their marching orders from Limbaugh and Fox News.
6. And Mr. Gore himself? How will he weigh the pros and cons of jumping in the race? If he had spent months in early 2001 laying awake at night tormented by being robbed of the presidency, one could assume that there will be plenty of restless nights in the Gore bedroom in weeks to come, right up until the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in early November. He can delay making a final decision until then. It's even to his advantage if he does.
For the time being, we are all Waiting for Gore. We're not even in the second act.
Bill Katovsky is editor of the just-published The World According to Gore: The Incredible Vision of the Man Who Should Be President