Carlson Pitches Gore for VP: 'Brains, Good Judgment and Experience'

“The most important reason [Al] Gore should be Vice President is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson trumpeted in a column posted Thursday on In “Gore Has Right Stuff for Second Turn as No. 2,” Carlson effused:

If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.

Though on this weekend's Political Capital program on Bloomberg Television she hailed Gore's “presidential timber,” she was more restrained than in her column:

If what Obama needs, and I think it's what he needs, somebody of presidential timber, why not get somebody who won the popular presidential vote and who's done everything? And  who was right about the Middle East, right about this Iraq war, knows where the lights are in the White House, has gravitas?

Last October Carlson celebrated Gore for winning the Nobel Prize. My October 14 NewsBusters item, “Carlson: 'Prophet' Al Gore 'Rose Above a Great Injustice,'” recounted:

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize was a "wonderful thing" Al Gore deserved for doing "a great thing," veteran Washington journalist Margaret Carlson declared on Bloomberg Television's Political Capital show, as she contended "he rose above a great injustice" in what occurred in Florida's 2000 election count. Appearing with Bob Novak on the show, hosted by Al Hunt, which airs several times each weekend, Carlson told Novak: "You'd still be holding your breath and kicking your feet if what had happened to Al Gore in Florida had happened to you. He rose above, he rose above a great injustice. And by the way, you know, late in life you can find your gifts, which is Al Gore found what he should be doing and it is a great thing that he's done."

When Novak asserted Gore merely "became a demagogue on the global warming issue," Carlson, the former Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for Time magazine who now posts columns on the Bloomberg News Web site, championed Gore's cause as she hailed how "he became a prophet on an issue that is crucially important to the world."

An excerpt from Carlson's June 19 Bloomberg column:

....For many, if not most, defeated candidates, losing is the wound that never heals. Recently HBO reopened the wound with its movie Recount,' about chads in Florida. And in a 60 Minutes interview, Justice Antonin Scalia poured salt on it saying that it was “nonsense” to think that politics guided the Supreme Court to set an unreachable deadline for recounting ballots and deliver victory to George W. Bush.

Scalia's advice: “Get over it.''

A lot of Democrats haven't, but Gore has. He's like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, grateful for what he has. Appearing with Obama at a rally of 20,000 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit this week, Gore was looser and more exuberant than I remember him, cradling the microphone like Oprah. He used to be so wooden he dressed up like Frankenstein at his annual Halloween party to make the obvious joke....

And to a lesser extent, appearances matter, and looking at the stage, the perfect vice president was on it. He's tall like Obama but more rooted to the ground, and I'm not talking about pounds. If there's anything Obama needs, it is an older, more tested, more solid version of himself....

The most important reason Gore should be vice president is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds. He could have fought on, but found honor in retreat. Gore, as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman observed, took a bullet for the country. After the most gracious concession speech possible, he barely spoke about what had happened.

He took the toughest loss in political history as an occasion to rewrite his life. His first dream dashed, he didn't go sulk or have a midlife crisis, although he did grow a beard and a waistline. He reached for a second act suited to his gifts. His impressive engineer's mind hadn't invented the Internet, but he'd come closer than anyone else, as Newt Gingrich graciously and accurately pointed out.

He didn't discover global warming, but he sounded the alarm and got many skeptics and opponents to agree that attention had to be paid.

Even Senator John McCain, who wants to drill for oil off the U.S. coasts, is on board to address the issue.

If it's laughable that Gore would run for president, how much more laughable is it that he would consider for a nanosecond taking the vice presidency? Even if he were hungering for a comeback, it wouldn't be to play second banana again. Why would he do it?

For the country. Why waste on investment banking what he knows from being a heartbeat away from the presidency? He's tested and steeped in foreign policy. An Academy Award is fine, but no movie can give you the platform that the vice presidency can for global warming. He could actually do something about it.

The country is desperate for a new workable energy policy. These gas prices can't go on, or they can but not if they don't spur a Manhattan Project to reduce our thirst for oil, most of it in the hands of our enemies. Gore has one.

Forget geography or winning Ohio or appealing to suburban women. For different reasons than McCain, Obama needs to reach for presidential timber. If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center