As I read the headline on the front page of the Sunday Washington Post this morning, I started to ponder what seems to be our timely viewing of season six of The West Wing (as I’ve mentioned before, we are WAY behind on our popular TV shows)!
Seems that a variety of candidates, like Senators Evan Bayh and Mark Warner, have already decided to drop out of the Presidential race because of what they perceive to be the insurmountable odds of taking on Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the 2008 nomination.
Interestingly, that was the theme of the end of the West Wing’s season six — could underdog Democratic candidate Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) overcome the perceived upper hand of the former and current vice presidents who were running to replace Jed Bartlet?
The episode we watched last night was the one where Santos/Smits was being excluded from the New Hampshire Democratic primary debate because he was not a “serious” candidate — read: not high enough numbers in the polls.
So, with what little ad money he had, he did a live, one-shot TV commercial telling people he would always be straight with them and look them in the eye to talk about his views. And with that, and the massive TV news coverage his audacious approach got, he and all the underdogs got in on the debate. And most of you know what happened with Santos’ candidacy at the end of season seven.
So, where do we find someone like that who’s not afraid to take on those who, even though they have not announced, have somehow been annointed before the game begins? Not that I have anything against Clinton or Obama — as far as I’m concerned, both would probably make fine presidents. But should they be our only choices to consider at this stage of the game?
Isn’t there a Democrat out there with some inpired truth-telling? I’m not holding my breath on my dream ticket — Gore/Feingold 2008! (I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing)! Does that kind of candidate exist only in my fantasies and network television? Probably.
The way I see it, Al Gore is the underdog at this point, but all the dirt on him is out there already. You know the GOP is just starting it’s wind-up to let the mud sling against Hillary and Barack. There’s not much left to throw at Gore. Plus he’s got the momentum from An Inconvenient Truth, which from my own warmer-than-normal weather experience in the last couple of weeks, is something we need to think more seriously about.
So as crazy as that may sound, I think it’s time for Gore to enjoy his holiday with his family, and then call Feingold and get the ball rolling.
Who knows — crazier things have happened in politics.