THE PLANK OCTOBER 12, 2007
Al Gore's Nobel Prize has us all wondering who he'll endorse, something Marc Ambinder says is likely to happen in December. My two cents: If at that point it looks like Obama has some chance of winning the nomination, it'll be Obama. I say that for the following reasons: 1.) Obama has the most credible claim to being a transformative figure, something Gore (rightly) fancies himself, too. 2.) Obama, like Gore, got the war right from the get-go. 3.) Hillary, in addition to coming up short on points one and two, has long been a rival of Gore's, and vice versa.
And 4.) Crass politics. Consider the following scenarios: a.) If Gore endorses Obama and Obama goes on to win, he's a kingmaker, visionary, etc. b.) If Gore endorses Hillary and Hillary goes on to win, what has he proven? That he can affirm the conventional wisdom? Jump on the bandwagon at some late date? c.) If Gore endorses Obama and Hillary wins the nomination, I don't think Gore's lost much. I don't get the sense he wants to be in the inner-circle of another Clinton White House. And, as for the issue he cares most about--global warming--he's the biggest name on the planet. If Hillary becomes president and wants to get something done on the issue, she'd look incredibly petty not turning to Gore in some capacity.
P.S. Check out Ryan Lizza's excellent piece on the Gore and Clinton factions of the party for more on this. (See also this Lizza piece, which foreshadowed the Gore endorsement of Dean in 2003. At that point it was looking more like a Dean-Gore faction than a Gore faction.)
Update: Chris Cillizza's sources tell him it'll either be Obama or Edwards. I still say Obama, but there is this to keep in mind: Joe Trippi, who helped broker the Gore endorsement for Dean four years ago, is now Edwards's chief strategist. Given how that turned out, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But, at the very least, Trippi probably has Gore's cell number...