How to spin the wingnuts up into frenzied, frothing paroxysms of total rage, and have a well-qualified Secretary of State at the same time: Al Gore for Secretary of State!
I first heard this suggestion from my friend David Greenberg, the historian who writes for Slate, and I thought, nahhh. But it grew on me pretty fast. Tell me why not. He’d be great. He’s known around the world. He’s respected around the world, about 90 percent of which surely wishes he’d been the president instead of the guy he beat. I’m not saying he’d change the world; no one can do that. But he’d get a hearing everywhere. He knows a huge number of world leaders, and he knows the issues cold. He could dive right into the pool’s deepest end, in the Middle East, on Iran, you name it.
What about his climate-change crusade, you wonder? Far from having to drop his signature issue, Gore could use his new position to push it with even greater vigor in a global context. Gore, and probably Gore alone, would be capable of elevating the climate change issue to the position it deserves on the national and global stage.
What we don’t know that much about is the Gore-Obama relationship. In 2007 and 2008, Gore clearly tilted toward Obama (Gore’s mere refusal to endorse Hillary Clinton over Obama indicated as much). Gore didn’t endorse Obama until right after he’d secured the nomination, but the two were said to have talked regularly. That’s good enough.
Finally: Man, would I love to see the Republicans try to swat down a Gore nomination. How? They’d poke around in his finances, remind America that he’s now divorced. But unless there were some kind of smoking gun on the former point, no one would care. They could not really block Gore; too much stature, too obviously qualified. Can you imagine? John McCain would grind his teeth, assuming those still are his teeth, down to dust. That would be awesome to watch.