July 27, 2004
I never was a big fan of Al Gore's, but there will always be something tragic and poignant about the man who would have been President.
He plucked those notes in his convention speech Monday night, saying America is a place "where every little boy and girl has a chance to grow up and win the popular vote."
No one has a stronger claim on political pity than Al Gore.
But rather than wallow in it too long, he wisely addressed himself to the two groups Kerry needs to win over in order to prevail in November: disappointed Bush supporters and remorseful Nader supporters.
To the Bush supporters, Gore asked: "Did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for?" He shrewdly underlined a conservative issue to this group: Bush's "largest deficits in history, year after year."
And to the Nader supporters (though he never used the N word), Gore asked: "Do you still believe that there was no difference between" himself and Bush? Specifically to this group, he conjured up Bush's assaults on the environment and civil liberties.
Gore's emphasis and precision tell me that he understands why Bush is most likely to lose.
Some people who voted for Bush last time are going to go to Kerry this time. And most of the 2.7 million who went to Nader will, too.
On the flip side, it's hard for me to imagine there's a big bunch of people who will opt for Bush in 2004 when they didn't in 2000.
Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft sure won't bring them over.