Each generational change in our history has been preceded by a great popular movement, and the first Presidents of the new thesis actually leaned against that movement in winning election.
- Abraham Lincoln was not a radical Republican, not an abolitionist.
- Populism rose as a separate party that could win elections in 1894, two years before it was embraced by the Democratic Party of William Jennings Bryan.
- Franklin Roosevelt was elected as an antidote to radicals on the left and right who threatened to tear down the system in the Depression.
- Richard Nixon was a compromise choice in a party enamored of Ronald Reagan.
All these popular movements eventually rose to power, but all were strenuously resisted by the Washington media and the Washington establishment, every step of the way.
So it is today. A lot of "netroots" bloggers express constant consternation over this, but it's a very typical historical pattern. The pattern is the proof these thinkers are on the right track. A Thesis in its last days is believed by almost everyone, is treated as inviolate, even though it has become useless, refusing to even see the coming crisis, let alone a potential solution.
The focus on that problem, and the solution, always comes from outside. And outsiders at a time of crisis often see things far more clearly than anyone in Washington possibly can.
Markos Moulitsas, alias DailyKos, is based in San Francisco. He admits to having been wrong about a lot of things over the past several years. He was optimistic to such an extent in 2004 that he eventually decided to stop making predictions in 2006, fearing he would jinx things. During the year he constantly downgraded Democrats' chances predicting that something -- a conspiracy of events, Bush family manipulation, electronic voting machines -- would allow Republicans to keep control.
Yet here this rank outsider nails it:
Which brings us to Gore.
There's few reasons for him to even hint at joining the fray this early. The biggest potential liability is the loss of the good consultants and strategists to other campaigns. But the talent would exist to shepherd him through the early contests. I mean, he's Al Freakin' Gore. He doesn't need a traditional campaign to sell him to voters. And in any case, we'd see defections from other campaigns to join the Gore bandwagon.
So when? No sooner than December 2007. Let the rest of the field beat the shit out of each other before Gore comes in, savior-like, to pull together a fractured and divided party. At that point, no amount of Obamamania could stop a Gore nomination.
Only Al Gore knows the problems that are really confronting us. He owns the issue. He's the favorite to win an Oscar for best documentary, basically for performing a slide show on it.
A political Thesis consists of two things. An identification of a problem, and a plan for a solution. These are carried by Myths, which are stories of how we got here, and Values, which are assumptions that define future policies.
This is what Goldwater offered, and what Reagan carried forward. This is what Gore owns. It can blow any other Democrat, any other candidate, completely out of the water.
History tells us that it will do so regardless of whether Al Gore chooses to run in 2008. Hillary Clinton can become Richard Nixon, but she will still be bringing this Gore Thesis to power, leaning against it, pretending to hold it at arms-length, even governing against it.
But it's coming.
Because the world can't wait. Al Gore has a choice between being Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan, between being the trumpet or the player of the song.
Regardless of which he chooses, this is where history is going. And the people of the United States already know it. Even though no one in Washington has a Clue.