Here’s a fact of political life in America.
When there’s no incumbent involved in a campaign, you invite all comers to seek the office that’s being vacated. Everyone, or so it seems, becomes interested in the office at stake.
Such is the case with the White House. A two-term president, Barack Obama, is prohibited from running again. He’s bowing out in January 2017. The Republican field is as full as I’ve seen it in more than four decades watching this stuff; 16 men and one woman are running on the GOP side. It’s becoming quite an entertaining spectacle — to say the very least.
The Democrats? Well, until about two, maybe three weeks ago, it seemed that Hillary Clinton had that nomination in the bag. She still is the heavy favorite.
But she’s not going to anointed as the party nominee next summer, or so it appears. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has closed a once-huge gap. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is taking aim at Clinton, as is ex-Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. We haven’t heard much yet from ex- Virginia U.S. Sen. Jim Webb.
But now we hear of a couple of big names — as in really big names — possibly entering the Democratic Party primary field.
One of them is Vice President Joe Biden.
The other? Get ready: It might former Vice President Albert Gore Jr.
Some media outlets are reporting that “insiders” are discussing the possibility of a Gore candidacy. My reaction? Holy crap!
He damn near was elected in 2000, winning more popular votes than George W. Bush, who was elected because he won a bare majority of electoral votes. What many folks have forgotten about that election is this: Had the vice president won his home state of Tennessee in 2000, there would have been no recount controversy in Florida, no “hanging chad” examination, no narrow Supreme Court ruling to determine who won that state’s critical electoral votes. Gore lost his home state to Bush. There you have it.
This election already is shaping as the most entertaining in at least a couple of generations. The thundering herd of Republicans is being overshadowed by a billionaire hotel mogul/entertainer/wheeler-dealer. The Democratic field is being dominated by a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” drawing huge crowds and a former secretary of state with growing problems stemming from her use of a personal email account to conduct State Department business.
Will two men who’ve served a “heartbeat away” from the presidency now join the field?
We know that Vice President Biden is considering it. As for Al Gore? Stay tuned and hang on … maybe.