James Carville says Obama should pick Al Gore for vice president. Here are some reasons Democrats are likely to take this option seriously, unless Gore himself rules it out.

  • Gore answers the need for "experience," but unlike Nunn and various others who've been mentioned, he doesn't contradict the message of change or raise any tensions or conflicts with Obama's views.
  • Gore could help Obama govern, and he would be fully competent--and perceived as fully competent--to become president should something happen to Obama.
  • Although in a different way from 1992, Gore is a reinforcing choice--he reinforces the sense that Obama would bring visionary leadership.
  • Gore provides a link to the prosperity of the 1990s, but without the baggage that Hillary would bring.
  • Gore also has the defense and foreign-policy credentials that the ticket needs.
  • Gore has run a national campaign, and he has been fully "vetted."

  • All of the other options have more serious drawbacks.
  • The choice of a VP is probably not going to make that much of a difference in the voting this fall because the election is going to be "all about Obama," so the case for Gore is not primarily that he could help Obama win. But the thinking is that he could contribute an enormous amount to an Obama administration. After all, he's done that kind of thing before.

    So would he do it? Only he can answer that question. But clearly, the vice presidency has become more important since he held it. He could have the administration's energy and environmental portfolios and use that position to achieve some of the goals that have been dearest to him. He was probably right to stay out of the presidential race this year because he judged that he couldn't win it. But he hasn't said he's not interested in high office. This could be his way back in.

    --Paul Starr

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