Courtesy of Real Clear Politics,

Courtesy of Real Clear Politics, here is Michael Barone, in the Wall Street Journal, on Al Gore. Barone draws the same comparison between Gore and Richard Nixon that I presented, to decidedly mixed reviews, last month. Barone’s piece caused me to recall that, despite Nixon’s apparent abandonment of politics in 1962, talk persisted during 1963 that he might be the Republican nominee in 1964. This talk ended only after (a) Lyndon Johnson succeeded Kennedy and began to look unbeatable and (b) Barry Goldwater started pulling away from the pack.
Might Gore run in 2004 after all? Certainly it’s highly unlikely. But if things go truly badly for President Bush this year, Gore might decide he can win. In that case, all bets are off. Gore could cite the parlous state of the country as a change in circumstances. Relying on polls that might show him to be the choice of grass root Democrats and a probable winner against Bush, he could then re-enter the fray. In fact, Gore’s calculus in stepping aside might have been this: in the probable event that Bush can’t be beaten, I’m better off out; in the possible event that things deteriorate to the point that Bush can be beaten, I can always get back in.

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