Would a Nobel Prize Victory Spark An Al Gore '08 Presidential Run?

John Nichols: The "Draft Gore" movement suggests it's not that great a leap from the awards stage in Stockholm to the presidential campaign trail.
This post, written by John Nichols, originally appeared on The Nation

Al Gore may well win a Nobel Peace Prize this week, which is no small accomplishment. But the more relentless of the former vice president's political proponents are saying, "Why stop with an trophy when can have it all?"

After all, the "Draft Gore" movement suggests, it is not that great a leap from the awards stage in Stockholm to the presidential campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The peace prize winner -- or winners, if deserving Canadian Inuit environmentalist Sheila Watt-Cloutier shares the honor with Gore -- will be announced on Friday.

Then there will be headlines, broadcast reports, interviews with Gore about his Global Marshall Plan to address climate change, and the inevitable flurry of speculation about whether it wouldn't make more sense for Democrats to nominate an internationally acclaimed thinker and activist than a cautious-and-calculating former First Lady or a cautious-but-somewhat-more-inspiring junior senator from Illinois.

Conveniently, the speculation would probably reach a crescendo around the time of the November 2 deadline for entering the New Hampshire primary competition. Imagine the drama of days prior to that deadline, as America awaits the decision of a former congressman, senator, vice president and Democratic presidential nominee to enter the race for an office that -- had only the American political process been structured to accept the popular will of the people rather than the determination of an archaic and undemocratic Electoral College and its Supreme Court manipulators -- he should have held for the past eight years.

"We feel that if he wins the Nobel Prize... then he can't not run for president," chirps Roy Gayhart, a California "Draft Gore" organizer.

Perhaps. But, just in case the reluctant runner needs a push, his line coaches are yelling at the top of their lungs, "Run Al Run."

The crusading campaigners of a "Draft Gore" movement that is decidedly better organized and focused than at least a few of the declared Democratic presidential campaigns operate a sharp website at Draft have active organizations in a number of states and are now capitalizing with some skill on the Nobel moment.
John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent.