Former Vice President Al Gore's name has been in the headlines recently for two quite distinctly different reasons. He has received many accolades for his outstanding accomplishments on environmental issues, and as well, his name is seriously being bandied about by some grassroot organizers in the Democratic Party in California and elsewhere to put him on the primary ballots for president.

Gore does certainly possess one of the most impressive resumes any American in recent memory can claim. As a young man he graduated from Harvard with honors, no "C" student here.

He served honorably in Vietnam, no detour to National Guard duty, which used to mean staying comfortably at home. And as the son of a distinguished U.S. senator, I'm sure a favor to his daddy could have been arranged, as it was for someone else's famous son.

He can claim honors as an award-winning investigative journalist, and possesses not only outstanding writing ability but is a talented public speaker as well. Teleprompters and note cards, when missing don't result in embarrassing faux pas or disastrous blunders.

Gore went on to become a respected congressman and U.S. senator and then the vice president of the United States. The man has an outstanding foundation and record in service to the country.

In 2000 Gore ran for president and won the popular vote, being selected by the American people as their leader. But concerns about "hanging chads and butterfly ballots" in Florida (Governor Bush's state) resulted in the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court making what can now, in retrospect, be labeled as one of the most regrettable decisions in the history of its existence and thus appointed George W. Bush as president.

Gore went on to do impressive work as a best-selling author, an environmental activist, and an Academy Award winner. And then this month, he became a Nobel Peace Prize winner - an honor Gore shares with the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

All of these accomplishments by anyone's definition do not a shabby resume make. But the question is still out there, when it comes right down to it as to whether the former vice president should complete his journey and actually take his rightful seat in the Oval Office at long last.

Over the last year a "Draft Gore" movement has been growing. His supporters argue that since he already won in 2000, it is very likely that those same voters would support him once again.

Hundreds of "Draft Gore" groups have been popping up across the country. In our own state of California, which has the most electoral votes, a Field Poll put Gore in second place already, with 25 percent of the vote, behind only front-runner Hillary Clinton by 13 points.
The effort in California has a three-fold goal: organizing the state, encouraging other states to follow suit, and to ultimately convince Al Gore to become a candidate in 2008, something he thus far has not committed to doing.

By capitalizing on the state election law provision in California, any name can be placed on the ballot, provided enough signatures in favor of that candidate - 500 from each of the state's 53 congressional districts - sign off on that person before the Dec. 4 deadline. The goal is that Al Gore's name will appear on ballots throughout California when the presidential primary is held in February.

Some Democratic leaders are questioning the need for a "Draft Gore" push when there are already well-established presidential hopefuls running. As pathetic as it sounds in 21st century America, part of the reason for this grass roots movement may be fear. In a general election, blatant prejudice against a woman or an African-American candidate (Clinton and Obama being the top contenders so far) may not play out well for the party in the South or even in rural middle-America.

A Southern "white boy" may be required to get the vote and make it happen once again, enabling a Democrat to take up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Al Gore as yet hasn't "definitively ruled out a bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president." Those pushing for his candidacy worry about the "overwhelming agenda" that will be left to the next president and feel that Gore is the one best suited to deal with it all.

This is indeed a fascinating twist in what has been one of the longest primary seasons ever, with a growing number of Democratic activists hopeful that Al Gore can be persuaded to make another successful run for president.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Carol Jensen is a long-time Barstow resident, graduating from Kennedy High School and Barstow College, where she was an English instructor for many years. Much of her time now is spent writing political and social commentary. She may be contacted at cajensen49@msn.com.