The Washington Times’ Tony Blankley has few kind words for Gore:
Contrary to some expectations, this is pretty much the last we will see of Mr. Gore. Initially, his policy speeches will be cited briefly in political potpourri columns. After a few months, only obscure and rabid Internet sites will bother to report his considered opinions. Within six months, even pathological Gore haters will succumb to the boredom of reporting non-news stories. Those of us who have kicked him around over the last 10 years will miss him. Even second-rate pundits and political opponents could land a few blows on him. He was a slow moving 6-foot-4-inch human bull’s eye wandering through the murderer’s row of Washington politics and journalism. Elderly wildebeests on the African savanna provided more evasive targets.
But he thinks, as I do, that Gore would have made a strong candidate:
White House politicos may be bragging today that they will miss Mr. Gore because they knew how to beat him. But over half the country has already voted for Mr. Gore once. If things don’t go too well for President Bush in the next 18 months, Mr. Gore well might have been the only candidate in the Democratic field with the perceived experience, stature and national familiarity to take advantage of such a contingency. Democratic professionals in Washington may be expressing genuine relief that Mr. Gore has withdrawn from the race.
But both parties’ pros may have it wrong. I wonder whether they will still have those sentiments in the fall of 2004, when the Democrats are saddled with a liberal, non-southern Senator who has been sullied by two more years of hard and heavy legislative logrolling — the only national Democratic heavyweight having left the ring. This is a bigger event than it is currently reckoned.