From John Nichols in the Nation:
Having now won the Norwegian Primary, it is reasonable to ask why Al Gore would want to slog his way through the snows of New Hampshire. But the inconvenient truth is that never has the man who might yet be president needed to more seriously consider his personal legacy -- not to mention the small matter of his potential to make the world anew -- than now. There is, after all, the matter of the open space at the end of what is now the most remarkable resume of anyone seeking -- or considering seeking -- the presidency.
Let's review. This is how Al Gore's résumé reads as of this morning:
• Son of a great senator.
• Harvard graduate, with honors.
• Vietnam veteran.
• Award-winning investigative journalist.
• Vice President.
• Winner of the popular vote for President of the United States.
• Best-selling author.
• Environmental activist.
• Academy Award winner.
• And, now, Nobel Peace Prize winner -- he shares the prize with the UN's 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."
As résumés go, that is one for the top of the pile. But it begs the question: Shouldn't a man who has gotten this far be thinking about how to finish the journey? And isn't the last stop the Oval Office?
. . . .
There will be a lot of "fire-in-the-belly" talk over the next few days. But Al Gore should not be worrying about checking his gut. He should be thinking about the resume he has spent a lifetime preparing. It is more impressive than ever. Unfortunately, the suddenly more impressive character of Gore's resume only serves to emphasize that it remains incomplete.
A Nobel Prize for Peace is a fine honor. But take it from a man who won the presidency and the prize but could not leave the political arena. "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better," Teddy Roosevelt said as he prepared another run for the White House. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."