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Originally published May 2, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 2, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Snohomish County opinion

Gore's candidacy heats up

In spite of the late great Molly Ivins' admonition that only fools predict presidential elections, I cannot resist: Al Gore will run for...

Special to The Times

In spite of the late great Molly Ivins' admonition that only fools predict presidential elections, I cannot resist: Al Gore will run for the presidency in 2008, and he will win.

As a psychotherapist who spends his days wondering what motivates people, I believe the case for a Gore candidacy is compelling. To have been victorious in the 2000 election (both The New York Times and The Washington Post concluded, ultimately, that Gore won the Florida vote) and yet to have lost that office would have been at first devastating, then infuriating and, finally, maddening.

For anyone to have won the presidency and then to be denied his prize would be motivating beyond measure.

In his film "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore speaks movingly of "the moral imperative" to deal with global warming. There is no more powerful place on Earth from which to address the planet's woes than the Oval Office.

He cannot help but feel some "moral imperative" to seek the U.S. presidency again. Neither can one overstate the less-altruistic drive in all of us to triumph over those (people or events) who have defeated us in the past — especially if the defeat was undeserved.

Gore reportedly wanted to run in 2004 but was discouraged to do so by the Democratic Party. Since 2004, he has grown into an extremely effective and potent figure, explaining the environmental catastrophe we are facing. Although many argue that he could more-effectively fight global warming as a citizen activist, rather than president, the state of the planet has been dear to him since the early 1990s, and he sought high office all through that decade. Why not run in 2008?

Gore is so well-known that he would not have to enter the race until very late, perhaps in the fall of 2007. He'd then be a fresh voice for voters tired of persistent campaigning by the frontrunners in both major political parties. Entering late, with pervasive name familiarity and a campaign message of uncommon urgency, Gore could reduce the need for campaigning, reduce costs and swing directly into the top tier of candidates.

The former VP's platform ("first and foremost, we must save the Earth") will make him the most-attractive of contenders: one who actually leads. He could tell Americans, "I realize that global warming is fifth or sixth on the list of what is most important to you. But it should be No. 1. Nothing — not health-care costs, not taxes, and not the disaster in Iraq — can be more important to our future than the health of our planet."

Americans are aware that Gore was an early and unflinching critic of George Bush's Iraq adventure, and he could speak powerfully during the campaign about what more than half a trillion dollars spent on that conflict could have done to address global warming — a problem that the Pentagon reported three years ago was far more serious than terrorism. Already, "An Inconvenient Truth" has won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. If, as many predict, he wins a Nobel Peace Prize, the compelling force that is Al Gore could become a political juggernaut.

With a healthy showing in the primaries next spring, Gore could then spend six months until the Democratic convention talking up global warming in his eloquent, non-alarmist way, reminding Americans that it is in their interests and the interests of their children and grandchildren to join him in his cause.

Meanwhile, scientific evidence will continue to pile up in Gore's favor. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations stated there was 90 percent certainty human activity was contributing to global warming. In April, the panel outlined looming catastrophes linked to higher temperatures.

After the divisiveness and dishonesty of today's Bush presidency, Gore's call to arms — his exhortation to change and sacrifice a little for the greater good of protecting our planet's future — could be irresistible. He'd be saying, in effect, "The house is on fire, we must put it out," while his opponents would look as if they were debating whether to remodel the kitchen.

The White House has been won before by men with far less foresight.

Trip Quillman is a psychotherapist practicing in Everett.

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