John Kerry and Al Gore are in many ways excellent human beings. I don’t want to criticize either of them. But each of them lost to perhaps the least impressive candidate for President ever to receive a major-party nomination.
If neither of them — one running as the heir of a record of success, the other as the opponent of a record of failure — could close the sale against Bush, why should next time be different? They, along with Bill Clinton, can supply the elder statesmanship the Democrats have long lacked.
But run them again for President? No way, no day. John Edwards, Wesley Clark, and Evan Bayh all plausibly have what the party needs: a candidate not culturally threatening to the culturally threatened parts of the electorate. That’s where we should start our thinking about 2008.