Does Al Gore’s Obama Endorsement Matter?

Well, it’s a done deal. Former Vice-President Al Gore officially endorsed Barack Obama last night, shocking – well, no one. In addition to stressing the importance of the individual vote, Gore went on to blast the Bush administration and echoed the electoral zeitgeist: After eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure, we need change. After eight years when our Constitution has been dishonoured and disrespected, we need changes.” The crowd ate it up, of course.

Hoping to dispel doubts about Obama’s readiness, Gore took some time to compare the Senator to another dynamic candidate, the oft-cited John F. Kennedy:

[Gore] quoted a “prominent Republican” who called a Democratic nominee as being too young, inexperienced and naïve. He wasn’t referring to something John McCain said about Barack Obama, however. “Who are they talking about?” he asked. “Every single one of those quotations came from the campaign of 1960, when the Republicans attacked John Fitzgerald Kennedy for allegedly lacking the age and experience necessary to be president. Richard Nixon’s slogan in that campaign was “experience counts.”

Gore certainly has experience with the White House and his post-veep career as an environmental advocate captivated an entirely new generation of Americans. In theory, Gore’s appearance in Michigan should give Obama a boost. Unfortunately, it may be too late:

Some early overnight reaction to the belated endorsement of Barack Obama by Al Gore. And it might disappoint the former vice president and loser in the 2000 White House race.

Exactly what Gore was waiting for in the past two weeks since Obama sewed up his party’s nomination is unclear. Maybe he just wanted to go to Michigan where his prize-winning environmental pitch is so very less welcome than other places that don’t make so many large cars.

Or maybe he was waiting until his endorsement meant absolutely nothing.

Why would it mean nothing? Well, it’s a bit late to make a big stink over Obama. It’s not as if Gore’s going to back Bob Barr.