Monday, September 18, 2006

Gore's 2008 Plans May Become Clearer After Release of Book

Former vice president Al Gore is set to have a new book out in May. It will focus on how "the public arena has grown more hostile to reason," Gore's editor says.

The Washington Post reports:
Although saying he has no plans to run for president in 2008, former vice president Al Gore has nonetheless left the door ever so slightly ajar. It's a good bet that door will swing open a good bit wider come next May.

That is when Gore is scheduled to publish his next book. With no fanfare, he signed a few weeks ago with Penguin Press to write "The Assault on Reason."

As described by editor Scott Moyers, the book is a meditation on how "the public arena has grown more hostile to reason," and how solving problems such as global warming is impeded by a political culture with a pervasive "unwillingness to let facts drive decisions."

While that may sound abstract, both the subject matter and the timing of the release have an unmistakable subtext. In 2004, Gore cheered liberals when he lashed at President Bush for allegedly falling captive to right-wing special interests and taking flight from "fact-based analysis." If the book strikes a chord, it will produce new momentum for Gore to make another bid for the White House, presumably fueled in large part by anti-Iraq-war Democrats.

As it happens, speculation about presidential ambitions and book tours have long enjoyed symbiotic relationships. In 1995, Colin L. Powell released his memoirs, "My American Story," in the midst of fevered expectations about his own presidential intentions. He ended up not running, but he did produce a runaway best-seller.

Gore is currently on the paperback best-seller lists with the companion book to his documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."

"The Assault on Reason" is not the only book due next year that will be deconstructed for political implications. Pollster Mark Penn, a longtime strategist for both President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), not long ago signed his own book deal with editor Jon Karp of Warner Twelve. "Micro Trends," which analyzes American politics and business, will come out next Labor Day -- when Hillary Clinton's widely anticipated 2008 campaign would presumably be nearing a boil.