Why Dis Gore?

Hillary Clinton’s strategy when it comes to wooing superdelegates seems to be aggressive courtship followed by equally aggressive rejection. They’re your best friend until the moment they endorse Obama, at which point you disown them. Bill ” Judas ” Richardson learned this firsthand.

That could explain why Clinton took a thinly veiled shot at Al Gore at last night’s “Compassion Forum”:

We had two very good men, and men of faith, run for president in 2000 and 2004. Large segments of the electorate concluded that they did not really understand, or relate to, or respect their ways of life.

Honestly, if Clinton thought there was even a sliver of a chance that Al Gore would endorse her, she never would have said this. The dis isn’t quite explicit; she couches it as what other people think. But a little interlinear reading—”large segments of the electorate” represents the unassailable Will of the People, which is of course never wrong—makes it pretty clear that she’s endorsing the idea. Later in the evening, when Obama appeared on the program, he pointedly stood up for the former veep: “I thought Al Gore won.”

Meanwhile, the Scotsman (of Samantha Power fame) ran a thinly sourced piece yesterday reporting that Jimmy Carter and Al Gore are planning to endorse Obama any day now in a double-fisted death blow to Clinton’s campaign. Over at DailyKos, diarist “davefromqueens” thinks Clinton lashed out at Gore yesterday as a pre-emptive strike against an impending endorsement. Of course Gore would endorse Obama , the logic goes, they’re both out-of touch elitist males .

It could be that Gore has truly decided not to endorse, and that Obama was just defending Gore in order to defend himself. But then why would Clinton go out of her way to 1) attack Gore, 2) explicitly link Gore and Kerry, who has endorsed Obama, and 3) implicitly link Obama to both of their losses? There’s no reason to publicly insult a potential ally unless he has already switched to the other side. Neutrality wouldn’t merit scorn.