The Rude Pundit has a good post on the impact of this.
When the books are written, in the long-term histories of this and other countries, Al Gore will be cherished and George Bush will be crushed like so much real manure on a fake ranch. Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize does in Bush's seeming obsession with his legacy. And that's due in no small part to the smallness of Bush's thinking compared to the expansiveness of Gore's.
Back in 2000, because we didn't riot in the streets and shut down the country in the wake of the presidential election debacle, the nation essentially abandoned Al Gore. And while Al Gore didn't totally abandon the nation, he turned his focus to the effort to demonstrate that real leadership need not emanate from the false mandate of a corrupted electoral process. In his crusade for action on climate change, Gore not only remade himself, but he remade the way in which people think about the world at large. Here was not just a cause confined to a specific continent (like African hunger) or a fight against a tyrant like Hitler to catalyze large portions of the population. Here was a way of thinking of the Earth as a whole, a way of seeing the interdependence of each country, of each population, and Gore has shifted a generation's view of itself as part of something larger.
The great failure of the United States to lead on this issue, to be the place where we create solutions that benefit the globe, keep economies humming, and raise humanity up in a way that might, truly, do more for peace than all the pre-emptive wars ever, rests squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush and his administration.
It's the difference between a man who traveled and studied the world by choice in his life and a man who has to be dragged to different countries like a particularly incontinent dog is dragged out to the sidewalk on a snowy day.
Gore's not gonna run. Give that up. To go from speaking out about melting icecaps to being asked what he thinks about, say, a flag-burning amendment would be a degradation of what he's worked for the last six years. And had that statewide recount in Florida happened and Gore had become president, Republicans would have simply worked night and day trying to destroy him, and his causes would have been washed away in a tide of worthless investigations of Buddhist monk phone calls and worse. And let's not even get into how Republicans would have exploded in berserk, ape-like rage over 9/11 if it had happened under a Gore presidency.
It's not that we're not worthy or that he's too good for us or any of that hyperbolic nonsense. We got the president we deserved, twice, and we realized too late that we didn't get the president we needed. As with so many things, our own temptation to that latent American selfishness has done us in.
But for you Gore 2008 supporters who are still holding out hope, here is why all the pundits are wrong about Gore not running for President. And already, Fox News and right-wing bloggers are attacking Al Gore for winning the prize.
And oh, what could have been....