Unnamed friends…

This is a publicity-hungry society. So in circumstances that don’t involve giving reporters necessary background, I am always suspicious of the motives of unnamed sources. The New York Times trots out “a half-dozen friends, advisers and other close associates” of Al Gore who claim enough connection to believe he will not run for President in 2004. I say: maybe. This story seems like a floater to me, i.e. an idea floated into the public sphere, unatributed, for the purpose of testing the popularity of that idea. This is a standard political tactic, and I think that’s what’s happening in this case. He’s been Mr. Publicity of late with a book tour that allows him to get close to real citizens and take shots at Bush, the Republicans, even the news media. All of this activity creates data that Gore will analyze to make his decision to run.