Last week, the story came out that, after the election was settled, Gore and Clinton had a rather frank conversation about the 2000 election. Gore was upset at Clinton for having to be saddled with the baggage of his scandals, while Clinton was upset that Gore hadn’t run on Clinton’s accomplishments.
Given that much of the way Gore ran in 2000 was, in retrospect, clearly driven by his unhappiness with the various troubles Clinton had gotten himself into - especially his liaison with Monica Lewinsky - how should Gore have best handled this, if he wanted to be evaluated as his “own man,” as he said in his acceptance speech last August?
The more I think about it, if he was that uncomfortable with being associated with Clinton, he should have resigned as Vice President. If he had waited until after the end of the impeachment trial, no one could have faulted him for deserting Clinton in a pinch, but it would have registered his feelings on the matter, in no uncertain terms.
It would have had the advantage of firmly insulating him from the moral fallout from the Clinton administration (something Bush was able to obliquely use to great effect), but he would have been able to share credit for the administration’s accomplishments during its first six years.
OTOH, he would have lost the many practical advantages of being the sitting VP during his campaign - and whoever Clinton chose as veep for the final two years might’ve tried to run for President too.
Mostly, it seems to me that, by remaining as veep, Gore lost his moral right to blame Clinton for his problems. If it was that serious a deal to him, he knew where the door was.