Al Gore is much in the news, with his all-but-won-the-Oscar documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He says he will not run in 2008 and I'll take him at his word. (That was a joke, son.)
Apparently, Gore now feels he should have been more passionate in the 2000 election. With the results so close, I suppose it's natural to second guess. My guess, however, is he got about as many votes as he was gonna get.
After all, he did get more votes than his predecessor, and more votes than his opponent. Though Gore had a good economy to run on, Clinton had turned off a lot of people, and the public wanted a change. Also, he (or some Democrats somewhere) timed the release of the Bush DUI story right before the election, so it was fresh on everyone's mind. This hit at Bush's greatest weakness--he was untested on a national level, so people weren't sure if he was personally up to the job. I'm guessing this move alone gave Gore more than a million net votes.
If he had been more passionate, Bush probably would have been able to beat him over the head with it. His passion is global warming, and I can see the ads now--"if Gore is elected, gas prices will rise so high they'll be" as big as they actually are now. Gore would have lost Michigan right there. He also would have lost all those retirees in Miami on fixed incomes who mistakenly voted for Buchanan.
"For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been!'." All the more reason not to fool yourself.