The big winner so far is Al Gore. He reminds me a bit of a student we had at the Law School some years ago, from a large family of prominent lawyers, who flunked out. His reaction: relief. "Now they'll quit pestering me to go into the family business, and I can do what I want," he said.
UPDATE: John Scalzi's comments on Gore are amusing:
Make no mistake, Gore would win the 2004 Democratic nomination, on the backs of hardcore Democrats who would pull the lever for him for the same reason legions of Star Wars geeks trudge joylessly to George Lucas' latest betrayal of their trust: Because that's what expected of them, and because if they didn't, they'd be admitting that former investment of time and energy was a complete waste. Meanwhile, the rest of pool of the potential Democratic voters, who are not glumly enthralled by Democratic Jedi mind tricks, will get a look at Gore's reheated visage and say: Screw this, let's go catch The Matrix. . . .
Anyway, Gore's better off where he is. Right now there's still a sizable chunk of people who feel vaguely that the man got screwed out of a job; better to ride that wave of disassociated pity to a posh sinecure on the lecture circuit and a kingmaker perch in Democratic politics, than lose unambiguously and stink up the room like the second coming of Mike Dukakis.
Scalzi has some good observations on Trent Lott, and Andrew Sullivan's "Pledge Week," too.