The Long Walk

I was on a radio show earlier this year with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air during the period when it had begun to look obvious that Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee. We were pondering the question of who in the Democratic party had the “guns” to go hang the bell on the cat of the Hillary Clinton Campaign. “But who,” Ed asked, “is going to make that long walk down the hall to tell Hillary it’s over?” We both admitted that it didn’t look like any candidates came to mind who could pull it off.

Well, at least according to The Scotsman, some candidates have been found to take on that daunting task.

Falling poll numbers and a string of high-profile blunders have convinced party elders that [Clinton] must now bow out of the primary race.

Former president Carter and former vice-president Gore have already held high-level discussions about delivering the message that she must stand down for the good of the Democrats.

“They’re in discussions,” a source close to Carter told Scotland on Sunday. “Carter has been talking to Gore. They will act, possibly together, or in sequence.”

There is certainly room to debate whether or not those two have the aforementioned guns to actually push Hillary out of the race, but the Scotsman makes a compelling case. Should Senator Clinton not listen to their counsel in private, they may not have to force her. They would only need to convey the message that they could convincingly push enough of the uncommitted super delegates into Obama’s column to seal the deal. (He currently needs only 33% of the remaining “open” super delegates to reach the magic number.) That might be enough incentive to prompt Clinton to gracefully bow out while it still might look like it was her idea, rather than giving the public appearance that she had been shoved aside. It could also keep some life in the hope of the so called “dream ticket” with her in the VP slot.

But wait,” I can hear you saying. “Didn’t Obama just say something really stupid about bitter people? Might that not be putting Clinton right back in the race?”

A really funny guy once said, “Sex and golf are the only two things you can enjoy even if you’re not good at them.” In the case of Senator Obama, you might want to add “politics” to that list. The “bitter” comment was a notable gaffe to be sure, and worthy of examination and debate. Indeed, among his opponents, no sooner had the virtual ink dried on an article at the Huffington Post detailing the remarks than Power Line was asking, “Is Obama’s Campaign Over?”

The reality, of course, as we have seen repeatedly this year, is that Obama’s campaign has been “over” multiple times. It was “over” when news of his friendship with Tony Rezko came to public attention. It was “over” when videos of his former pastor making controversial remarks showed up on Youtube. And it was “over” every time he failed to win the primary in a particular state, or even failed to win by enough. But each and every time, following a brief dip, the poll numbers would settle out and drift back up to pretty much where they were before. While the expiration date for Senator Obama’s free pass from the media has clearly come and gone, the pass which the public is willing to give him looks to be a season ticket. It is more than likely that his growing army of supporters will look at those comments, give a collective shrug, and say, “Yeah, so? Lots of people are bitter about the way things are going. What’s your point?” And then they will continue to pick up those phones when the pollsters call and register their support for the Illinois Wunderkind of politics.

We’re nine days out from the Pennsylvania primary. The last round of polls show Hillary Clinton’s lead there evaporating like fog over the Delaware River. (Now down to three points according to one source.) Once the dust settles out from that (and possibly two more races) it may indeed be time for Gore and Carter to make that long walk down the hall. The Clintons have probably been at this game long enough to know they will need to answer the door when the elder statesmen knock.