Friday, August 29, 2003

Crunch Time

There's been a lot of chatter in the blogs about recent rumors that Hillary may jump in after all. Here's what I have to say about this: rumors of Hillary running have surfaced regularly over the past year or so at about 3-4 week intervals. Quite often they can be traced to right-wing sources who push the rumors either as a means of goading their followers into donating more money to "Stop Hitlary!" or because they really want to run against Hillary and will jump on any suggestion that she will. These rumors eventually die out as Hillary, once again, re-iterates that she is NOT running this time. I see nothing in this latest rumor to distinguish it from anything that has been said before. I think what is happening is that the Democratic establishment is coming to terms with the Dean question. The MO is behind Dean and they know that none of the currently declared candidates is likely to stop it. So they have to decide: will they call off the attacks on Dean (which means muzzling Al From) or will they make an all-out push to find the anti-Dean and throw all their weight behind him or her. Wesley Clark is the most likely nominee for the latter role, Hillary being a distant second. Clark because he looks so great on paper. Hillary because she has instant name recognition. I think the delays in Clark's decision to run reflect the heat of the battles currently going on behind the scenes. There are some who are absolutely convinced that Dean will be a disaster. There are others who are absolutely convinced that an establishment candidate horning in now to beat back the Dean juggernaught will absolutely rip the Democratic party apart at the very time when it most needs to be united. I think you can guess where I come down on that spectrum. It's crunch time folks. The next 30 days could be the most critical to the future of the Democratic chances in 2004. Here's hoping they don't do anything stupid.

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