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Fox News Democrats Schoen and Caddell have returned to their old theme:

Obama should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments. He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor — one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president’s administration, who has the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.

Ignoring for the moment the inanity of this argument, I just wanted to make a few points about why this is a bad idea. Sure, in purely parliamentary systems it’s different–the Tories kicked out Margaret Thatcher for John Major in 1990 and won the next election, and while Labour lost in 2010 it wasn’t much to do with the reasons why Tony Blair had to resign three years earlier (namely, Iraq and pay-for-peerage scandals). In fact, in a purely parliamentary system, Obama might already be history for his colossal debt ceiling misjudgments (but then again, in a parliamentary system that situation would probably never have come up).

In our system, though, it doesn’t make any sense. The authors note that Truman and Johnson stepped aside instead of seeking another term in office. They don’t note that both times, their party suffered devastating losses at the polls after elections dominated by the decisions they made. Nixon also falls into this category, even though he left rather before the end of his term. How you could use these arguments as positive proof to do the same thing is pure madness. And it wasn’t voluntary or anything, but Bill Clinton being Constitutionally unable to run in 2000 also shows a good reason for why this argument falls flat–Clinton’s controversies never really died away, but Al Gore felt (understandably) that it wasn’t his job to stick up for Clinton’s peccadilloes. He got stuck with the baggage anyhow, and his inability to answer the Clinton question was a big problem with his bid. One can easily imagine a third Clinton run being successful in 2000, as Clinton was well adept at figuring out how to deal with Clinton controversies. It’s hard to imagine Hillary Clinton not falling into a similar trap in a potential 2012 bid.

At this point in time, it’s not remotely possible that Barack Obama won’t be on the ballot in 2012. I’ve agreed with many of his decisions and disagreed intensely with some, but at this point the bigger problem is that many of these decisions have been deliberately obscured and distorted by the Fox/Rush/Drudge machine and the mainstream media, the former being the tail wagging the latter’s dog. But the lucky thing is that Obama is perfectly positioned to explain these decisions to the public, having had unique access to the mind that made them as well as a big stake in making sure he’s correctly understood, plus he’ll have ample funding to do so. Replacing him with Clinton, aside from being an obvious wave of the proverbial white flag, does not change the size or shape of the baggage the party carries right now. The problems Obama faces are a bad economy, a few unpopular decisions and a lot of misinformation about his tenure in office. Replacing him with Clinton fixes not number one, nor number three, and it only fixes number two if she were to disown Obama’s record, which would just introduce a whole host of new problems for strong Obama supporters. The notion that a President Hillary would usher in a new era of bipartisanship smacks of the same wishful thinking of the notion that merely electing Barack Obama would end racial tensions in America.  It would literally be the worst of all possible worlds for Democrats. But I’d expect nothing less from a plan by this pair of Fox News Democrats.

  1. 0whole1 says:

    > problems Obama faces

    You forgot “governing while black”.

  2. Mark Schumaker says:

    More comedy relief from Fox entertainment, I mean Fox cable news

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