Hillary-Barack Gridlock? Newsweek Ponders 'Al Gore to the Rescue'

Some see the Democratic race as slipping away from Hillary Clinton, but others persist in seeing the race as "tick tight," to quote Dan Rather. On his Stumper blog, Newsweek cub political reporter Andrew Romano forwards the bundle of nervous energy that is Eleanor Clift, wondering if Al Gore will come to the rescue on the second ballot of the Democratic convention in Denver. Romano's take?

He foresaw global warming. He "took the initiative" on the Internet. And he knew exactly how Iraq would turn out. Who's to say that Al Gore hasn't known all along that the Democratic race would descend into some weird state of gridlock--and that only he, the Goreacle, could rescue the party from civil war?

Someone should talk Eleanor Clift gently away from the ledge of foisting Al Gore on the electorate again, especially since he sounds more like the president of Norway (six-dollar gas, anyone?) on the fate of the planet.

Al Gore on the second ballot: A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It goes like this: We love them both, but neither is a sure bet when it comes to electability. It's not about gender and race, each has more mundane vulnerabilities. Hillary's negatives will drive white men to John McCain; Obama's inexperience will require a gut check on the part of voters. What if the super delegates decide not to decide, denying either candidate the requisite number of delegates to secure the party's nomination. Democrats want to win. The new rallying cry: Gore on the second ballot.

The last time a political convention went to a second ballot was 1952, but this is a year with so many twists and turns that nothing is impossible. Gore would be tempted on so many levels. He would only have to endure two months of campaigning, not long enough for voters to remember what they didn't like about him eight years ago. Gore has sat out the primary process, refusing to offer even so much as a hint of where his sentiments lie. Years of playing second-fiddle to Hillary in the White House no doubt precluded his endorsement for her. Surely he would happily take Obama as his running mate, ending the Clinton dynasty and positioning the Democrats for a potential 16-year reign at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. A Gore-Obama ticket would be unstoppable, the thinking goes, matching the presumptive Republican nominee, McCain, on national security and experience, while embodying a powerful message of change.

The Gore second-ballot scenario isn't being seriously considered by Democratic Party leaders (as far as we know). But a number of individual high-profile Democrats are talking about it, along with any number of other ideas to end the seemingly intractable stalemate.

Weird. This is the kind of nervous phase that liberal media elitists go through in primary season. Even in 1992, before they all started singing "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)," the press bantered about if Bill Clinton weren't electable, could there be a late entry by Dick Gephardt or Mario Cuomo? It's nothing that can't be cured with a sleep aid or some anti-anxiety pills.

(Hat tip to Dan Gainor)

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