A couple of Democratic pollsters, one for Jimmy Carter and one for Bill Clinton have an interesting editorial in the Wall St. Journal. Here's a taste:
When Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson accepted the reality that they could not effectively govern the nation if they sought re-election to the White House, both men took the moral high ground and decided against running for a new term as president. President Obama is facing a similar reality—and he must reach the same conclusion.
He 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.
Frequent leaders of this blog will note that a Hillary candidacy has been expected, even if she has to be reluctantly dragged to the nomination. (Depends on what your definition of "reluctantly" is.) Caddell and Schoen provide the rationale for a Hillary draft.
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.
It's the three AM phone call all over again!
Certainly, Mr. Obama could still win re-election in 2012. Even with his all-time low job approval ratings (and even worse ratings on handling the economy) the president could eke out a victory in November. But the kind of campaign required for the president's political survival would make it almost impossible for him to govern—not only during the campaign, but throughout a second term.
Put simply, it seems that the White House has concluded that if the president cannot run on his record, he will need to wage the most negative campaign in history to stand any chance. With his job approval ratings below 45% overall and below 40% on the economy, the president cannot affirmatively make the case that voters are better off now than they were four years ago. He—like everyone else—knows that they are worse off.
In essence, they are saying that even if Obama manages to get himself re-elected, he will continue to damage the party beyond repair. And they're right. Whether Obama wins the nomination or goes on to win next November, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for Democrats.
Hillary is by no means a lock on the White House, but either way, she damages Democrats (and the country) less.
Read the rest here.
Cross posted at LCR, Say Anything.