Evidence accumulates favoring the possibility of a Hillary coup at the Denver convention, and it is being noticed among the sharper observers of politics.
From within the Hillary camp comes a far-from-innocent observation by her former communications director, Howard Wolfson. Brian Ross and Kaje Tapper of ABC News report:
Once upon a time, Hillary dismissed this sort of speculation with the phrase,. "shoulda, coulda, woulda...." But if anyone thinks Wolfson is saying this all on his own, for no particular reason, they ought to read up on the history of the Clinton Machine.
Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic presidential nominee if John Edwards had been caught in his lie about an extramarital affair and forced out of the race last year, insists a top Clinton campaign aide, making a charge that could exacerbate previously existing tensions between the camps of Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.
"I believe we would have won Iowa, and Clinton today would therefore have been the nominee," former Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson told ABC News.com.
Now that Edwards is not viable as a nominee, if Obama seriously falters, there is no place for the anybody-but-Hillary crowd to divert their support. Should Hillary be considering a coup effort, the Edwards implosion at the hands of the Enquirer is a strategic plus of some conbsiderable magnitude.
Take away the delegates Mr. Obama has by virtue of the endorsement of Senator Edwards, who has newly admitted deceiving the electorate about the adultery he committed while his wife lay stricken with cancer, and the delegate gap is even narrower. Even Mr. Obama doesn't have enough delegates to win the nomination without the super-delegates, so there wouldn't be anything terribly exceptional about the super-delegates putting her rather than him over the top.
Probably all this isn't enough - at least not yet. But what if, by the time the convention rolls around, Mr. Obama isn't just running neck and neck with Mr. McCain but is lagging by, say, five percentage points, or if Mr. Obama makes a big blunder with his choice of a running mate, or some other campaign stumble? Then expect the whispers already swirling among Clinton supporters to turn into a full-fledged roar.
The always astute Jennifer Rubin also sees the possibility of a Denver nightmare for Obama. She doesn't explicitly consider a loss of the nomination, but does write
Hillary and Bill, even on their best behavior, might wind up reminding all of their devoted followers of their common grievances and disappointments
. The Clintons' memories are long and their grudges run deep, and their followers know it. They bring with them a couple of potential complications. [....]
...during his time in the Hawaiian sun, Obama would be wise to put the transition team
on hold and start thinking about the Convention. It could be one heck of a party but, like the Magical Mystery European tour, he may wind up with a political hangover. Substance and restraint are not his strong suits and he will need a heavy dose of both.
Update: Stephen Green confirms
what I remembered: the Enquirer is owned by Roger Altman, a Clinton ally (and former cabinet secretary):
What almost no one mentions is that The National Enquirer
is owned by Clinton backer Roger Altman. Altman claims he has "no involvement in editorial, ever
" but his paper seems to have found a way to permanently sideline one of Hillary's rivals. Or can Edwards bounce back?