Susan Estrich deconstructs Joe Klein’s ridiculous scenario:
First of all, there are no “elders” in the Democratic Party, at least none who control 100 or more votes. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t control that many votes, not on a vote for the Democratic nomination for president. Neither does Harry Reid. Certainly not Howard Dean. There are no machines, there’s no leader, and the only person who might, in other circumstances, have that kind of clout would be Bill Clinton, who is already using whatever influence he has to keep Hillary in the game
And the only other viable candidate is Al Gore himself who said on 60 Minutes last night that he doesn’t want to be a powerbroker and doesn’t expect to be the nominee:
(CNN) – His name continues to get mentioned as a Democratic elder who cold hammer out a resolution in his party’s deadlocked presidential race, but former Vice President Al Gore said Sunday he’s not interested in the job.
“I’m trying to stay out of it,” the former vice president said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” of the prolonged race for the White House.
“I’m not applying for the job of broker,” he also said when pressed about the possibility he will be one of the few neutral Democrats who could sit Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton down together.
The comments follow increased speculation that Gore, the party’s 2000 presidential nominee, may be called to forge a compromise between the two candidates, or even appear on the top of the presidential ticket himself.
In the interview Sunday, Gore laughed off that role as a modern day ‘Boss Tweed.’
But last week, Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida suggested Gore, the party’s 2000 presidential nominee, could assume the role of a compromise candidate if neither Clinton nor Obama could reach a deal themselves.
“If it goes into the convention, don’t be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket,” he told a Florida newspaper, adding Gore could be that choice.
Gore shrugged off that suggestion: “I doubt very seriously that I’ll ever be a candidate again,” he said.
Moreover, as Estrich notes, the entire logic behind the argument that Klein and Mahoney make relies about the idea that Clinton and Obama are not strong candidates, and that just isn’t so:
The reason that neither Clinton nor Obama has locked this thing up is not that they’re weak candidates, but because of how strong both of them are, compared to their Gore-like opponents who got nowhere in this race. What makes Al Gore so much more appealing than John Edwards or Chris Dodd or Joe Biden, all of them at least as charismatic as Gore, and unable to compete against Clinton and Obama? The idea that the answer to the Democrats’ problem is to go find one of its old losers is an insult to the supporters of both Clinton and Obama. And don’t forget how much weight Gore’s endorsement carried last time around, when he anointed then-frontrunner Howard Dean in what turned out to look more like the kiss of death than anything else.
This campaign may not be pretty – ok, there are days when it’s pretty ugly – but by the time the Democrats meet in Denver, one of the two candidates will have more delegates, pledged and unpledged, than the other. That’s the candidate who will be the nominee. It won’t be someone who didn’t run. The role of the superdelegates is to choose between the candidates, not to render the whole process irrelevant.
Which is exactly what would happen if they reached outside the primary process and brought in someone who has done nothing but travel the world and collect speaking fees for the past seven years. That may have worked back in the days when the nomination was controlled by the party bosses, but it’s not going to work today.