The serial self-immolation of Rick Perry and Herman Cain has produced a growing desperation on the right as Republicans face the prospect of the base-smothering candidacy of centrist Mitt Romney. The latest example of the panic is the devotion of the entire five columns above the fold of today’s Wall Street Journal opinion page to an article by sometime “Democratic” pollsters Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen entitled “The Hillary Moment.”
The article shows what the Journal’s up to from the start, opening with praise for those pillars of conservative probity Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, whom the authors say occupied moral high-ground by chosing not to seek re-election. Soberly say the erstwhile-Dems Caddell and Schoen (again): Obama must do the same.
The authors then offer the noble reason for doing so: to make way for “the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy”: Hillary Clinton. One can almost hear Republicans murmuring to themselves that if history shows one thing it is that only a Clinton can bring the GOP and Democrats together.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, Clinton is not running in 2012, and she won’t change her mind about that. She probably won’t run in 2016 either. It is an indicator of the disappointment of the Journal in the fate of its preferred GOP candidates (cf. its torrid early crush on Rick Perry) that it seems as interested in pushing Democratic challengers to Obama as backing available Republicans ones.
Eventually the dreams of reviving the Clinton-Obama fights of 2008 will dissipate, no matter how hard Dick Cheney, the Wall Street Journal or fifth column Democrats cling to them. But they may cling a little longer, given how things are going for the GOP. If they’re calling on Hillary to run now, imagine the lengths they’ll go to once the (also dubious) Ron Paul Third Party candidacy meme gets underway in earnest.