President Lyndon Johnson was challenged from the left. He faced a formidable one-issue challenger in Eugene McCarthy, who had a strong anti-Vietnam War message that resonated with young people who faced a draft. And McCarthy did not win the New Hampshire primary -- a surprising strong 42 percent, but second nonetheless. The damage done, Robert Kennedy jumped into the race four days later.
Facing a battle against Kennedy "royalty," a rising Vietnam war body count and chants of "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?!" the weary Johnson stunned the nation by deciding not to run.
Clinton has no McCarthy-like stalking horse to bruise Obama -- so she can swoop in and pick the carcass. Plus, Obama is not job-weary. Nor is the youth anxious over Afghanistan and Iraq, given the all-volunteer military.
4. The 1980 analogy is even worse.
President Jimmy Carter was challenged from the left. Yet even with the Jack-Bobby-Camelot glow still fairly intense, Ted Kennedy could not unseat a weak incumbent who was disliked and distrusted by his own party. Carter survived a nasty, divisive political convention. Obama's leftist bona fides, however, remain intact.
3. The nostalgic "we're thinking about getting the band back together" thing won't fly.
The FOBs, friends of Bill, now work for Obama or used to or want to. Bill Clinton's former policy advisor, Rahm Emanuel, just finished a stint as Obama's chief of staff. Obama's new chief of staff served as Clinton's secretary of commerce.
2. The media still adore Obama.
They helped him get elected, and they will help him get renominated and then re-elected. Obama, alone among the major Democratic '08 rivals -- and to the delight of the major media -- opposed the "dumb" Iraq War from the start. They remember. Plus, several well-connected "journalists" left their money-losing, dead or dying publications and now work for Obama.
1. Blacks would go absolutely, positively berserk!
The 95 percent black pro-Obama 2008 voting block would crumble if Hillary even attempted to "steal" the presidency from the first (real) black president. If she somehow, some way, managed to win the nomination, blacks wouldn't vote Republican -- but they'd sure stay home.
To summarize: A Clinton challenge to Obama would inflict so much damage and intra-party angst that the Republicans could run Snooky in 2012 -- and win.
So, please, Hillary, do it -- for your country.