In recent weeks, Sen. Clinton has been steadily lengthening her lead over the other declared candidates for the Democratic nomination -- notably Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards, not to mention lesser lights. One after another, leading Democratic politicians have publicly endorsed her, which is the surest possible sign that they believe she has the nomination wrapped up.
Up to now, Gore has played a waiting game, refusing to announce his candidacy. Pretty clearly, he felt that his chance would come only if Clinton "stumbled" in some way, and he was probably right. But what has ratcheted up the torment of his situation is the worldwide acclaim that has resulted from his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize. This has, in pure public-relations terms, seemed so obviously the penultimate achievement of his life -- one to be topped, but somehow almost inevitably topped, by the presidency.
Alas, it is not to be. I have already seen op-ed pieces arguing that Gore would be a far stronger Democratic candidate than Clinton -- vastly more experienced, just for one thing. And no doubt there will be all sorts of Draft Gore petitions and Draft Gore rallies. But the Clinton Express is coming down the track, and its aura of inevitability is more than powerful enough to sweep away all rational arguments against it. Besides (it will be argued), say what you will, Al Gore had his chance. Hillary deserves hers. It's as simple as that.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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