This item from Mike Allen is simply gobstopping:
Hillary Clinton, expecting no major challenge for the Democratic nomination, is strongly considering delaying the formal launch of her presidential campaign until July, three months later than originally planned, top Dems tell Playbook. The delay until summer, from the original April target, would give her more time to develop her message, policy and organization, outside the chaos and spotlight of a public campaign.
Let’s think about this. Hillary Clinton is expecting no competition for the Democratic nomination. When, in the era of primaries, has this ever happened?
The answer is: never. It has never happened. It is unprecedented.
This hardly suggests Hillary Clinton is an overawing candidate. She has strengths, no doubt, but she was beatable eight years ago by an upstart rookie senator from Illinois. She’s beatable today.
What it really suggests is: the Democratic bench is now so thin that the party cannot even give its voters a real choice. At this point, the only three other candidates seriously considering the race are: Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor who is decidedly lackluster; Jim Webb, the quirky one-term senator who -- oh by the way! -- used to work in the Reagan Administration (Democratic voters will love that); and Bernie Sanders, who does not even call himself a Democrat (he’s a socialist).
Why are the only three challengers such fourth-raters? Peruse the sitting governors who are Democrats. Don’t worry, it won’t take you very long. You’ll see that none of them could be serious contenders. They either hail from small states, were just recently elected, were barely reelected, or are quirky/problematic.
Now take a gander at the party’s Senate caucus. If you squint really hard you might imagine some of them could be presidential material, but not really. The overwhelming majority are too old, too dull, too new, or barely won reelection. Elizabeth Warren is the only exception out of these 45 senators, and she looks like she is not going to run.
The media, in their relentless focus on the micro-political cycle (not to mention their eager cheerleading for the Democrats), are representing the party as being in a strong position. “Obama is up in the polls (a little bit)! Hillary is going to raise lots of money! They’re back!”
But look past those two, and you see precious little in terms of quality would-be candidates. On an aggregate level -- combining House, Senate, state governments -- the Democrats have not been so weak since 1928.
That is why Hillary Clinton can hold off until July. Basically, the entire Democratic party is now the Obama/Hillary vanity project -- and Obama is term-limited. So, why shouldn’t she wait? It’s not quite right to say it is “smart politics” for her not to campaign; it is better to say what campaign is she supposed to engage in? A campaign implies that there is more than one person worthy of consideration. The Democrats appear institutionally incapable of offering that.
Jay Cost is a staff writer for the Weekly Standard. He is the author of A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption, to be published by Encounter Books on February 10.