Do the Right Thing, Hillary

Sometime later this month, way down on the Sewanee river -- or somewhere in Tennessee anyway -- a "Draft Hillary" party will take place, replete with red white and blue gingerbread cookies.

I respect and admire Hillary Clinton, and I believe she means well, but this event should strike fear into our hearts. I'm all for having a female president and the Senator might even make a good one, somewhere and someday. The trouble is she can't be elected in 2008. It doesn't matter how many times she teams up with Bill Frist to show how moderate and diplomatic she is. It doesn't matter how often she speaks up for the troops or supports the war. It doesn't even matter how many cadaverous millionaires from the U.S. Senate report that they are finding -- to their surprise! -- that the little lady is a real hard worker and great company.

She can charm the U.S. Senate, but she is not going to win the Nascar dads, nor, probably, their wives. I don't know what her pollsters are smoking, besides dollar bills, but anyone who breathes the air in the red districts knows this to be true.

A lot of the world's troubles stem from the fact that so many people resist doing what they do best. Sen. Clinton is already doing what she does best: working in her lawyerly, focused way, within the U.S. Senate, forging complicated and strange alliances, seeking the moderate line, practicing an arcane craft in which the successful application of an obscure amendment to a piece of legislation that will never pass is considered cause for breaking open the champagne.

Like gay marriage in 2004, "Hillary" is a concept that must be balm to the trembling right-wing heart. Please, let's nip this in the bid. Stop the nonsense now before the only party that can challenge the neocon regime falls apart.

Sen. Clinton should do the right and responsible thing, open up that big campaign war-chest and dump it on someone electable.

Who might that be? Who can best use that mountain of cash? How about the one eligible Democrat who was elected President by a majority of Americans?

Herewith, the Top Ten reasons why Al Gore should be the Democrats' nominee in 2008. Feel free to rearrange, improve upon, add, print and share.

10: My dad, the Midwestern bellwether, thinks Al Gore can win.

9. Gore doesn't pander to the religious vote, and he has forcefully and eloquently spoken out about separation of church and state.

8. He is courageous. Gore has consistently called the current administration out on its radical agenda, extremism and criminality.

7. By 2008, energy conservation will be an American obsession, not just with the so-called liberal "elite." Gore, the public conservationist, drew ridicule talking about it in the days of petrol plenty, sounds pretty smart now.

6. By 2008, global warming will be a mainstream concern. Gore was talking about global warming back when it was still science fiction. He's starring in a movie about it, coming to multiplexes along with "Over the Hedge."

5. The Iraq War will be universally understood to be a disaster by 2008. Gore opposed the Iraq War first among his peers, and forcefully, in 2004.

4. Gore is squeaky clean, untouched by corruption. No lost billing records in his linen closet, no Enron or Abramoff staining his campaign finance reports.

3. He can fight. He seems to have recovered his vitality, after the apparently spirit-draining years in Washington, the U.S. Senate and the vice presidency.

2. We CAN forgive him for selecting Joe Lieberman as his running mate, as long as he doesn't ever do it again.

1. He actually was elected President. If international election monitors had been running the show in 2000, imagine how different the world would look today.

Bonus point: He's related to Gore Vidal. He could make his cousin Secretary of State. Okay. A girl can dream.