Allahpundit already mentioned the fact that Cokie Roberts was whispering about determining a possible replacement for Hillary Clinton, but as of yesterday the whispering came fully out of the closet. The realization has dawned that even if the Democrats wanted to – or had to – do it, they still don’t know exactly how that would work. Now a former DNC Chairman is coming out in the open and saying they need to be ready with a plan today, not weeks later when it could be too late.

A former Democratic National Committee chairman says President Barack Obama and the party’s congressional leaders should immediately come up with a process to identify a potential successor candidate for Hillary Clinton for the off-chance a health emergency forces her out of the race.

“Now is the time for all good political leaders to come to the aid of their party,” said Don Fowler, who helmed the DNC from 1995 to 1997, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and has backed Hillary Clinton since her 2008 presidential bid. “I think the plan should be developed by 6 o’clock this afternoon.”

Fowler said he expects Clinton to fully recover from her bout with pneumonia, which forced her to leave a Sept. 11 memorial event early and cancel an early-week fundraising swing. But he said the Democratic Party would be mistaken to proceed without a contingency plan.

One can only imagine how much Hillary’s blood is boiling to see these conversations taking place inside her own party in a very public way while she’s still ordering new carpeting for the Oval Office. But you can’t blame the rest of the Democrats for wanting to have a Plan B in place even as they stay busy assuring the media that it would never happen. Could they pull it off right now if they had to? How about after the debates are already underway?

I wrote last month about the possible mechanics of replacing Clinton this late in the game, and it appears that it’s still absolutely possible under the law, but man… it would be ugly. Even if you started today, nothing can change some of the early votes which have already been cast. There are questions as to whether the ballots in a number of states could still be changed and those issues will only loom larger as the weeks tick by. In the end, of course, it could come down to the members of the Electoral College, who can vote for whomever they like even if they face some minor repercussions from faithless elector laws. If there’s a replacement candidate in place but people mark ballots for Clinton, they could switch their vote to the replacement. (It’s happened at least nine times before.)

When AP talked about it he suggested that the Democrats would want Hillary out before the debates if there was going to be a change made, if only to give the replacement time to establish their brand and get a different name on the ballots where possible. But barring some truly catastrophic medical event or tragedy, that’s not going to happen. Keep in mind that nobody can take Hillary off the ticket except Hillary. Does anyone honestly think she’s going to voluntarily step aside this close to the finish line, even if there were something horribly wrong with her physically? She’s been working toward putting her name on the list of presidents pretty much since her days at Yale. This is just a gut level impression, obviously, but I’m confident that even if Clinton knew that her time on this Earth wasn’t going to last past February, she’d still keep it under wraps and allow herself to be sworn in just to achieve that goal.

But none of this stops the Democrats from doing what Fowler is suggesting. They may indeed want to have a plan in place just to be on the safe side, and now is clearly the time to settle the matter. A failure to do so would be irresponsible. And while we’re on the subject, the Republicans might want to make sure they have something in place as well because barely a week goes by without some nutjob threatening to take Trump out.

hillary-cough