Via Breitbart TV, skip ahead to 3:05 for the tasty part. Three months ago this would have been a zero-probability event. Today, with the economy comatose and the world on the precipice of a new European-driven financial crisis? One-percent chance, minimum. Note that Fund’s not talking about a primary challenge here; that would alienate black Democrats and the party would fracture before the general election, so it’s not an option. The only way to dump him and hold the base together would be if he agreed to step down after Democratic chieftains privately appealed to him to do so. And if you believe this Gawker item from a few days ago, there’s reason to think he might consider it. Supposedly The One is so demoralized by his political fortunes that people around him suspect he might be clinically depressed. If things are as bad as that, he might relish the chance to hand his re-election campaign off to someone else (and we all know who “someone else” is) and be rid of the frustration. You can imagine the announcement speech: “I’ve said many times that I’d rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-termer. I think I’ve achieved that in the passage of our landmark new health-care law and our many successes against Al Qaeda. But I promised you after I was sworn in that this economy would recover within three years and, for various reasons, that hasn’t happened. Therefore, I’m announcing tonight…” etc. He goes out on a high note, he sets Hillary up for another historic presidency, and suddenly Democrats are on strong (or stronger) footing for the election — especially given the Clinton legacy of economic boom times. In return, he gets basically whatever he wants from the party leadership. A guarantee, maybe, that he’ll be appointed to the Supreme Court at the first available vacancy? Not the first time that idea’s been floated.
Exit question: Would this “voluntary” refusal to run again really prevent a Democratic schism? Some black Democrats would surely conclude that it wasn’t as voluntary as it seemed. And they’d be right.
Update (Ed): I first asked this question in August. I still think it’s a low-probability outcome, but not a no-probability outcome.