Why is this newsworthy given that she’s, er, obviously correct? Two reasons. First, McCaskill’s not a “Hillary crony” in the traditional sense. She’s not close to the Clintons; on the contrary, she was so far on the outs with them after endorsing Obama early in 2008 and once saying on “Meet the Press” that she wouldn’t want her daughter near Bill that she ended up on the official Clinton enemies list. There’s a lot of ass to be kissed before her fences are mended with our presumptive next president. McCaskill’s been smooching away for literally years now, endorsing Hillary for president in June 2013 — no typo — and now apparently serving as attack dog against Clinton’s only semi-serious competition in the primary. I wonder how many dirty deeds McCaskill will need to do for Billary over the next 16 months before she’s finally released from the political dungeon. Whoever the GOP nominee ends up being, expect the nice lady from the nice midwestern state to sh*t all over him at every opportunity. Note to Trey Gowdy: If you’re still looking for Hillary’s e-mail server, try McCaskill’s basement. It’s the least she can do.

Second, the fact that ClintonWorld felt obliged to deploy a sitting U.S. senator against Sanders on a show that’s influential in political media proves they’re starting to sweat a bit about Sanders’s rise in Iowa and New Hampshire. Not a lot; not much more than a drop, really. But even one bead of sweat is one more than anyone figured Team Hillary would produce this time around.

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He’s waaaay behind, but 20 percent against a household name with money to burn and a historic personal narrative is nothing to sniff at for a cartoonish old socialist like Sanders, especially when Clinton’s been straining lately to pander to the lefties who are gravitating towards him. Hillary wants to tamp this down, not because she fears that Sanders is going to pull an Obama on her in Iowa but because the better he does, the more blood there is in the water. And blood tends to attract sharks. Ben Domenech:

And just like in 2012, part of this is about voter frustration with the personality vacuum and the “Lie back and think of England” quality to Hillary’s campaign. This presents an opportunity for someone to come in and just neg the situation and get crowds. That’s all Sanders is really doing, and when De Blasio did a tiny amount of it, it set off a storm.

Just think of the list of people who could beat Hillary Clinton easily for the Democratic nomination if they wanted to run, and actually tried. Elizabeth Warren. Oprah. Stephen Spielberg. George Clooney. The cancer lady from ESPN. Michelle Obama. Tim Cook. Patty Murray. Basically every rich tech industry liberal donor except Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, or every Hollywood liberal with a Q rating above zero. This is a long list.

So the question is: why aren’t any of these people running, if only to fill the progressive personality vacuum? There’s no real negative to getting in, making some noise, representing the progressive wing of the party throughout the fall and then taking your lumps come February. Is it that they all really are ready for Hillary, ready to believe in the Clinton machine? Or is it that you just needed to see Bernie Sanders get to 30 percent to wonder if this god still bleeds?

It’s not just that there’s still time for a more formidable candidate like Warren to be lured in by Hillary’s perceived weakness against Sanders. It’s that there’s a whole emperor’s-new-clothes vibe to her candidacy that makes it risky for her to be seen as vulnerable. The best way to distract from the fact that she’s a terrible retail politician is to suggest to voters that they really have no choice so they might as well get excited about her. A primary battle? Forget it. Warren’s not running. There’s no one else, or at least no one who can win. Do you want to go into battle against Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio behind Martin O’Malley? The primaries are over. Plus: First! Woman! President! Don’t you think it’s time? Because if you don’t think it’s time, or more specifically, if you don’t think it’s time to make Hillary Clinton in particular the First! Woman! President! then you’re obviously anti-progress. Can’t you see how exciting this coronation is?

The less time the media spends noticing that she’s actually an awful politician, personally, ethically, and in terms of her long dearth of achievements, the better off she is. A real scare from Sanders in Iowa or New Hampshire would force them to notice.

Update: Gettin’ sweaty out there.