The Telegraph reports that aides to Al Gore are busily floating a trial balloon of a potential smoke-filled room "compromise" that would give the Democratic presidential nomination to none other than Al Gore.
The opening has emerged because opinion polls show Mr McCain stretching his lead over both Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton, whose campaigns are engaged in a daily cycle of attacks, character assassination and mutual recriminations on religion, race and the economy.
Between a quarter and a third of Obama and Clinton supporters say that they would not now vote for the other in November.
The prospect of a new Gore candidacy was raised last week in Time magazine by Joe Klein, the doyen of American political writers, and discussed on the main cable news networks, CNN, Fox and MSNBC.
If neither Mr Obama nor Mrs Clinton has the 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination, and if both appear unable to beat Mr McCain, under one scenario a group of about 100 party elders – the "super-delegates" – could sit out the first ballot in Denver, preventing either candidate winning outright, and then offer Mr Gore the nomination for the good of the party.
So, the two candidates would cheerfully surrender to a man who has not lifted a finger during the entire campaign for either of them or for the Democratic party itself. Did Gore withhold his endorsement hoping for the nomination? Quite possibly. If I were a backer of either of the two candidates, I would be furious if a bunch of party insiders threw my choice under the bus for such a cold, calculating and selfish man. Gore has enough baggage – and enough history of America-bashing remarks in the years since he lost the 2000 election to make his candidacy very iffy at best – especially with only a couple of months to do it in.
I can't see either Obama or Clinton agreeing to be the second banana on the ticket, either. So a Gore candidacy would likely be seen as even more of a smoke-filled room deal. I think the Democrats have actually found a scenario that makes it even worse for them than it already is, bless them.