Where is Sam Nunn now that Barack Obama really needs him? Former Sen. Nunn's endorsement and support were fine for the primary. Obama swept Georgia, which might have happened anyway. Nunn hasn't been heard from much since he publicly joined the Obama parade. But his presence has not been needed in his candidate's string of triumphs.
Now comes the hard part for Obama - what to do now that Hillary Clinton is presumed to be history in the 2008 presidential contest. Obama desperately needs guidance from such a graybeard as Nunn. Of course, Clinton is still technically hanging in there, but the delegate math just doesn't work, even if the total count finally includes Michigan and Florida. Some insiders say Clinton hopes to win enough superdelegates to remain afloat.
A onetime superdelegate tells me that poor Hill may as well forget harnessing superdelegates.
"If superdelegates do anything, they will get behind Obama. Reliance on superdelegates coming to the rescue was futile anyway. Superdelegates are followers, not leaders," says our ex-superdelegate who demands to remain anonymous.
Even if Clinton makes magic and finally gets enough total delegates to grab the nomination from Obama, she will lose. African-American voters will be so alienated that they won't vote in November. Clinton cannot win the presidency without massive support from black voters.
Oddsmakers suggest Obama cannot win the presidency at all, despite his spectacular come-from-nowhere primary victories. Nunn surely knows that the White House is not in the cards for Obama in 2008.
Watch what happens now that the primaries are all but over.
Obama will be swamped by new leakages of inflammatory material from the Rev. Jeremiah P. Wright's portfolio of "Oppressive America" essays. What we have heard from Wright in the primary season will sound like nursery rhymes compared to the rhetoric that Republicans are ready to roll out about Obama's former preacher. GOP operatives also will plant additional reports of Obama's connections to shady figures in Chicago.
The lead candidate and most likely nominee will quickly find himself in deep trouble again and sinking quickly. What should he do?
Here's one possible route out of the quagmire. Obama's closest advisers say it's time for a powwow with old-hand politicians to chart a new course for the campaign. Obama agrees and a set-down is convened.
Here is what Nunn or some other adult Democrat might tell him:
"Look at the facts. You cannot win the presidency in 2008, but you can be elected vice president and then president in 2012 if Clinton doesn't make it. Or perhaps in 2016 against a Republican. Becoming the presidential nominee and losing in 2008 is another story. Historically, Democrats seldom give their losing nominee a second chance. As the VP nominee, you would enjoy status and maybe even front-running status going into 2012 to challenge McCain - or possibly an open seat since McCain is old.
"Remember, voters don't have much enthusiasm for John McCain. Polls and recent special elections show voters don't much care for Republicans anywhere, except in the Deep South.
"The best Republicans can hope for is that their turnout does not go down. Realistic Republicans know they cannot expect their voter turnout to exceed 2004 levels. Republican turnout was on the rise nationally in 2002 and then again in 2004. In 2006, it went flat across the country, rising again only in Georgia. Slippage is in the cards this year. Check your gas pump and grocery bills if you don't believe it.
"No matter what else is said about you, Sen. Obama, or your friends, you continue to enjoy enthusiastic support from African Americans, young voters and the latte crowd.
"You may actually improve on John Kerry's numbers in Georgia four years ago, not that you have any chance of winning the Peach State.
"The most troublesome question for you is this: Can the increase in Democratic voters trump the flatline/decrease in Republican votes in the swing states? Don't forget those lickings you took in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Is rural Ohio much different from rural Georgia? Is exurban Pittsburgh any different from Cherokee County?"
This set-down scenario may be a flight of fantasy. No one could really expect the ever-cautious Nunn to take a public lead in advising a liberal Democrat on political strategy, though Nunn has worked quietly behind the scenes with Obama on defense and foreign policy issues. Right now, however, Obama could use a big helping of bitter-tasting political medicine, if he is really interested in gaining the White House one of these days.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 2520, Kennesaw, GA 30156, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit him on the Web at billshipponline.com.