During the next Presidential campaign, could we please, please, skip the part, in the fall before the primaries, where we are subjected to a rash of stories about whether one candidate or another is inevitable?

I would have thought that the media might have figured out the stupidity of this back in 2004, when we subjected to an apparently interminable series of articles with titles like “Can Dean Be Stopped?” At the time, I thought: well, duh, of course he can; not a single vote has been cast. And lo: he was, though not by the candidate I would have preferred.

This time round, it happened again. I was astonished, though, to find stories proclaiming her inevitability from 2006 — two years before a single vote had been cast:

“Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner’s decision not to run for president is a telling statement about the Democratic Party, the strength of its liberal wing, and the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination in 2008.”

And here’s one from 2005 saying that yes, in fact, she can be stopped:

“The inevitability campaign now underway demonstrates everything bad about modern American politics.

Two months into George W. Bush’s second term as president, a cadre of Hillary Clinton supporters is trying to lock up the Democratic presidential nomination for New York’s junior senator. One supporter is her husband, former president Bill Clinton, who declares that his wife would make an excellent president. Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware also predicts “she is likely to be the nominee.”

So, case closed? No other Democrats need apply? That is ridiculous.”

Please, just stop it. Let us make up our own minds. If you do, I’ll be so grateful I won’t even mention the pointlessness of stories about polling data from a year before an election.

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