Silly me. I've been grousing that maybe Bernie would do something colossally stupid and pull a 3rd party Ralph Nader stunt, when all this time I should have been keeping an eye on former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb as the agent of rodent fornication.
When Jim Webb quit the Democratic presidential race on Oct. 20 amid low poll numbers and a minimal debate presence, the former Virginia senator left open the possibility he'd return for a White House run in a different political guise. Now he appears to be edging closer to making good on it.
On Saturday morning, Webb used Twitter and his Facebook page to attack Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for her handling of Libya during her time as secretary of state.
The lengthy condemnation on Facebook, which said, among other things that "Clinton should be called to account for her inept leadership that brought about the chaos in Libya," came just days before the end of the year, which his team had previously told CNN would be reasonable time for them to make a decision about an independent bid.
Since dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination, Webb has continued to maintain his Webb2016 website, which he has updated with posts about the possibilities of an independent run. On Twitter, he and his fans have been promoting a #WebbNation hashtag.
A run by Webb, who often manages his own social media accounts and has also used them recently to promote a petition in favor of his run and to deliver kudos to Bernie Sanders in his battles with the Democratic National Committee ("nothing more than an arm for the Clinton campaign," Webb tweeted), could further complicate the already unpredictable 2016 election.
While observers typically have analyzed the prospect of a third-party or independent run by Republican front-runner Donald Trump — or even one from Sanders — Webb could still alter the dynamics of the race even with his smaller profile.
A recent CNN poll, for instance, forecast tight races between Clinton and several Republican contenders in hypothetical match-ups for the general election. Webb's campaign has told Bloomberg it would concentrate on mobilizing voters in the ideological middle, along with people who have become dissatisfied with politics.
In a tight race, even a small base of support could make him a factor. Ralph Nader, for instance, famously won only small percentages of the vote in many states in the 2000 presidential election, yet that arguably helped tip the Electoral College vote to then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, denying Democratic Vice President Al Gore, the winner of the popular vote, the presidency.
Unlike Trump's whining about going third party, Webb is already out of the race. For him to start attacking Clinton like this after departing the field is bad from, but to do so while using assaults lifted from the GOP playbook makes it clear he's trying to hand the country over to the Republicans and that he expects something in return.
No, this is truly odious, and it's too bad Jim Webb is ending his career like this.