Sigh. Since the spin levels today coming out of the Clinton camp are reaching Iraq war proportions, let’s take a moment to review. As I said on Monday and several times before, Sen. Clinton had a very tough task before her last night. Unfortunately for her candidacy, she failed to accomplish it. The Clinton campaign did not “turn a corner” last night, unless you mean they’ve now rounded the corner to oblivion. Let’s assess Sen. Clinton’s post-March 4th position by her own standard, before we collectively sign on to the notion that the Clinton “surge” is suddenly working: (Via David Plouffe on Monday.)
“This election will come down to delegates…After March 4th, over 3000 delegates will be committed, and we project that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be virtually tied with 611 delegates still to be chosen in Pennsylvania and other remaining states…As history shows, the Democratic nomination goes to the candidate who wins the most delegates – not the candidate who wins the most states.” — Mark Penn, February 13, 2008. (Well, he’s right about the delegates. But it’s March 5th, and they’re not tied. And Sen. Obama has won the most delegates and the most states.)
“We think that at the end of the day on March 4 we will be within 25 delegates.” — Clinton aide Guy Cecil, February 13, 2008. (They’re not. They’re down at least four times that.)
“I Think We Will Be Ahead In The Delegate Race After Texas And Ohio.” — Howard Wolfson, February 11, 2008. (They’re not. They’re down big.)
None of these happened. While the numbers are still being crunched, it looks like Sen. Clinton picked up between 4 and 10 pledged delegates last night (depending on how the Texas caucus ultimately comes out.) She was down approximately 150 pledged delegates, and there are not enough contests left for her to feasibly make up that difference. Ohio and Texas were her last, best hope to turn things around, and — in spite of all the sorry Republicanisms of the past week — she failed to do so. As such, the race is now effectively over. Finished. Kaput. In the fridge. Our nominee is Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
True, some news outlets are tipping their hat to the mathematical reality today: Fournier at AP, Dickerson at Slate, the Wash Post and the New York Times. But, since all too many (ostensibly Clinton-hating) media outlets seem to be playing the idiot and rolling with her “comeback” spin today, I’ll try to explain it using a sports metaphor. Obama is up 34-7 in the fourth quarter. Clinton just scored a touchdown. The score is now 34-14, but now there’s only 2 minutes left and Obama has the ball. For all intent and purposes, he can just take a knee and run out the clock. (Not that I suggest he do so. Since the other team is playing dirty, we might as well run up the score.) Or, since we’ve been talking knockout punches of late, Obama failed to land one last night, true. But he’s way up on points and will clearly win the decision. Clinton needed to score her own knockout last night. Unfortunately, for her, she didn’t connect.
Now, some might argue, “What’s the rush?” Why not just let the Clinton campaign continue to send dispatches from their make-believe world until the convention in September? Well, that might’ve been acceptable if Sen. Clinton had chosen to go the amiable, Huckabee route. But, she hasn’t. Rather, she’s been trying to make Obama bleed, and has now — as if her credibility wasn’t already at rock-bottom — donned the fearmongering and national security wardrobe of the Bush-Cheney GOP. In effect, she is now basically acting as a McCain surrogate. Since we can only expect her to continue this behavior for as long as we indulge her delusional fantasy that she can be the nominee, despite all evidence to the contrary, it is time for the Democratic party to collectively put its foot down.
So, to sum up, the race is over. And, since Sen. Clinton will not withdraw gracefully, or do anything that might put the good of the party before her own desperate ambitions, it is now up to the supers to force her out. Every day they wait is another day our chances in the general election are threatened, merely for the sake of assuaging the vanity of an also-ran who is “drawing dead” and has conducted a truly terrible campaign.
Whatsmore, despite her grasping this morning, Sen. Clinton will not be on either end of the Democratic ticket this year. In fact, now that she’s in the process of destroying any likelihood of her being Senate Majority Leader, the closest she’ll get to the White House anytime soon is if President Obama is charitable enough to let her on a Health Care Task Force of some kind. (Although, a word of warning, Mr. President-to-be: She ran the last attempt at health care reform right into the ground.)