Make no mistake: I like Hillary. I think she’s a bright woman with considerable talent who has been famously ill-used by the political media in this country for nearly two decades. I also think she has a bright future in the Senate for as long as she wants to stick around, and would in fact be an ideal figure as Senate Majority Leader, displaying a degree of testicular (uterine?) fortitude that Harry Reid seems tragically incapable of.
However, at this point, I think the writing is on the wall, and it says that the Clinton goose is well and truly cooked. I think she has been failed in spectacular fashion by the gang of idiots running her campaign; the fact that they misread the delegate allocation process in Texas and nearly failed to submit a full slate of delegates in Pennsylvania suggests only one conclusion: the Clinton brain trust never had a Plan B. There was no consideration of what might happen after Super Duper Mega Donkey Collider Tuesday, and now that the nomination is still in play, they’ve fallen back on the worst of all possible solutions: the Rove offense. This is tantamount to going into the locker room down 30 at the half and coming out for the third quarter in the wishbone.
The Rove offense is predicated on two things: the perception of inevitability (shot to hell) and the ability to suppress undecided and independent voters, usually with massive waves of negativity, in order to magnify the impact of the activist base. Now, what any moron who made at least a B in PSCI 101 should be able to tell you is this:
1) Primaries are overwhelmingly contested by activist voters; by definition, anybody who turns out to vote in a primary is almost certainly motivated and non-neutral.
2) Polling demonstrates that going into Feb. 5, roughly three-quarters of each Democratic candidate’s supporters would be happy to have the OTHER candidate as the nominee, which suggests that attempting to drive up the opponent’s negatives is an uphihll fight (not to mention tremendously counter-productive for the general election).
3) Therefore, running the Rove offense at this stage of a binary primary fight is the sign of a drooling moron who should probably be in care, not at the helm of a major campaign. QEMFD.
(There’s only one thing you need to know, really: on the eve of the DC-MD-VA primary, the first big battle after Feb. 5, Clinton’s go-to political maven Mark Penn was…doing a book reading in New York City, thus displacing Doug Feith for the title famously bestowed by Gen. Tommy Franks: “the stupidest f!!!-ing guy on the face of the Earth.”)
Look, I feel for Hillary, I really do. She was basically coming in hobbled from the beginning: by a political press stuck in 10th grade, by 16 years as the highest evil in the Republican mythos, even by a Democratic party who saw her as the one thing that would unite a depressed and fractured GOP and therefore a general-election liability. And there’s a very real chance that if the Democrats win, it will be 2016 before there’s another contested primary for the D’s, at which point she will be 68 years old. It’s not right, it’s not fair, and it’s not good, but there’s no getting around it: Hillary Clinton, fifteen years removed from the White House and pushing 70, will be past her sell-by date as a Presidential candidate. If it’s going to happen, it had to be this year, and at this point, derailing the frontrunner would require a live broadcast of Barack Obama waterboarding a kitten while pouring buckets of motor oil onto a burning Prius and going to third base with Ann Coulter.
So that’s it. At this point, all the Clinton campaign can do is hobble Obama for the general election. (Although it’s possible that another 10-point win for Obama in Texas and/or Ohio would only make him look more powerful, so who knows.) Meanwhile, the Obama campaign looks more and more like one of those running backs who hits the line harder every quarter than the last.
God knows I would love to put off the general election circus – eight months of this is bound to be even worse than last time – but at this point, we’ve got the matchup. Apologies to Clinton, Huckabee, Ron Paul and anyone else who’s still hanging on, but there’s only two seats on the ship, and it’s leaving port.