Two weeks ago, I predicted on Sascha’s blog that Hillary Clinton would do the right thing and quit after the races that are taking place tomorrow. Now I’m not so sure.
At first I thought Clinton’s continuing swagger was just bluster, that she was just putting on her game face for her people – all that “in it to win it” talk which was totally unrealistic – I figured she was playing the classic pol’s game of saying you’re fighting to the finish even when you’re preparing your concession speech.
But Hillary just won’t lay off. As we’ve gotten closer to tomorrow’s final two primaries, she has increased the tough talk instead of dialing it down and realizing the obvious. In an email on May 29th, she wrote:
In a national head-to-head match and in the critical swing states, the numbers show I’m the best candidate to take back the White House for Democrats… We can win the nomination if we extend our popular vote lead, and that means putting everything we have into the final races.
Clinton has consistently shown that she is willing to tear Obama down to grab the nomination for herself. Her top man Harold Ickes was on Meet the Press on Sunday, showing just how ungraceful the campaign can be. When Tim Russert asked if Clinton would support Obama should he win the nomination, Ickes replied, “We expect to win the nomination.”
“That wasn’t the question,” replied Russert.
“Well, that’s the answer,” said Ickes. What a class act.
The most onerous falsehood that the Clinton camp is pushing is this nonsense about being ahead in the popular vote. As she wrote yesterday, “More than 17 million people have cast their ballots for our campaign, more votes than any candidate has received in the history of the Democratic Party.” Yes, well, except one, Mrs. Clinton: your opponent. Her entire premise relies on the long odds that no one in all of Michigan supports Obama. Is she serious? Oh, yes. It’s disturbing.
Clinton is now going to argue that because she has won “more votes,” she deserves to be the party’s candidate. Nevermind the rules, which state that winners are declared by having the most delegates. Hillary would gladly change the rules in the middle of the game, so long as it ensured her winning.
The question now becomes: What will she do after tomorrow, when her hopes of winning this thing out in the open are dead in the water? Will she bow out gracefully and start working for Barack? Or will she send her minions into the fray to appeal every last committee ruling and lobby every last superdelegate, slashing and burning her way through the party in hopes of a pyrrhic victory? I fear the latter.