When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign chairman gave an interview to CityBeat in late February, he assured our readers the political battle between her and Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination would be resolved by June and wouldn't spill over into the party's convention later in the summer.
"(I)f we win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, we'll win the nomination," said Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton confidante who also was the one-time leader of the Democratic Party.
Apparently, mathematics isn't one of McAuliffe's strengths.
“My best guess is this will be done in June, well before the convention. It’s in all of our best interests to resolve this,” McAuliffe conceded back then.
But in the ever-changing psyche of the Clinton campaign, that might no longer hold true. Some of her campaign staffers have told party leaders they may try to nab the nomination by lobbying the credentials committee at the Denver convention in August.
“The super-delegates have to decide who is the best candidate to take on John McCain,” McAuliffe told The Washington Post today.
It’s just one in a series of reversals by Clinton and her strategists. To hear them tell it last month, the race was all about delegates. Last week that shifted to "electability." Now — with a bruising defeat in North Carolina and a razor-thin victory in Indiana yesterday — it’s all about seating the Michigan and Florida delegates.
Polls show that the manufactured outrage over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, which got a lot of traction in the media partially through some behind-the-scenes nudging by Clinton’s campaign, didn’t hurt Obama much. In fact, voters say they’re more upset with McCain’s ties to President Bush than Obama’s ties to Wright.
A telling sign of Clinton’s desperation is her recent condescending and shameless pandering to the political right and working class voters. From ill-considered remarks about “obliterating” Iran with nuclear weapons if necessary to her backing of a gas tax holiday concept first proposed by McCain and calling economists “elite experts” who should be ignored, Clinton probably will wake up one morning after the campaign is over and be deeply embarrassed.
Only six primaries remain, the last held on June 3. With Clinton expected to win in Kentucky, Puerto Rico and West Virginia and Obama pegged to win in Montana, Oregon and South Dakota, Obama likely will retain his lead in pledged delegates. With each passing day, he also picks up more super-delegates, and some have defected from Clinton to Obama.
Perhaps Clinton is now facing a harsh truth: She has virtually no chance to get the nomination. Since yesterday, she's cancelled several scheduled TV appearances and her campaign is out of cash. It was recently revealed she’s pumped $11.4 million of her own money into the race so far.
Clinton’s husband — former President Bill Clinton, who’s been a huge liability for her on the campaign trail — is generally a smart politician. Given his constipated look while standing behind the senator as she spoke last night in Indianapolis, Bill must privately sense that the handwriting is on the wall about her dismal prospects.
It’s time for Clinton to salvage some dignity and credibility and drop out of the race.
— Kevin Osborne