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Posted by on Mar 5, 2008 in At TMV | 30 comments

Sorry Hillary, But It’s Over Bar the Shouting

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Despite her primary wins yesterday, Hillary Clinton faces insurmountable odds against having enough convention delegates to win the nomination unless she resorts to destructive backroom arm twisting and dirty dealing to try to get over the top.

While Clinton is right to declare that it’s not over until it’s over, she did recapture some of her base in yesterday’s contests and her showing in Ohio was impressive, it is indeed over. The sooner that she can fashion a graceful exit the better that she, the Democratic Party and those of us already asking hard questions about a Barack Obama-John McCain showdown will be.

That means no more negative ads or funny photos of her opponent wearing native garb. No more moving the goalposts. No more whining about the news media being unfair. No more making excuses for a sclerotic campaign management that thought grassroots organizing was for sissies and seemed to be the last to realize that this was not the year to run like an incumbent.

The turning point in Clinton’s campaign was in the run-up to the South Carolina primary on January 19 when her husband and other race-baiting surrogates unleashed a backlash that reverberated far beyond that state, vividly contrasting the campaigns of a dirty-dealing Washington insider and a fresh-faced outsider.

Clinton cannot afford to stay above the fray now that she has taken away some of Obama’s momentum and we can expect the insider and her helpmate husband to arm twist and dirty deal — which of course is such a big part of what the Bush administration has been all about — in the coming weeks as she tries to stay alive through to the big Pennsylvania primary on April 22. Maybe if things get really ugly the Supreme Court (cough, cough) can decide the nomination.

As it it was, yesterday’s four primaries (and the wacko add-on caucus in Texas) were somewhat anticlimactic because Clinton needed to win big everywhere and did not.

Obama entered the day with 1,378 delegates and pledged superdelegates for a 152 delegate lead over Clinton, and when the sun came up this morning he had 1,477 delegates and pledged superdelegates for an 86 delegate lead, according to The Associated Press, and that lead may grow when all the Texas caucus results are in. In fact, some number crunchers are predicting that Clinton’s net gain for the day may be as few as 10 delegates.

Clinton’s victories in Ohio and Texas would seem to further cement her argument that she can win the big states, but the Democratic nominee has the inside track on doing that in November anyway.

Whether you use the Slate Delegate Calculator or throw the I Ching, Clinton will have to win the 16 remaining contests, including the biggie in Pennsylvania, by whopping margins. That would be a turnaround very hard to imagine at this late date even if the news media is finally turning its guns on Obama.

As it is, Obama can again widen his delegate lead after the next two stops on the campaign trail — Wyoming (18 delegates), where he has a superior grassroots organization that will flood that state’s caucuses on Saturday, and Mississippi (44 delegates) next Tuesday with a predominately black electorate. And delegate allocation rules in Pennsylvania (188 delegates), where Clinton doesn’t even have a full slate of delegates, favor Obama.

Meanwhile, congrats to John McCain.

Take the time to enjoy the glow of victory, because it is improbable that you will have that feeling in November unless the Democrats beat themselves to a pulp.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, Sarabeth at 1115.org poses an interesting question: What if Clinton wins the aggregate popular vote total, which Obama leads by less than a million votes after yesterday’s contests?

This could have substantial bearing on who the superdelegates should and would support.

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