Finally, Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency seems to have come to an end. Her last possible chance at the nomination—decisive Obama losses in Indiana and North Carolina—has gone up in smoke, as Obama crushed her by fourteen points in North Carolina, and Hillary could only squeak out a feeble two point victory in Indiana. Barack Obama is now less than 200 delegates from the nomination. Superdelegates are moving towards him, and party leaders are calling upon Hillary to end her bid. She is finished.
The only thing that remains in doubt is the question of how much longer she will fight on. She claims that she will fight all the way to the convention, apparently in the hope that the superdelegates will experience a mass conversion and flock to her banner. That won’t happen. Unless she is simply bent on helping the Republican cause, she should quit now.
Of course, perhaps she is bent on helping the GOP. When the campaign started, things looked very bad for the Republican Party. They were divided over their candidate, people were extremely dissatisfied with George Bush’s job performance, and the Democrats appeared to have a field of strong, well-liked candidates. Now, the GOP has (kinda) united around one man, the Democrat-controlled Congress has lower approval ratings than Bush, and supporters of each Democrat candidate hate each other. Wonderful.
Hillary can’t take credit for the first two (except for the fact that her Senate performance didn’t do much for its approval rating), but is almost solely responsible for the third.
Hillary never had much momentum in the race for the Democrat nomination—but never quite let Obama land that knockout blow. Had Obama won New Hampshire in the wake of his Iowa victory, he would have sealed the nomination. Hillary won. If he could have won a few more Super Tuesday states, Hillary probably would have been forced to drop out. He couldn’t quite do it. Then came Ohio and Texas—an Obama win in either state would have mortally wounded Clinton. After that came Pennsylvania, and Hillary managed to dodge a bullet one more time.
For quite some time, there has never been any serious doubt that Obama would reach the convention with more delegates than Hillary. But he could never quite deliver that knockout blow. This served to extend the Democrat race, giving Obama time to commit potentially fatal errors, something he is good at.
Really good. First came the Reverend Wright controversy, which revealed that his long-time pastor frequently preached extreme, racially divisive rhetoric from the pulpit. Then came revelations of Obama’s cordial relationship with Bill Ayers, a notorious and unrepentant former terrorist. (And Obama’s claims that Ayer’s terrorist past is far behind him rings http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2001/No-Regrets/false when it is revealed that Ayers posed for a picture five years ago while stomping on the American flag). After that came the “bitter” comments, in which Obama complained that “bitter” flyover country denizens “cling” to religion, racism, and guns. Most recently was Reverend Wright Scandal 2.0, in which Wright expanded on his racist and crazy rantings, forcing Obama to disown him.
These scandals would hurt at any time, but they hit much more deeply while Obama fights Hillary for the nomination. As long as McCain sits on the sidelines waiting for his opponent to be selected, the liberal media cannot simply dismiss such stories as McCain propaganda. Obama is still fighting Hillary, and these stories are framed as pivotal to that race. The media can set aside stories favorable to the conservative McCain. They can’t simply reject stories that would help a fellow liberal like Hillary Clinton.
Hillary’s final contribution to the Republican cause is to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Clinton dynasty. Now, the Family has no base left—they have angered the Democrat netroots, the black liberal population, and those young people who voted for Obama. They will never, ever be able to come to a Joe Lieberman-like rapport with the Republican party. No matter what happens this fall, it is comforting to know that there will never be another Clinton in the White House.