The End? Will Clinton Face the Music (or the Math)?

Yesterday Ben Smith covered reports that Clinton was flying home for the final voting day of the primary season.  Further reports would show that Clinton was shedding her advance staff as well, and while this got some talking that maybe this was the signal to the end, I remained skeptical, as did my colleague, Kathy.

But a Tom Edsall piece at HuffPo which outlines that not only is Clinton calling for her donors and supporters to join her on election night in New York, but that her campaign is also undergoing other changes that indicate a possible end to her primary run, have really ramped up the idea that Clinton’s about to finally cede.

I still remain skeptical.

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.  It’s an expression that’s been oft repeated in recent months, and in some ways creatively added upon (how a bunch of bloggers would come to be so well versed in opera, I’ll never know).  Problem is, this time around the fat lady’s been warming up for so long even she’s beginning to wonder if she missed the curtain call.

To be sure there have been more than a few false signals that have brought us to this day, and for all intents and purposes, my personal fat lady has been warming up since February 28th.  But I’ve long since crossed the point of believing anything anymore when it comes to talk about Clinton bowing out.  I will not believe it until I actually hear the words come out of her mouth, and even then I’m likely to be apprehensive.

Yes, she shed her advance staff, and yes she’s calling for outstanding receipts.  Yes, Bill Clinton really did say that he spent his last day on the campaign trail.  And yeah, for about two seconds Ickes really did appear magnanimous to the Obama campaign.


To that end, after tomorrow night, voters have nothing left to do with the primary campaign.  Advance staff is no longer necessary, and indeed, with Clinton in as much debt as she is in, she’s going to want to slim down to bare bones to try and better her cash situation in case she does win the nomination.  No use waisting money on a campaign that will be idle as she makes her final appeal to the Super Delegates.

Indeed, just as everyone is getting excited about Clinton finally dropping out, Ickes has a conference call swearing that Clinton’s still “in it to win it.”

But here’s another fact to take into consideration.  Obama will cross the 2118 delegate finish line very, very soon.  With that finish line only a little more than forty delegates away, South Dakota and Montana may not be enough to push him over, but it will get him close enough to where just a modest nudge of Super Delegates will do the trick.

And I think we’re going to see much more than a modest nudge.

Chuck Todd promises an Obama flood of Super Delegate support is on its way.  Heading the charge, at least for now, will be House Whip James Clyburn, but I wouldn’t expect his name to be the only big name to drop today or tomorrow.  We’ve got Jimmy Carter (who has remained undeclared but has shown STRONG leanings towards Obama), Al gore, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid).  Indeed, there seems to be a strong consensus among the Super Delegates that this contest should be ended and ended quickly, and most will endorse before the end of the work week.

It appears as though the Obama camp is attempting to have the magic number by the close of business tomorrow, but if not, it should have it well before the end of the week.

Which means there is only one thing left to do; watch Clinton.  If she does not concede within a very short time, 24, 48 hours at the most, of Obama actually crossing the finish line, I think that is as strong an indication as any that she will take her campaign to the convention regardless of what happens.

The line of thinking will be, simply, that Super Delegates can change their votes, and pledged delegates can change their votes, so there’s no reason for her to drop out.

But I’m hoping she doesn’t pull that specific trigger, for our sake and hers.  Up until now, while states were still voting, it was understandable.  Even once it got to be more theater than anything else, there was at least some sanity in letting the voters have their say before declaring a nominee.  But at this point, Clinton carrying on only hinders Obama’s ability to wage a successful campaign against McCain, and it inhibits any attempts at unity.

It will also, most assuredly, end Hillary Clinton’s political career.  Still fighting the good fight before the threshold’s been crossed is one thing, but hanging on with your sole hope of winning the nomination being to poach delegates from your opponent, while at the same time irrevocably poisoning a large chunk of the Democratic base?  It’s both unforgivable, and cannot be allowed to happen.

So it all comes down to this, if she hasn’t delivered a concession speech by the end of this week, she’s not going to; not at the convention, not even when the next president is sworn in.  Okay, that might be a little hyperbolic, but you catch my drift.

More likely, if she does try and take it to the convention, you’re going to see increasingly more blowback from her opponent’s supporters and donors (all one and a half million of them… donors that is), and you’re going to see even more of her less rabid supporters and donors jump ship.  One way or another, Hillary Clinton will be ejected from this race.

Which gives me the last little bit of hope that her concession just might come this week.  If she takes this down to the bitter end, I think her end will ultimately be a sad and lonely one, one in which she continues to leak supporters and donors.  On the other hand, she can leave the race with a fiercely loyal base of support, a cabinet position, some of her debt paid off, and if she can stop the hemorraging of most of her supporters from the party, she can be something of a hero.

In other words, it is better for her to concede now, and things should have gotten to the point where that might be bitter medicine for her, but at least she may realize it’s the best medicine available.

Much more at MemeorandumTaegan Goddard’s …, Marc Ambinder, The Sundries Shack, MOMocrats, Buckeye State Blog, Sister Toldjah, The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room, Real Clear Politics, Top of the Ticket, The Jed Report, OPENERS, Raising Kaine, Outside The Beltway, MyDD, rubber hose, The Raw Story, Talking Points Memo, The Moderate Voice, US Liberal Politics, Minnesota Campaign Report, Washington Wire, The Seminal, Wake up America, Weekly Standard Blog, All Spin Zone, Daily Kos, Comments from Left Field, Political Radar, PoliGazette, The Carpetbagger Report, Open Left, Hot Air, the albany project,, Truthdig, Jack and Jill Politics, Pam’s House Blend and Martini Revolution. Political Radar, Tennessee Guerilla Women, Spin Cycle, The Democratic Daily and AMERICAblogMarc Ambinder, Political Radar and The Carpetbagger Report

4 Responses to “The End? Will Clinton Face the Music (or the Math)?”

  1. bostondreams says:

    She will be fighting on. An easy prediction to make, I know, but I just do not believe that she would be recognizing reality finally.

  2. Steve M. says:

    Your post is pessimistic, and yet you’re more optimistic than I am. I think at a certain point when a course of action becomes a crusade, people lose sight of any likely negative consequence of continuing. I think that’s where the Clintons are now. She won’t concede tonight, and I’m not sure she’ll concede unless Obama gets to the original magic number (2209 or whatever it was). I think the feeling of heroism is so soul-satisfying that she doesn’t really care what happens in the future — and I think she respects McCain enough to only really care about beating him if she gets the satisfaction of doing it. Plus, she sees how the Democrats walk on eggshells around Lieberman, so she knows they’re too spineless to punish her no matter what she does. I think she’s going to go for the “middle option”:

    …suspend her campaign, acknowledging that Obama has crossed the delegate threshold but keeping her options open until the convention in late August.

    At this point, when she’s practically a folk hero in certain precincts, why not?

  3. Hold_That_Tiger says:

    Latest news…both Ickes and McCaulife say it isn’t over. sigh. WHY can’t she see how she is hurting the Party? The contest has been over for weeks now, yet she soldiered on camping out in in States where is might get some purchase (i.e, states with older, whiter demographics), encouraging voters that she could win (even though it is statistically improbable), getting people to vote for her undeniable whiteness, and for a return to Clintonian Governance….skillfully, I’ll admit, she has managed to pivot the watchword this election from “change” to “nostaglia”…despite the fact that the World is very, very different than when Bill was President (the only real turbulance in his Presidency emanated from his moral “failings” and a contentious Congress after “The Republican Revolution.”) I will blame her if McSame wins; I will not buy her obvious stubborn belief that ONLY she could have beat McCain….it reads to me as basically, “If it’s not me, it’s nobody.” IF that is the outcome of this contentious race, she should be rightly shunned by Party elders, but she won’t be, and that is the sorry state of Politcs in America I’m afraid, and will prove that Obama’s idealism was for naught.

  4. DrGail says:

    We all spend so much time reading the tea leaves and parsing every word where Hillary is concerned. I’m getting sick of it, and I know most other people are as well.

    What’s important to point out, I think, is that the largely hands-off attitude of the party leaders (Reid, Pelosi, Dean, et al.) has allowed this to happen.

    I’m not saying they should have come out and declared Obama the winner some months ago — even though that would have been justifiable — but rather that they should have been working pretty aggressively behind the scenes to ensure that the ongoing race was realizing the benefits (lots of attention from the media, oodles of new Democratic voters, etc.) without wallowing in the downsides (the inevitable charges of racism and sexism, the hyperbolic ranting of candidates’ supporters, etc.).

    One thing I’ve learned from all this is that the “old guard” of the party is pretty toothless. The term “circular firing squad” applies to them in spades. While the GOP is known for their ability to close ranks and stay on message, I would dearly love to see the Democratic Party be known for its ability to stand up for its principles regardless of what feces the GOP monkeys throw our way. Instead, we seem to be known for excessive hand-wringing.


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