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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hillary isn’t quitting, but maybe she should

The day after Clinton gets schooled in the North Carolina primary, and barely squeaks by in Indiana, The NY Times reports that she’s staying in the race:

With her hopes for fresh political momentum deflated by Tuesday night’s primary results and with signs of mounting financial problems, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton nonetheless vowed on Wednesday to fight on.
Even though pundits say she shouldn’t:

The moment came shortly after midnight Eastern time, captured in a devastatingly declarative statement from Tim Russert of NBC News: “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” he said on MSNBC. “Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”
I prefer Clinton over Obama for reasons I’ve stated before. Still, if I were advising her, I’d advise her to bow out.

Note to Lefties (I’m looking at you, Jay): this does not constitute “concern.” I simply find it an interesting exercise.

Clinton has two options right now: fight on, or concede. If she fights, the longer she fights, the greater the potential for an ugly victory (whichever of them wins) that stays ugly. The longer this goes on, the greater the chance that it hurts Democrats in the general election.

If Clinton fights on and wins the nomination (probably, I’d guess, by getting Florida’s and Michigan’s delegates seated), she has to hope that everybody – and I mean everybody – on the liberal/Democrat side flocks to her banner.

I rather expect they will, but possibly not.

She’d also better win the Presidency, because if she doesn’t, she’ll get blamed. The poisoned nomination process, fractured Democratic Party, chaotic convention and lingering bitterness will have been her fault, at least in the eyes of the base.

But. If she bows out gracefully, she can redeem her reputation with that base – including the Obama supporters. Having conceded, she can either throw herself wholeheartedly behind Obama, or pay lip service and then do nothing, or even work secretly against him

I’d advise the former. She’s got the chance to cast herself as the hero. The Democrat champion who sacrificed her own shot for the good of her Party. That will be remembered four years from now, should Obama lose the general election, and even 8 years from now (while she’s serving as Governor of New York?).

Yes, it's risky. Her window of opportunity may close before she gets another chance. Obama might serve two terms, then get behind Vice President Feingold as the Party's nominee.

But unless she can objectively and definitively conclude that she can win the nomination, and can win the general, giving in now and being the Good Loyal Democrat is probably her best shot at a second shot.