Not long ago the talk was about how Obama was having a bad month, but things certainly began to turn around as I noted a few days ago. Suddenly the news is all coming out looking bad for Clinton, often because of foolish moves on her part.
I’ve already mentioned how she has resorted to taking advantage of the Jeremiah Wright issue by attacking Obama here and here. Having been caught in a big lie over Bosnia certainly didn’t help either. As a result of this and other bad news David Brooks has changed the odds on Clinton:
Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she’s probably down to a 5 percent chance.
Let’s take a look at what she’s going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we’ll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we’ll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We’ll have campaign aides blurting “blue dress” and only-because-he’s-black references as they let slip their private contempt.
For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.
Five percent. Chuck Todd looks at the math. First he makes his projections on the remainder of the elected delegates and then estimates how many of the super delegates each candidate would have to pick up to still manage to win. He estimates that “Obama would need 34% of the uncommitted superdelegates to hit the magic 2024 number, while Clinton would need 72% of the uncommitted Supers to hit 2024.”
If Clinton can’t even win this with the super delegates any more, it looks like she is going back to the idea of going after the pledged delegates:
I just don’t think this is over yet, and I don’t think that it is smart for us to take a position that might disadvantage us in November. And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged. You know, there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They’re just like superdelegates.
Most people realize that Clinton has lost the opportunity to win the nomination cleanly, but that will not stop her. Her strategy is now being referred to as the Tonya Harding strategy:
l just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.
The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it’s not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.
The question is — what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?
What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?
She will have to “break his back,” the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.
“Her securing the nomination is certainly possible – but it will require exercising the ‘Tonya Harding option.'” the official said. “Is that really what we Democrats want?”
At least there is hope that the Democratic Party leadership might not let her continue this indefinitely. Harry Reid has suggested that the race will be resolved before the election:
No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.
Unfortunately it is doubtful that anything will be done until after the last states vote, giving John McCain the advantage for several more weeks.