Over the past two weeks, Hillary has adopted the advice of Republican, neo-con luminary William Kristol. In his analysis of the Dem race in the aftermath of Wisconson, Kristol, appearing on Fox News, suggested that HRC's only chance was to "go after" Obama on his fitness to be Commander-In-Chief. He said, "she needs to use a good dose of fear." Over the past week Hillary has done so with tactical brilliance and strategic blindness.
She has coupled going hard negative on national security, the NAFTA memo, and Rezko, with a claim to be the victim of media bias. This media bias claim has worked very well. On one hand, it has kept pressure on the media to go after Obama on the NAFTA memo and the Rezko case. On the other hand, it has kept the media from effectively calling Hillary on just how negative her campaign has become. There are several indications that this tactical coupling may be enough to give Clinton the narrow victory she needs to justify staying in the race, however this tactical manuevering can do little to change the basic strategic realities:
HRC has almost no chance to overcome Obama's pledged delegate lead. The only way Hillary can win the nomination is to continue going negative in the remaining primary states while simultaneously trying to overturn the will of the rank and file through a combination of superdelegates, and through a last minute rule change to seating the MI and FL delagations even though she has previously agreed to the DNC'c sanctions.
The basic reality is this, although this strategy does have a slim possibility of success, HRC will have to tear the party apart to win in this manner. If this is the only way she can win, it will not be worth having.
The most likely outcome of the Clintons tactical manuevering is to increase the level of bitterness in the party, waste time and money that could be spent on preparing for the fall campaign, and damage Obama who will likely emerge as the Dem candidate no matter what Clinton tries.
If she does manage to win by seating the MI and FL delegations, she will win by loosing. Millions of voters including AAs, young voters, and progressives are not going to accept the outcome of such a process. She will be the head of a dispirited and fractured party that has alientaed its young voters and enraged a substantial portion of its own base. Many will stay home, many will vote for Nader, many will vote vfor McCain. Because she begins with nearly 50% of the voters unwilling to support her, Hillary can ill afford to loose any of the Dem base. It is hard to imagine that she could win under such a scenario.
Unless Hillary wins by large enough margins tonight that she has a legitimate chance to at least win the overall popular vote, we can only hope that the party leadership will quickly close ranks around Obama.
I realize that many are extremely passionate in their support for Hillary, but a realistic assessment of the current strategic situation suggest that she can only hope to win the nomination under circumstances that make it improbable that she could win in the fall. Dems cannot afford a repeat of 1968. Dems cannot afford to loose. The country cannot afford four more years of a failed economic policy and four more years of war.
If we care about our party and our country, it is time to tell Senator Clinton that it is time to let go. We will have a woman President soon, it just isn't going to happen this year. Continuing to try will only damage our party and end in failure.