Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Clinton’s Nuclear Options

There was speculation that Hillary Clinton’s combative speech last night was intended to secure a place for her either on the presidential ticket in November or in Obama's cabinet.

On the other hand, others opined that Clinton simply needed time to end things at her own pace and that in a couple of days she will do right thing and concede the nomination to Senator Obama.

Hillary Clinton supporters proffered a third explanation for her refusal to concede to Barack Obama last night: last night had to be Clinton’s night. I thought that was incredible and Jeffrey Toobin’s reaction as a panelist on CNN was priceless:

CNN’s pundits, on the other hand, were pretty much agog. Gloria Borger related an email from a Hillary supporter explaining why she had not conceded her loss or endorsed Obama: “This needed to be her night,” she quoted. To her left, Jeffrey Toobin’s jaw pretty much hit the desk—”What?!” he interjected, suggesting that the night arguably belonged to the candidate who, you know, won, then going on to rant about “the deranged narcissism of the Clintons.”

This narcissism can have very dangerous implications. The more insidious explanation for Clinton’s refusal to throw in the towel is that she is seriously taking the nomination to the convention. In the weeks leading up to the convention she will make her case to the delegates yet again (as she did last night): that she has a better chance at beating Senator John McCain and that they should cast their votes in her favor. The primaries be damned. The rules be damned. The party be damned. This is Hillary’s moment in history and the rest of the world just has to see things her way. After she praised herself in her speech last night, she has asked her supporters to email her and to tell her what she should do. She will take 18 million email messages to the delegates and tell them that that the last few months has been a mistake and that she really should be the party’s nominee.

If she is unable to change the minds of the delegates, she has one last option to see her dream come true: she can run as an independent in November. Considering what we have seen so far, this option is quickly becoming a frightening possibility. She will not win of course and neither will Barack Obama. She will have handed the presidency to John McCain. But that seems to be the least of her concerns.

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