Is the End in Sight?

[Update: Associated Press — Obama clinches the nomination.]

There is much speculation that by this time tomorrow Barack Obama will have enough delegates to claim the Dem nomination. There is also much speculation that Hillary Clinton will, finally, concede the race and support Barack Obama.

Regarding the latter: I’m not holding my breath.

Ben Smith writes that Clinton aides are rallying donors and telling them the fight isn’t over until August. Senator Clinton’s behavior in recent weeks has been so toxic there’s no way she publicly can support Obama without revealing herself to be an utterly cynical hypocrite. Some of her supporters are whipped up into such a frenzy of Obamaphobia they’re likely to turn against Clinton if she endorses him.

Of course, it’s possible the Clintons are still rallying donors because they want to reduce the $20 million or so debt they owe the campaign and will have to pay back out of their own pockets.

Josh Orton argues that Clinton will bow out gracefully. “I don’t think Clinton will divide the party further,” he writes. “As hard as it must be to concede that she lost a huge upset to a young up-start, I believe she’s more than capable of putting the party and country ahead of self-interest.” I’ll believe it when I see it.

On the other hand, Thomas Edsall says Clinton wants Obama’s help in raising the $20 million. Maybe there’s a deal in the works.

I’ll be reasonably satisfied if Senator Clinton suspends her campaign without conceding. What’s important now is to re-focus news media on the Obama-McCain contest rather than the Obama-Clinton contest.

Predictions? Will she concede?

Update: Noonish, there are news stories saying Clinton will concede when Obama gets the number of delegates he needs to win the nomination. Other news stories say she won’t.

20 thoughts on “Is the End in Sight?

  1. Hillary lost a Democratic primary just as did Joseph Lieberman. I suspect that she will chose to emulate a Lieberman style path of forging on in some 3rd way.
    I do not mean that she will ‘go independent’ but that she will try to continue in some way to 1]keep herself in the news and 2] to wield destruction-threatening power down the road, especially by subtly allowing her Lieberman-clone supporters to continue to threaten to join McCain’s camp.

  2. I think she’ll concede by Friday at the latest. Most of the anti-concession stuff I’ve read, including Politico, are reporting what supporters and aides are urging her to do, not the other way around.

    Although I’ve disagreed with some of her choices, I could see some logic in her persistence throughout, but this time, I can’t imagine any gain can be realized from continuing her campaign.

    The only alternative to a public concession would be a private one, made to Obama so she can maintain fundraising to settle her debts by vowing to fight till August, but other than the worries that would cause, her public campaign pronouncements would cease.

    One thought that does cross my mind is that, given the recent history of keynote speakers, maybe that’s the role she seeks now, more than any Cabinet post. It’s sort of a ‘designated successor’ spot short of the VP slot and a barnburner there would make for a solidarity move unlike any other.

    I understand completely why so much skepticism persists, but an active campaign now would be predicated on the notion that Obama’s going to commit a fatal gaffe in the next 12 weeks that would cause the supers to abandon him. For her to do that while he reaches the winning total and declares victory would only create a permanent fissure that would destroy her career.

    So a concession or suspension is definite, I believe. She’s gotten the max mileage and can say she kept every state in the process through today. She’s not going to gain a thing after Friday.

  3. “they’re likely to turn against Clinton if she endorses him”

    I’ve seen plenty of evidence throughout the Krazy Klinton Korner of the blogosphere to know that statement is entirely true, but I think it’ll only be an issue with the raving online lunatics, not the majority of her supporters who are going through an understandable (and bitter) mourning period right now.

    Do I think she’s going to drop out tonight, though? Unfortunately, no, I don’t.

  4. As of 8:00 am Pacific Time, according to the media, she’s going to “pass the mantle” to Obama tonight. We’ll see.

    Interesting that “pass the mantle” phrase. Sounds like Hillary’s been president already, or was the anointed one and is merely turning over her reign, or crown or exalted position to another.

    I’ve often suspected it was that attitude coming into the race that was her downfall – along with myriads of other things of course. Her whole experience, been-there-done-that schtick immediately put her in the ‘before’ crowd. That required us to have some fond nostalgia for the past and since memories are short the ‘past’ became Bush, Washington as usual crap which we couldn’t wait to get rid of.

    I look forward, Maha, to your take on her ‘speech’ tonight – should it really happen of course.

  5. …I tend to suspect that she will just sort of drift off into some kind of unannounced quasi-suspension of her campaign. Barring some strange collective drug frenzy by the superdelegates that causes them to switch to or declare for Clinton en masse, the only apparent reason for her to maintain some sort of campaign structure would seem to be – as Mr. Hayden suggested – to provide an avenue for fundraising to help retire her campaign debt. She doesn’t need to be in the race, either officially or unofficially, in order to still be the leader of the pack if Obama’s campaign flames out before the convention…

    I’m not enough of a Hillary-hater to subscribe to the idea that she is gripped by some sort of megalomania that blinds her to the reality of her situation. I’d be willing to bet that she clearly understands the dangers of pushing so hard that the effort takes down the party’s chance of recapturing the White House on Nov. 4. She undoubtedly knows that blame for that would seriously damage her Senate influence as well as any ambitions toward 2012….

  6. she will never concede, never!! she is the republican’s ultimate weapon, a self centered jerk, and the democratic party, by not putting obamo over the top TODAY, has made the biggest mistake ever.

  7. NBC was reporting this morning that the campaign told their remote staffers that they can come to New York for a party this evening, or stand down. And the campaign manager (I forget his name) was sending mixed signals all over the place: “If Obama has the numbers, he should put them on the table! Until then, this isn’t over!” but did say that when Obama DID put the numbers on the table, they’d concede, work with his camp “because we have to take the White House,” and that he doubted there’d be a credentials fight at the convention.

    Words, words, words. But I’m guessing they’ll do the right thing. Naive guy that I am.

  8. I’d like to think Bill and Hillary have enough brainpower between them to come to the conclusion that she doesn’t want to go down in history as the Ralph Nader of 2008. If they don’t put everything they’ve got into getting Obama elected, they’d better be prepared to shoulder the blame for the damage done by a President McCain.

  9. Does it really matter if she concedes? She has severely wounded Obama already, she was toast after Wisconsin, everyone knew it then, so did the Clintons. Tier intention is to elect McCain and protect Bu$hco and Bubba’s past indiscretions. I couldn’t care less what she does, my quess is she will show little (just for appearances) if any support for Obama in the general.

    CNN is playing tape of Bubba going on and on about the Vanity Fair article and how Obama has been controlling the media, unfuckingbelievable, good riddance to the Clintons and their ilk.

  10. Senator Obama needs to talk to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland about how to solve a problem within your own party. (Go look it up, it’s a great story but it got very little play outside of Ohio.)

    Tonight after his speech, Senator Obama should call Senator Clinton and say something like this: “As leader of the Democratic Party, I order you to resign your seat in the United States Senate, effective immediately. There is a plane waiting to take you and your husband to permanent exile. If you do not accept this offer, I cannot guarantee your safety.”

  11. Maha

    I’m with you … I did a post a short time ago that she isn’t conceding, she isn’t going to give an inch … She’ll keep banging the “Popular Vote” and “more states won” drum, cite her millions of supporters and say it’s own to Denver, to keep the fight going …

    Hillary Clinton – The Most Fabulous Object In The World



  12. Maha,

    I’m sorry… one of those “You gotta read this!” things that anyuone running a blog hates and off topic too.

    Burried deep in the back of the Science Section of today’s NYT is an essay by a retired OB/GYN that reminds me of just why this election is so damned important. Read it, weep, remember not what we are fighting about, but rather what we all are fighting FOR.

  13. No, Maha, we’re actually not a democracy, and I do not think there are many people left who (each for different reasons) really wish that we were. I will confine myself to one line of argument, although there are many.

    The Democratic nomination process this cycle has not produced a CLEAR winner, which is to say that neither of the two frontrunners has had any real prospect, since the turn of the year, of winning by a validating margin.

    Think long and carefully about the notion of a validating margin before springing to your keyboard to reply. Narrow victories are devalidating. Only “landslides” or supermajorities validate. For a long time now, the public discourse around democratic validity, in all contexts, whether popular election or the deliberations of representative bodies, has been couched in supermajoritarian terms. Where is the “mandate”? What does the margin have to be to constitue a mandate? 60-40? 51-49? 50.000001-49.999999 ?

    THESE QUESTIONS ARE THE WRONG QUESTIONS. Democracy has no concept of a supermajority. But that is not how we think. We think in terms of mandates and landslides. Jimmy Carter’s margin of victory was devalidating, as were Clinton’s margins, as were G. W. Bush’s margins. 5-4 in the Supreme Court is not good enough. 59-41 in the Senate is not good enough.

    As long as we cling to a supermajoritarian notion of democracy, we must conclude that America is not democratically governable, because no one will ever again be able to get a supermajority for anything.

    A debate can be had about the moral advantages and disadvantages of supermajoritarianism, but if we wish to have that debate, let us not pretend that it has anything to do with democracy.

  14. Frank, do try not to be tiresome. By “democracy” I was thinking in terms of a place where rightfully elected legislators, no matter how annoying, cannot be “disappeared” by the executive.

    Clinton supporters come by here and whine about how mean Obama supporters are to Hillary Clinton, never mind the vile and abusive behavior of some Clinton supporters. I don’t want to validate their complaints.

    I don’t want to hear talk about “As leader of the Democratic Party, I order you to resign your seat in the United States Senate, effective immediately. There is a plane waiting to take you and your husband to permanent exile. If you do not accept this offer, I cannot guarantee your safety.” That is appalling, and I came close to deleting your comment.

    Whether you like her or not, a huge majority of the voters of New York (including me) put her in the Senate. The executive branch cannot nullify a senatorial election.

    Notice: Yes, I want Clinton to drop completely out of the presidential race and go back to the Senate, but I will delete any comments that wish her ill as a senator.

  15. Maha,

    Your reaction is neither fair, nor respectful, nor characteristic of your own high standards; I therefore decline it. I do not remain where I am unwelcome. I think you have the wrong end of several sticks, but that is your lookout.


  16. Frank seems to have confused the Democratic Party with either the Communist Party, or a fascist party. In the United States, the ‘leader’ of a political party does not have the power, nor should they have the inclination, to “order” a sitting US Senator to resign, much less flee into exile.

    As for the theory of a validating majority, as I recall our nation has been governed by an administration which was first elected by a majority of one on the Supreme Court. “Validation” is a concept for opinion polling, not one mentioned in the Constitution.

    Returning to the original subject of the post, I was just watching John McCain, and he seems to have decided that Obama is the nominee. There’s just under an hour until Montana closes. NBC has called it for Obama, not that Clinton supporters would EVER accept their opinion on that.

  17. Until we hear “I concede” from Mrs Clinton’s lips, it isn’t over. I can see her campaign going into hibernate until the convention in August, where she could try one last time to win the prize, with all manner of wheeling and dealing going on up till then.

    If I’m not mistaken, this is the closest primary race ever (at least for the Democrats), and so I’m sure the feeling within the Clinton camp is that she’s just as entitled to winning as Obama. It really is a photo finish.

  18. biggerbox — Frankly, I can’t tell where Frank is coming from. He made no sense.

    I do urge everyone to show some class regarding Clinton and prepare to redirect the snark to John McCain.

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