Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The End is Nigh (or Is It?)

Speaking yesterday in South Dakota, Bill Clinton said he might no longer be making campaign appearances, igniting speculation that Hillary would concede tonight. But, if we’ve learned anything since 1992, it’s that a Clinton’s, especially a Bill Clinton’s, words must be carefully parsed. This would not be the first time that what he said is amenable to many contradictory constructions. Also, the Clinton campaign vehemently denied an Associated Press report indicating that Hillary will indeed throw in the towel tonight -- after the voting in South Dakota and Montana is finished, and after bucket loads of “super delegates” declare for Obama.

Hillary does have a big event planned for New York City, though. That’s where she launched her campaign, and it would a fitting place for her to end it. Don’t count on it, however. Barack Obama has his own event planned tonight in Saint Paul, Minnesota – in the hall where the GOP will nominate John McCain later this summer. I’d wager that, no matter how clear the writing on the wall is, Hillary still has it in her to want to up-stage him.

Since many super-delegates are reported ready to declare for Obama today or tonight, Obama is almost certain, by night’s end, to have more than enough convention votes to secure the nomination. It will be interesting to see if he declares victory before Clinton concedes (if she ever does). Tonight is an obvious time and Saint Paul is a fitting place, whether or not the Clintons are on board. Let them rain on his parade with all the spite that’s in them; they can’t stop him now.

Indeed, the Clintons are toast and it’s just a matter of time before we see the backs of them! But lest we succumb to the hope that Clintonism too is on the skids, remember that tomorrow night in Washington both Clinton and Obama will be addressing AIPAC, declaring eternal fealty to the tribal state under God for which it stands. Maybe what Obama says will be subtly less noxious than Hillary’s remarks; he is the lesser evil, after all, and there is the example of his comparatively decent speech to Cuban Americans in Miami last month. But anyone expecting to see a clear sign of support for international law and political morality is likely to be disappointed; unless, of course, they interpret what they hear with a willful disingenuity reminiscent of the way Bill Clinton speaks when his back is against the wall.

In that regard, Todd Purdum’s piece in the July issue of Vanity Fair – now available on line -- on the peregrinations and state of mind of Hillary’s better half is must reading.

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