Live by the manufactured scandal, die by the manufactured scandal.
In the immediate aftermath of her unfortunate reference to the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy today, let me say I think she really was just attempting to point to a well-known historical event as evidence that primaries often continue well into June.
I disagree with folks like Keith Olbermann, who issued one of his signature "special comments" tonight, that her error was invoking the unspeakable spectre of assassination. I do agree that, so far, her "clarification" has been insufficient.
I do think, however, that she unwittingly betrayed the depths of desperation to which her campaign has descended, advancing as a legitimate rationale for staying in a race she now has (perhaps unconsciously) acknowledged is lost the possibility that something unfortunate might befall the nominee.
It's a tempest in a teapot, but nonetheless I think her campaign is now over, regardless of what happens with the Michigan and Florida delegates. I believe she will now fall victim, not to sexism, but to the same kind of hackish politics of distraction in which she and her husband have trafficked in for so long.
She tried to tar Obama with Tony Rezko, with Farrakhan, with William Ayers, she gave us the immortally artful dodge that Obama is not a Muslim..."as far as I know," she floated the gas-tax pander and then threw one of her staunchest and most valuable supporters, Paul Krugman, under the bus when she defended her crass politics channeling President Bush, "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists." She supported stripping Michigan and Florida of their delegates, but is now comparing that action to Zimbabwe and Selma and labeling it a constitutional crisis.
Who knows why politics works the way it does, and I don't think this slip-up is any more serious than any of the other non-scandals the public has suffered throught his year, but for some reason I suspect this one is going to stick, and sink her. I think this is exactly the cover the superdelegates needed to come out for Obama, and she may even lose some that were previously pledged to her. Politicians, remember, are masters of self-preservation, not martyrs. The S.S. Hillary Clinton is taking on water, and the rats are going to jump. They're not going to stand up for a candidate whose justification for continuing to campaign is the twisted hope that something awful might happen.