It’s getting painful to watch the endgame of the Democratic nomination. If Obama wins, I imagine we might date the beginning of the end from the time that Clinton accused Obama of selling “false hope.”
Running against hope is, of course, hopeless, as the spouse of the original Man from Hope (Arkansas) should have known. It’s hard to become more likeable while telling people that they shouldn’t get their hopes up.
It’s especially hard to watch Clinton and her “final days” campaigning.
I’m not one of those on the bandwagon labeled, “she ran a terrible campaign.” She didn’t, in my view. She just ran into a better candidate. It’s like sports. Your team, your coach, your game plan all look great right up until you face a better team or a team playing better.
Without Obama, Clinton would have crushed the field, and we would be admiring her fantastic organization. Clinton is extremely talented, and just found herself overmatched in a year when the Democrats had two great, well-funded candidates.
That being said, frontrunners who fully expect to win (see Patriots, New England) often get really nasty when they lose. I think the Clinton team is getting into that zone, mixing frustrated entitlement with bafflement at their apparent fate. I remember George Bush the Elder marvelling that he was losing to this inexperienced “kid” from Arkansas in 1992. It really hurts.
Clinton tries to hit the right notes, but instead goes from the plaintive to the enraged and then back again. Whether or not the Clinton people are behind the release of a photo of Obama in Muslim garb to the Drudge Report, they are certainly acting as if they think it is very clever. I doubt that there is a formula to turn their campaign around and each “Hail Mary” pass annoys Democratic voters even more.
Looking down the road, the problem for Obama is that if he does win, he has to take steps to keep the Clintons from sulking in their tents. (One indicator to watch is if they start talking about what a great guy John McCain is.)