Another day, another huge disappointment for Hillary Clinton. Just a week ago, we were scared silly by the prospect of the proverbial smoke-filled room. (How were we even going to fit all 796 superdelegates in there?) But after last night’s latest shellacking — soundly and provocatively analyzed by our own John Heilemann — we’re left wondering if this race isn’t already over. If you want to be technical about it, it’s not, and we’ll keep counting the votes until there’s actually a winner (unlike, say, certain state party leaders in Washington state). After all, history's record of political meltdowns is long (and entertaining), and Obama is in far from an untouchable position. Remember the Dean scream? Macaca? Anything can happen right?
If you happened to be watching TV last night at, oh, around ten o’clock, you may have witnessed the moment when, symbolically, the presidential primaries ended — and the general election began. Out in Madison, Wisconsin, in the speech celebrating his clean and decisive sweep of the Potomac primary, Barack Obama ignored his current opponent and trained his fire instead on the man who may stand as his future rival, John McCain, arguing that “his priorities are bound to the failed policies of the past.” A few minutes later, from a stage in Alexandria, Virginia, McCain belittled Obama as blatantly as possible without ever mentioning him by name: “To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude.”
And where in all this, you might well wonder, was Hillary Clinton? In El Paso, Texas, imploring, in effect, “Hey! Remember me?”