Bill and Hillary Clinton have always believed that they're very different than the rest of us. Over their more than 30 years in politics together, they've learned one important and consistent lesson: that rules don't matter. Rules don't apply to them. Rules are for other people. Rules can be bent, changed, manipulated.
And that philosophy has worked very well for them.
So it's particularly ironic that they are now turning to the Democratic Party Rules Committee to try and steal the presidential nomination that Hillary has already definitively lost to Barack Obama in the popular vote, the delegate count, and the total number of states.
Now she'll try to get the Democratic bosses to rig it for her. If the rules don't work, change them.
Under the guise of justice and fair play, Hillary Clinton is, in effect, asking the Rules Committee to rule that the party's rules should be ignored the same rules that the Rules Committee enacted and that Hillary and all of the other democrats supported without dissent. But that was then and now is now.
Hillary wants the Florida and Michigan votes to be seated, even though it would still make no difference in the outcome. She can't win. After her embarrassing near loss in Indiana and her sound trouncing in North Carolina, Hillary Clinton is a fatally wounded candidate. She's out of money, out of votes, and out of options.
But she won't give up. She'll never go home until the day that Obama actually reached the magic number of delegates.
Because she and her husband both believe that she is entitled to the nomination, entitled to the presidency. So they're waiting for the inevitable signal that it will, in fact, be hers.
No matter that neither the voters nor the party leaders want her. No matter that she has to spend more than $11 million of her own money to keep her campaign afloat.
According to the Clintons, the nomination should be hers. She's earned it. She's ready. She wants it. She and Bill are sure that she'd be a great candidate.
So that's why they're waiting. Because there's one other lesson they've both learned that over time, anything can change. And they're waiting for any break that time might bring.
They've see it before. When they were worried about her criminal liability in the Whitewater mess, they held their ground. Eventually, as the years went on, Jim McDougal, the chief witness against them, died of a heart attack in prison. When the special prosecutor was after her for perjury, she learned how to delay and then get by off on a technicality. Lost in the dust were the allegations of Hillary's perjury. Once more, time was kind to her.
It was the same story during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. At first it seemed that Bill would be quickly thrown out of the White House, but two years later, although impeached, he was still incredibly popular. Time and patience had brought control of events back to the Clintons.
When they left the White House in utter disgrace over their ethical lapses and greed, they were under attack from even the friendliest of liberal media. But years of keeping their heads low, working hard at getting along with people in the Senate, turning to charitable works (with a little help from George W. Bush) and helping the party regulars erased the sordid images. Memories of pardons sold for campaign and library contributions, their scoundrel lobbyist brothers, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of 'gifts' that were solicited from people who wanted favors from the White House disappeared. Once again, time healed all.
Now, although seemingly out of time, they are still waiting. Something could happen to change things in just a minute.
They're patiently waiting for that minute.
But beyond their belief in Hillary's inalienable right to the nomination and Hillary's inevitability, there are two more factors that are keeping her in.
One is a combination of Hillary's incredible stubbornness and Bill's growing arrogance. They both believe that no one, absolutely no one tells them what to do. No one is going to force them - a former president and a senator to do anything. So the more people tell them that Hillary should quit the race, the more determined they are that she should stay in.
And finally, there seems to be an uncharacteristic absence of a reality base in Hillary's thinking. Normally, she is a no-nonsense pragmatic politician who understand when she's up and when she's not. But lately she seems to ignore everything that's in front of her except the supportive cheering of the partisan crowds and the certitude of Bill Clinton.
The proof of this is that she has lent a total of $11.6 million to her campaign. The Clintons are not people who part with a dime very easily. For them to fork over that much money to a failing campaign already in deep debt is the clearest statement that they are out of touch. Even after she won Pennsylvania by only 12 delegates there was no mathematical way for her to win the nomination. But she then poured another $6.4 million into the campaign coffers.
The Clintons are still waiting for a miracle that isn't going to happen. They're hoping that over time something big will derail Obama (no doubt they're still frantically looking for that something).
And they're stubbornly refusing to go home. And they're desperately hoping to make sure the rules don't count for them.
When the reality becomes unavoidable and it is clear that Hillary has to concede the nomination in 2008. Well, there's always 2012 or 2016 or 2020 or …
These folks aren't going away.