Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem for Hillary: "If you can keep your head when all about you/ men are losing theirs and blaming it on you ... yours is the Earth and everything that's in it/ and which is more, you'll be a man ... . "
The lady doesn't want the Earth and all that's in it not with Bill in the bedroom (or at least somewhere on the property) and $109 million in the bank. But acquiring real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue would be nice. Alas for her, she looks about to be run down in an avalanche. Her poll numbers are cratering in Indiana and North Carolina, tightening in Pennsylvania, and her superdelegates are chasing the rats in a panic search for a way off the sinking ship.
It couldn't have happened to a more deserving old tub and all the people in it. Since it's clear that Hillary is bored with the Senate she only meant to stay as long as the world's oldest decrepit body was useful to her higher ambitions maybe Bill can get her on as a guide at his library in Little Rock. Hillary has always dreamed of retiring to the kindness of strangers in Arkansas.
The Democrats contrived party rules a quarter of a century ago to make sure that losers wouldn't get their feelings hurt. But arranging primaries and caucuses to apportion delegates by sentiment and mathematical precision would inevitably one day guarantee an endless summer of misery for everybody, and this looks like it might be that summer. There won't be a winner, just a survivor. The only way the party could make things worse is to require that no candidate be allowed to win a second primary until every other candidate has won once, nobody can win three primaries until everybody else has won twice, and so on. Howard Dean no doubt has a task force working on it now.
The superdelegate firewall that Hillary counts on to save her, if worse comes to worst, is beginning to look more like a wildfire, moving toward her. With the delegate lead likely lost for good, the 10 remaining primaries no longer look like opportunities to erase Barack Obama's long lead in the popular vote. She will arrive in Denver armed only with the usual Clinton sense of entitlement, and needing all the solace Rudyard Kipling's poesy can give her.
She can thank herself, among other high-minded Democrats, for the fine mess she's in. The Obama lead in delegates is not so much a lead fairly won as the result of undisciplined democracy, wrought by a bizarre formula of allocating delegates. A complicated primary-and-caucus system in Texas, for example, gave Hillary most of the popular votes and Sen. Obama most of the delegates.
A close look at what's happened, measured by Wesley Little of the Rasmussen polling organization, shows that if the Democrats had employed the winner-take-all method of the Republicans (and once their own), Hillary would now have a comfortable cushion of delegates heading into the final round of primaries. Democrats in 30 primaries would have awarded 1,260 Obama delegates. Hillary's 14 primary victories would have yielded 1,427 delegates maybe more if the party could figure out what to do about disenfranchised Democrats in Florida and Michigan.
But the Obamaniacs are nuts if they think all the news is good. With a mortally wounded Hillary limping toward Denver, full attention is turned to the great journey of discovery of who Barack Obama really is. His oldest and dearest friends his crazy preacher being merely the first are only now crawling out of the dark places in the woodwork. There was never a prettier candidate to burst onto the scene, a man who looked and sounded too good to be true. "The man has too much tail for his kite," Albert Sidney Johnston said of the fancy-feathered general Lincoln sent to oppose him in "the West" in the early months of the Civil War. Events made quick work of him. Getting a kite into a fair wind with too much tail was difficult then, and it will be difficult now.