Commentary Magazine


What Will Obama Do Without Hillary?

Is victory coming too easily for Obama? What we are seeing tonight is the possibility that the entire Clinton edifice is collapsing far more quickly than anyone imagined. As Jennifer points out, her decision to appear in Texas this evening has a “last stand” quality to it — remarkable for someone who only last week was neck and neck with Obama. Yet if Obama’s victory becomes a foregone conclusion over the next few days, he will have lost the most powerful weapon in his arsenal: his battle against the incumbent Democratic establishment. So long as Obama was in a tight race with Clinton, he could continue to polish his reputation as the man struggling to change the status quo. In that context, “Yes We Can” was an empty but sufficient message, one he could ride all the way through the Pennsylvania primary nearly 10 weeks from now. If Hillary is out of the way, the long-overdue examination of exactly what Obama believes willbegin. Clinton has been a perfect foil for him. That stage of the campaign is almost over, and Obama may soon wish he still had the Clintons to kick around for a while longer.