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The Final Act

Hillary Clinton does not do whining and outrage very well, as demonstrated here. The resentment seeps through: “Enough with the speeches and the big rallies and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove’s playbook.” (Yes, it really is terrible that Barack Obama doesn’t have the good graces to stick to puny crowds like she does.) Although she is getting very sympathetic coverage portraying her as brave and resolute, it is bravery and resolution resulting from the prospect of a final defeat. These and other tales of semi-resignation (as well as Clinton’s own words) suggest that maybe she will not fight to the bitter end if she loses one or more of her must-win states on March 4.

Will she follow the example of Mitt Romney who went out at the right time and with great dignity? Granted, they are not similarly situated. He is newer on the national stage, and a Romney re-run in 2012 or 2016 would not raise the “not again” refrain. Unlike Romney, this is by far her best shot at the White House. So why not roll the dice and hold out for a fight at the Convention, hoping for an intervening scandal or a gaffe that might turn the tide? But Clinton is nothing if not steely-eyed. Blowing up the Democratic Party when the odds are stacked against her seems a poor way to set up the next stage in her career (whether she ends up as Senate Majority Leader or takes one future, final shot at the White House). On balance, I think the odds favor her going out with a smile and not a snarl.


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