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Why are so many Democrats and so many media outlets anxious to push Hillary Clinton down the stairs and out of the race? If she were mathematically eliminated and truly stood no chance to win, as they insist, why not patiently ride her candidacy out the way the Republicans did with Mike Huckabee?

Well, it’s clear the Democrats are not so confident that Clinton is simply going to melt away. The AP reports (h/t Instapundit):

Many undeclared superdelegates express confidence that all will be well. Democratic voters will unite in the fall, they say, and the injuries that Obama and Clinton inflict on each other this spring will heal. Privately, however, some party insiders worry that these superdelegates may be blithely marching toward a treacherous crossroad, where they will have to choose between a deeply wounded Obama and a soaring Clinton whose success was built on tearing down the party’s front-runner in terms of delegates.

So rather than face a hard choice, Democratic insiders figure it is easier to goad Clinton out of the race. This is foolhardy on two counts.

First, she isn’t going anywhere and people who think the Clintons can be bullied haven’t been paying close attention to the last dozen years or so of American politics. (If they wouldn’t leave the White House in the face of impeachment proceedings and national embarrassment, they won’t leave a mere primary race.)

Second, she is going to town on the feminist backlash angle. The “big boys” are ganging up on her, she claims. With some merit, Diane Feinstein says of the effort to push Clinton out of the race: “I think that’s really premature, and it’s ill conceived. She has a right to wage her candidacy and to fight until a time that she can’t recoup those votes.”

Worse still, this approach isn’t helpful to Barack Obama. It just perpetuates the perception that Obama is like a newborn fawn who must be sheltered and coddled to protect him from the ravages of a full blown political battle. By whining that the race is like a movie that goes on a half-hour too long, he insults voters in states he still needs to win and makes it seem as if the whole thing is too terribly hard and boring for him to bear. (Even he is now beginning to dial back on the “get out Hillary” talk – perhaps sensing that it sounds arrogant and defensive.) And Clinton just looks grittier and more resilient – exactly the qualities she says the nominee will need in the general election – when she defies the party establishment that would rather not bother with a few more months of voting.

So if the Democratic Party wants to dump Clinton they are just going to have to beat her, fair and square. There is no easy way out now.

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