UPDATE: I hadn't read this Carpetbagger piece before I wrote and published mine, but I just did and it's pretty much the same analysis (damn you, Bill Kristol).
I have a theory about what's going to happen this week. Hillary will announce, perhaps as early as Tuesday night, or Wednesday, that she's "suspending" her campaign for the nomination. She will not "concede" the race, and she will probably not endorse Obama either. She will announce that she is suspending her campaign, and the media will buy this as "Hillary has conceded," when she will have done nothing of the sort.
By suspending, she leaves open the possibility that she will jump back in at any time before the August convention, and she will leave open the possibility that she will still try to poach Obama's superdelegates between now and the convention. Part of the way she'll get around this is by announcing that the superdelegates have only just been giving all the information they need to make up their minds. I mean, after all, she'll say, we only just had the last primaries on Tuesday. How can the superdelegates really make up their minds in only a few hours. They'll need a good few weeks, maybe even months, to really let all the information percolate in their brains.
Also, we'll probably watch another goal post be moved by the Clintons. "Obama doesn't need 2,118 delegates to be our nominee," Hillary will likely argue. "Obama needs 2,118 delegates on Thursday, August 28, 2008 when he officially becomes the nominee. How many delegates he has before that data is irrelevant since superdelegates can change their minds up until that date." So she'll effectively keep running until the end of August.
Now, I don't think she's decided yet if she's going to do this. But I think it's a 50-50 chance right now, as evidenced by what she's being saying over the past two days.
“I’m a day-to-day person,” she said, adding that she has “closed very strongly” and “dominated” Obama since February 20.I.e., the superdelegates haven't had enough time yet to reflect about who is better, so she's going to generously give them the time they need, at least a few more weeks. I mean, after all this time who could argue about a few more weeks (she'll say).
She said the campaign has been so intense, “I don’t think there’s been a lot of time for reflection.”
The end of voting will allow time for careful reflection about who would be the best candidate for the Democratic Party, she said.
“My political obituary has yet to be written,” she said. “It’s not over til it’s over.”
MSNBC's First Read:
During her victory speech after the Puerto Rico primary, which she is on her way to winning likely by a two-to-one margin, Ricky Martin music blaring at the introduction and afterward, Clinton showed no sign of pulling out of this race any time soon....NYT:
“Let’s keep fighting,” she concluded. “Let’s keep fighting. Let's keep fighting. Let's keep fighting.”
In the interview, Mrs. Clinton resisted the push of some Democratic leaders — among them, Howard Dean, the party chairman, and Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker — for superdelegates to quickly chose sides as soon as the voting is over Tuesday. “I know that people are hopeful that we get a nominee, and we will,” she said. “But I don’t think it’s as important to do it fast as it is to do it well.”So choosing this week would being doing it too fast? That line was cute when she first used it a month or so ago. But claiming that this week is too fast is a horrifying insight into what makes this woman tick.
Again, this isn't set in stone. But Hillary and her people are seriously considering ways of dragging this race out even longer. I don't think in a million years she's going to "concede" this week. Now, why does that matter? Because if she doesn't concede, her fans and her donors aren't going to get over the fact that she lost. They're going to continue hoping for a Hillary victory, and they're not going to heal and come around to supporting Obama. Imagine a parent has been told that there's still hope that their kidnapped child will be found. Does that parent: A) Keep hope alive; or B) Agree with the guy telling them that their kid is lost forever? No one gives up if their number one hero tells them there is still hope.
The only remaining question is whether the superdelegates, and our party's leadership, will fully comprehend what's behind the parsing that Hillary is going to be doing this week. Will they believe that she's, for all intents and purposes, dropped out of the race, or will they realize that she's done nothing of the sort?
And you know what they say about Bobby Kennedy...