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I agree with something Rachel Maddow said on MSNBC's coverage of Kentucky and Oregon last night (paraphrased, because the transcript post-11mp EDT is not yet available):

"They're going to have to push her [Clinton] out."

The Washington Post is the first to start writing about what the Clinton campaign is likely really doing, as opposed to what they want you to think they're doing.  I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat here, folks.  And it's best we entertain the possibility (probability) that Clinton has absolute plans to carry on way past June 3rd.  WaPo's article and more stuff over the fold.

Chris Cilizza's Washington Post article opens like this:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) set off a firestorm this afternoon when, during an interview with the Associated Press, she seemed to suggest she was willing to push the Democratic nomination fight all the way to the party's national convention in late August.

No... REALLY?  [eye roll] You mean Hillary Clinton ISN'T in this for the good of her supporters, the party, and of Barack Obama??  [double eye roll]  Say it isn't so.

I've been (albeit nicely) accused of excessive hand-wringing in my last two diaries (here and here).   Well meaning Obama supporters, concerned about the feelings of disappointed Clinton supporters, have suggested that I stop alienating those same Clinton supporters.  The way I see it, my house is on fire - I'm not going to worry that the neighbor is pissed off that their lawn is getting wet while I try to put it out.  Nothing against the neighbor, of course - I'm just trying to take care of the crisis at hand.

From the article:

Asked whether she would support Florida and Michigan if they decided to take their dispute with the Democratic National Committee all the way to the convention, Clinton responded: "Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this."

Let me help parse this: See, it wouldn't be CLINTON who was raising a ruckus - it would be poor, disenfranchised Florida and Michigan and she would only carry the issue to the convention in SUPPORT of Florida and Michigan to ensure every vote was counted (unless, of course, those votes came in states with caucuses, or medium-to-small states where Barack Obama is NOT from, or states that simply "don't matter" - disenfranchising them is fine with Kamp Klinton).  She's been beating the FL/MI drum all this time - couching it as deep concern for the voters and their voices, and it's one way for her to justify the unjustifiable: a Convention fight.

Continuing:

A look at another of Clinton's answers from the interview backs up that sentiment. To the suggestion that the race could go beyond June 3, when South Dakota and Montana voters cast ballots -- Clinton replied: "It could. I hope it doesn't. I hope it's resolved to everyone's satisfaction by that date because that's what people are expecting -- but we'll have to see what happens."

The big operative question is what "resolved to everyone's satisfaction" means.  Although Cilizza doesn't see "evidence that Clinton or her campaign are planning to push this fight to the convention", I am skeptical.  It was one particular phrase - or rather use of language from her speech last - that has caught my attention (from the speech transcript:

Now, you know that the stakes are high. After all this country has been through the past seven years, we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November.

I heard Debbie Wasserman-Schultz use the same language in an interview with Chris Matthews in post-primary coverage - "select" and reference to taking a "hard look and making a selection".  I heard another Clinton surrogate, whose name escapes me, use the same language and make the same points - Florida and Michigan had to be seated and then the superdelegates would have to "select" the best candidate to take on John McCain.  McAuliffe and Wolfson repeated these talking points on the morning shows.  

Suddenly they're all about "selections" and not very much about ELECTIONS.  They're all about dubious, deceitful popular vote claims and lying to misrepresent the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination (they say 2,210).  There are reports from constituents in Florida going around about paying 10,000 people to come to Washington DC on May 31 to demonstrate as the DNC Rules Committee meets.

Honestly - what about Hillary Clinton and/or her surrogates' language, posture, or demeanor signals conciliation?  Does anyone really believe that she's stayed in this long for the sake of magnanimously softening the blow for her supporters so that they will be more likely to support Barack Obama?  Is there something that has happened with Hillary Clinton that I missed, something so earth-shattering that, despite our own best instincts, we all believe she has suddenly had a change of heart?

"They're going to have to push her [Clinton] out."

Indeed.  And "they" are the superdelegates who have yet to endorse Barack Obama.  I generally buy the idea that they are - AGAIN - "keeping their powder dry" to give Hillary Clinton a chance to back out gracefully.  My argument would be, however, that the party and the contest for POTUS can't risk another two weeks of Clinton out there crying sexism, leveling veiled threats of a convention fight, and continually referencing the "white voter".

Time to chime in and contact the uncommitted superdelegates.  Enough already.  I've watched TOO MANY TIMES over the years as Democrats have looked critically at an issue or problem and have said "Oh don't worry - [insert improbable thing here] can't possibly happen" and then BANG - it happens.  I remember, myself, thinking that the whole idea that anyone would buy the swiftboating of John Kerry, a war hero for God's sake, was ridiculous.  Surely anyone could look at his record and would know better.  Apparently not.

Never underestimate the ability of one party to leverage the delusions of another - and do so successfully and convincingly.  Time to weigh in here folks.

Originally posted to RenaRF's Random Ramblings on Wed May 21, 2008 at 08:47 PM PDT.

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