She’s got a few weapons left — brass knuckles at tomorrow’s debate, 527s taking off and strafing the Messiah in Texas and Ohio — but that won’t roll back the advance. It’s our dumb luck that we finally get the Clintons in an election where we can beat them … and they flame out in the primary against a superior candidate. Even in defeat, they end up making our lives harder.

Anyone want to offer any Hail-Mary optimism this morning or should we pause at last to exult in her failure, electoral consequences be damned? The two aren’t mutually exclusive:

The schisms that would arise if Clinton won — particularly with respect to black voters and the anti-war Left — would likely be a worse scenario for the Democrats. Nominating Obama, however, may have a depressing effect on Democratic women (and leaners), empower radical elements of the Democratic coalition and leave the Clintons as loose cannons in a general election. There has been much discussion of the first scenario, but almost none of the second, which currently seems the more likely one.

Maybe, but what’s the grievance among women if Obama wins? He won a bigger share of their vote yesterday than she did. If Hillary beats him with a play for superdelegates or by seating the Florida and Michigan slates, it’ll smell to his supporters like what it is: a desperate bid to thwart the guy who won more states and more delegates. If he blows her out in Texas and Ohio, though, what’s the case for her supporters having sour grapes? Karl mentions this morning a point he brought up earlier in the campaign, about a race on the left between Clinton and NotClinton, but the reason Obama won, I think, is by breaking out of that mold so spectacularly via his cult of personality that the race essentially became one between Obama and NotObama. As I’ve said before, “anybody but” candidates tend to fare poorly because they have little to commend them beyond what they’re not; the left couldn’t even leverage its enormous Bush-hate to elect Kerry on that ground in 2004. If Obama had run as the NotClinton, he’d be finished already. As it is, he raised a little more than $1 million a day last month and has celebrity nitwits singing songs about him. Geraghty’s consoling himself today with the fact that Obama the man can never live up to Obama the god, but man, that’s going to be one cold comfort on November 4.

Exit quotation: “Clinton needs to win 58% of all remaining pledged delegates simply to get the pledged delegate lead back. Forget 2025. And if you assume Obama wins Vermont, Wyoming, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, then the magic percentage number in the states Clinton wins rises to 65%.” And exit question: Hail Mary?

Update: Meant to add: Even if she has to wait eight years, until she’s 68, she’s running again, isn’t she?