A belated answer to my question yesterday about what the party elders can do to force her out. Answer: Nothing. In her mind it’s Hillary against the world, and if the world wants her beaten, well, that’s just the world up to its old tricks again. But what if someone inside the fort tells her it’s time? Tucked away at the end of this New York mag piece, which leads with candy about how much Elizabeth Edwards “hates her guts,” lies a hint:
No, according to Hillary’s adjutants, the people most likely to have sway with her on this topic are not party elders at all but instead her fiercest loyalists, those who’ve won her trust over the years by dint of their unwavering support. Familiar names from the annals of Clintondom are mentioned: Terry McAuliffe, Vernon Jordan, Rahm Emanuel (likely the only person in this club who is also close to Obama). So, too, are prominent endorsers such as Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. “If one of her major African-American endorsers, like Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, told her it was time to quit, that would be very powerful,” adds a senior Clinton adviser. Oh, and let us not forget her husband.
She and her team seem to be in that stage near the end of a relationship where both sides know it’s over but they’ve been together so long, and they know the break-up will be so messy, that they’re putting off having The Talk until something forces it. Per the Times, that something is Indiana:
Mrs. Clinton’s aides said they could see no circumstance in which she would withdraw unless she lost Pennsylvania on April 22. Two senior advisers and one close ally said they would urge her to quit the race if she lost Indiana two weeks later, on May 6…
Some of her associates said Indiana was now a must-win state for her. A defeat there would make it even more mathematically improbable that she would win the nomination and undercut any boost she might achieve from a victory in Pennsylvania.
The most recent Indiana poll I can find puts him up 15 points, although it was taken a month before the Wright thing exploded. Combined with his 20-point lead in North Carolina, I’m starting to suspect people in the party are lying back simply to give her one last courtesy hurrah in Pennsylvania in the expectation that she’ll then flame out in Indiana and North Carolina and they can bring down the hammer full force. Karol’s got your exit questions, but I’ll add one of my own: Which Clinton lackey will be the one tasked with having The Talk with her? It … won’t be Bill, will it? And an exit quotation from the Times: “In a conversation with two Democratic allies, she compared the situation to the ‘big boys’ trying to bully a woman…” Of course she did.