I don’t want to jinx it, especially given the Clintons’ knack for comebacks, but in this dark conservative hour we need a little light. So take heart in this — as bad as I thought she’d do this afternoon, she actually did worse. With only 60 precincts left to be counted, she’s eight points behind and destined for the third-place finish Bob Novak and Chuck Todd declared would likely be “fatal” and a “near-disaster” for her candidacy. The only dark lining in the silver cloud: She’ll probably finish near second, within a point of Silky, who desperately needed to win and probably isn’t long for this political world after South Carolina despite his vow to fight on. He’s still around to bleed Obama for her, and who knows? If Billy Jeff pulls out his Clenis and works his magic on the stump next week, she may yet bounce back in New Hampshire.

But for now, look on the bright side:

1. If we’re going to be saddled with a sure loser in the general like Huck, it’s a comfort to know that now it probably won’t be Hillary who benefits when massive numbers of us stay home.

2. The nutroots had an even worse night than we did. Not only didn’t their fair-haired boy come through with the upset, but the “real Democrat” of choice, Chris Dodd, scored himself a whopping .02% of the vote. Bye, Chris.

3. Even more TV time for Chuck Norris.

4. I get to post this. Starring Barack Obama as Judy Garland.

Update: Fearful of the Clintons’ supernatural ability to revive, Jason-like, from apparent death, our commenters warn me to not get cocky, kid.

Update (Bryan): Nope, she ain’t dead. She’s practically undead. Edwards played his little heart out and is reportedly low on cash. This was a serious hit to Hillary but I think it’s worse on Edwards. On the other hand, if he drops out you have to figure that much of his vote heads Obama’s way. So Hillary isn’t dead but she has taken a very hard punch. The Clintonistas haven’t really begun to fight though, and New Hampshire is a bit more tolerant of negativity than Iowa is.

Update: A harder punch than we may realize yet. It’s been speculated that a big reason so much of the black vote stayed with Hillary thus far is because they didn’t think Obama could win. That fear is dead now, with South Carolina shaping up to be a proving ground.