THE BLOG

Hillary Clinton Should Withdraw

05/25/2011 12:25 pm ET

The most likely outcome is that on March 5, Hillary Clinton withdraws from the presidential campaign and endorses Barack Obama.

At this moment, Senator Clinton has three options, two of which are acceptable, one of which would be disastrous for her and the Democratic Party.

In my view she should withdraw today, though she won't. Her second option is to campaign through March 4 at least but suspend all negative attacks and whatever happens, do it with class and grace as a unifier.

Her third option is to continue and escalate the negative attacks in a wrecking ball, demolition derby, scorched earth desperation play that will be rejected by voters and do permanent damage to her national stature.

Two facts are obvious. First, she cannot be nominated at a price worth the nomination. If she pursues the desperation dirt strategy it will be rejected by voters as her attacks were rejected in South Carolina, Wisconsin and nationally. Such a strategy would drive superdelegates to stampede to Obama and would be viewed as a direct attack on the prospects of the Democratic Party and a direct attack on the aspirations of political independents that would make her nomination both impossible and worthless.

The worst case for Senator Clinton is not that she loses the nomination, which is close to inevitable today, but that she loses in a way where she is seen as a destructive and divisive force that leaves large numbers of a generation of young people largely angry and bitter towards her for the rest of her career.

The second fact is equally clear. Contrary to myths perpetrated by the pundits in the media and their embarrassing misreading of the history of our times, neither the voters, nor the superdelegates, want any part of any effort to steal the nomination, corrupt the democratic process of the Democratic Party, or continue that politics of demeaning that the Clinton campaign has sadly trademarked in this year.

In the end, the superdelegates would never have considered violating and abusing the trust of the people who voted in primaries and caucuses. Equally ridiculous and offensive, the chance that Hillary Clinton could steal the support of elected pledged delegates is mathematically zero. The very notion that the Clinton staff would even consider this shows how far from the reality of 2008 the Clintons and their staff have been with tactics that have been a $150 million fiasco of division, mismanagement and self-destruction.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a good person, a good Senator and a good public servant who has many years left in a career that could well ultimately lead to the presidency. She and her campaign have done some very bad things, in a very bad way. with very bad results.

It is time to begin a serious discussion of her upcoming withdrawal, and hope as Democrats and Americans that in the closing days of her campaign she acts as a healer and unifier who does credit to herself and a service to our party and our country.

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