Hillary Clinton's petulance hijacked the most major inflection point in a generation of American politics: The ascension of an African-American from humble beginnings to the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.
In a churlish speech, Hillary declared herself the winner in popular votes, then went beyond braggadocio by undertaking the dangerous step of asking her supporters to launch a write-in campaign to bolster her case to fight for the party's nomination. In essence, she was asking for a mandate to become an independent candidate in order to disrupt the convention or to launch her own campaign.
A camera caught Bill Clinton smiling as his wife said she would make no decision about her future despite Obama's victory. Then -- and I'm sure he picked out the music -- she underscored her disdain by exiting the stage accompanied by the song "Simply The Best" by African-American rocker Tina Turner, an iconic songstress whose career was also the result of a successful husband with a wandering eye.
It was craven identity politics. At best, her defiance may be cynical or a misguided and unfair attempt to drag on the process in order to dissipate the anger among her followers so that she can eventually rejoin the party team.
That's doubtful. The Clintons, in essence, are willing to undertake a very dangerous strategy to force their way into an upper hand with Obama or to capture a delusional goal. They appear willing to create a political Frankenstein, or their own Internet-led movement of middle-aged women and bluecollars unenamored by Obama, who may opt in large numbers to overthrow the primary process and create havoc at the Denver convention where the nominee must be crowned.
In other words, Hillary has become a de facto independent Democrat (like Joe Lieberman) who will join forces with, or pave the way, for John McCain to win this fall, and -- as I have speculated -- try to set herself up for victory in 2012.
It's totally irrational.
The Big Winner was McNasty
All of this misbehavior could not be better for John McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate who read without passion or inflection, a lame speech tonight, punctuated by inappropriate smiles and tone, excessive compliments to Hillary and personal attacks on Obama.
Obama Was Magnificent but Looked Disappointed
He took the high road, as usual, and gave an inspiring speech appealing to the best in America and Americans. He also had to be hugely disappointed with Hillary's speech, and her failure to congratulate him and concede. But he rose above it by handing to Hillary a meaningful, deliverable or "legacy" in the form of universal health care. Even though she failed to bring it about, he graciously called her the pioneer and pledged that she would play the major role in bringing about reforms.
He also said uncategorically he would be the Democrat's nominee.
But the Clintons -- armed with a personal warchest of tens of millions of dollars and ruthless ambition and narcissism -- may have lost the battle but appear willing to enable the inadequate McCain to win the war.