04/21/2008 01:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's About 2012, Stupid!

Never underestimate the Clintons. That much we know. But, perhaps we've been watching them slash and burn their way through the last few months of the campaign without realizing what's really going on?

To understand a Clinton, you've got to think like one. To pull that off, you've got to go places you've likely never gone before. Don't bring the kids....

Here I've been, along with everyone else who follows politics, wondering what in the world the Clinton campaign was still doing in this election. For some time now I've been convinced that Senator Obama will be the Democratic nominee come the fall. And, like so many others, I've been wondering why she's still doing her level best to sully Barack Obama's name for the coming general election?

Then it occurred to me: She's already running against President McCain in 2012.

We've all been busy trying to figure out what her campaign stands to gain by throwing mud at Barack Obama and why Team Clinton has no sense of reality (much less class or decency). But, like Dorothy trapped in Oz, the answer has been here all along.

She's teeing it up for 2012. In order to do that, she's got to make sure Barack Obama loses this fall. How better to do so than to stay in this race well past the interests of the Democratic Party? She can stick around and land a few body blows before she passes the fight against Obama to McCain in the general election. Does she have every right to stay in the race and blah, blah, blah? Sure. Whatever. Not my point. But isn't it time we all said out loud why she's still here?

She's trying to win an election and become President, just not the next president. That's so five months ago.

Senator Clinton is over the 2008 election. She's known for some time now that 2008 is not her year. She's too smart not to know. Her husband is too sharp not to read all these tea leaves. He wrote the book on tea leaves. Thus, she's already running a race that, for most of us, hasn't even begun. We're all scratching our heads and wondering what she's doing in this race while she and Bill use the political world and all of us who follow it as unwitting pawns in their game. They play at both a higher and lower level than anyone else.

That's how dark the Clinton political machine is. They are more savvy and more driven than any of us. We're still worrying about 2008 while they've already got things rolling for 2012.

Tell me I'm wrong. Make a real case, one that is rooted in reality, for her to win the Democratic nomination in 2008.

Everyone is so close to it, no one's really taken a big step back from the day-to-day election coverage and spelled this thing out for the mainstream media. She's trying to cause real harm to Obama so he'll be that much more beatable in the fall when he runs against McCain. After the family McCain, the folks who are rooting for our aging Senator from Arizona more than anyone else are the Clintons.

Ain't politics a bitch?

McCain, at the ripe old age of seventy-one, could arguably be a one term president, and if nothing else, eminently beatable in 2012. So, team Hillary thinks to themselves, let McCain win this year (a very bad time to be President anyway). Let him deal with the mess in Iraq, let him hold that hot potato for a few more years while Hillary gets her ducks in a row for 2012. If she bows out "gracefully" at some point, you'd have to consider her a shoe in for front runner in the 2012 campaign. And, remember, the 2012 race will start the day after this next President move into the White House.

The long anticipated Pennsylvania primary is finally, mercifully upon us. What will the results tell us? In many ways, the answer is a resounding "not much". Look at this race through a macro, rather than micro lens. Does it really matter if Hillary wins Pennsylvania by five, ten, or fifteen points? What if Obama scores an upset and wins? In the end, a lot of the damage to the Democratic party is already done.

A Democratic President in 2008 was once viewed as an eventuality. Today, most passionate Democrats (myself included) are far too scared and realistic to start measuring the curtains in the West Wing. But, Hillary's quiet objective (laying the groundwork for her 2012 campaign) is well under way. A lot of us in the Democratic party can't sleep at night at the thought of what we have been doing to ourselves of late. I have a feeling that the Clintons are resting just fine...albeit in separate beds.