02/24/2008 07:12 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Clinton Meltdown

After Hillary's gracious, if somewhat contrived, final statement at the CNN debate in Austin, Texas, I finally felt Democrats were ready to reconcile after a long, hard-fought election. Hillary would get her final shot in Ohio and Texas, and then, if it didn't work out, we could all move on and focus on a critical general election. Hillary would retain her dignity by at least going out on the high road, and possibly secure for herself and her husband some role in the Obama administration.

Wishful thinking, I guess. In the last couple days, Hillary Clinton has reached a new low, chastising Barack Obama like a child -- "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" -- for daring to distribute mailers that criticize her on NAFTA and Healthcare (apparently, she would never do such a thing -- and even though these mailers have been out since New Hampshire, she felt a sudden burst of righteous outrage).

Here's the video, for those who missed it:

And now, today, she has gone from simply saying that Barack Obama's words are hollow or "plagiarized" or too inspiring, to openly mocking him in a caustic, sarcastic tone. She apparently picked up on last week's media narrative that Obama's message has become "messianic" and his followers a brainwashed "cult." A cult, these days, apparently refers to a group of millions of people who have been disillusioned with politics, like Obama's message of hope and change, and want to play an active role in making this country better. Scary indeed.

Here's the clip of a gracious Clinton embarrassing herself, while ad hominem attacking her party's future nominee:

How inspiring!

When I first read Frank Rich's New York Times editorial this morning about the Clinton train wreck, "The Audacity of Hoplessness," I thought it was a bit harsh. Yet the resemblance between Bush's war and Clinton's campaign do indeed share some striking similarities in their arrogance, short-sightedness, and poor planning. Rich writes:

The Clinton camp was certain that its moneyed arsenal of political shock-and-awe would take out Barack Hussein Obama in a flash. The race would "be over by Feb. 5," Mrs. Clinton assured George Stephanopoulos just before New Year's. But once the Obama forces outwitted her, leaving her mission unaccomplished on Super Tuesday, there was no contingency plan. She had neither the boots on the ground nor the money to recoup. . .

Clinton fans don't see their standard-bearer's troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones's Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it's the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it's a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate's message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

It's been sad to watch the demise of a Clinton brand that had steadily improved over the years. But after months now of "Obama's run is a fairy tale, Obama wasn't really against the war, Obama took cocaine, Obama's middle name is Hussein, Obama is like Jesse Jackson (they're both black, get it), Obama isn't pro-choice, Obama is for latte drinkers, Obama only wins caucuses, Obama only wins states that don't matter, Obama is all talk and no action, Obama plagiarizes, Obama's followers are a cult, Obama isn't ready on day one, Obama might cause or not be able to handle a terrorist attack, Obama shouldn't win because I am entitled and even if it takes Michigan, Florida, and superdelegates, even if it takes destroying the Democratic party and disregarding the will of the voters, I MUST WIN!!!"

As for the American people, after 11 straight losses in primaries and caucuses across the country (and even outside) by 17 points or more, the message has become clear: America is ready to move on. Without the Clintons.

Hopefully, Hillary will get the memo soon, before her legacy is completely destroyed.

UPDATE: Wow. If this turns out to be true, it's the final straw. The Clinton campaign, apparently, is now circulating a photo of Barack Obama in a turban and traditional Kenyan garb. "The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat front-runner dressed as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya," the Drudge Report said.

After seeing it was on the Drudge Report I thought, well, what do you expect, and who knows if the Clintons actually sent it to them. Surely, they would denounce it as shameless fearmongering. And then this comment came from the Clinton camp:

"If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

No denial that they did in fact circulate it. No recognition of the obvious implication with Barack Obama as opposed to other politicians. This is truly sickening. In my mind, whatever legacy was left is now officially destroyed.