Monday, June 2, 2008

Trust but Verify

Is Hillary dropping out? I'll admit there's a lot of smoke:

She's spending Tuesday in New York . . . she's making her staff turn in expense reports . . . Vilsack says she should . . . so does Rendell . . . Bill said it might be his last day campaigning . . . Rahm is herding superdelegates . . .

BUT . . . she's openly talking about challenging Michigan . . . Ickes told the donors to hold tight . . . the donors called on her to stay in (allegedly spontaneous) . . . she made statements about turning supers back her way . . . she's traveling with that Virgin Islands guy who flipped twice . . .

Doesn't matter.

None of that should give anyone any confidence that Hillary is dropping out. Nor should it indicate she's staying in. We don't know. Clinton herself probably doesn't know. For anyone in professional politics, it would be malpractice to assume that Clinton will do anything other than whatever would be most annoying to you personally.

If you're Obama, expect her to try to poach your delegates however she can all summer. If you're a superdelegate, expect her supporters to make your life miserable. If you're a Clinton staffer, expect her to drop out, stop paying you, and then get right back in late July--just when you're supposed to start that lucrative job in Manhattan.

If you've seen the movie Shogun, you know what I mean. You don't turn your back on Yabu-san until his head is actually off his shoulders, and you don't turn your back on Hillary Clinton until the convention adjourns . . . or--better yet--until Barack Obama takes the oath of office. If nothing else, she has earned that measure of terrified respect.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." From now until January 20th, that is also the price of political sanity.

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