One other thing, that I didn’t add in my essay below — for interests of time and (some) brevity: what should Sen. Obama do?
Hell, that’s simple: act as if he’s the nominee, because in all likelihood, he is.
There’s nothing in the playbook that says that he needs to humor her and her campaign — at this point, they’re not going to win, and if they do win, it’ll be a worthless nomination, one that will destroy the Democratic Party’s coalition.
At this point in time, as referenced in the interview below, they’re going to ignore every election result between now and June 3rd, and they’re putting all their hopes on the political equivalent of a three-point bank shot from the upper deck — I’m not joking, that’s really how much of a shot they have at seating the Florida and Michigan delegations as is.
Forget some kind of deal, they want the delegations seated as is — because that’s the only shot they have at winning the nomination.
And get this — if they lose in the credentials committee, it’s not over! Nosirree bob, nope — their next move will likely be to fight it out on the floor of the convention. Only then, assuming they lose, which they most likely will, will the primary fight come to an end.
How do I know this? Because the guy who’s running Sen. Clinton’s delegate operation, Harold Ickes, did the same thing for Ted Kennedy in 1980…the last time a Democratic primary fight went to the convention.
So what’s Sen. Obama to do, assuming that the super-delegates don’t become super heroes and save us all?
Start acting as if he’s the nominee. Do it. Put together a vice-presidential search team, then, maybe, go and name a running-mate. Start planning for the general election.
Meanwhile, start treating Sen. Clinton as a sideshow. Make it abundantly clear that, at this point, she’s potentially the Democratic version of Ralph Nader — if Democrats lose this year, it’s her fault. If the party becomes fractured, it’s her fault.
Part of the reason this election has the potential to last another five months is because there’s currently no downside to her in making it last that long. His campaign should create that downside. They should make her campaign’s decision to extend the primary all summer the costliest decision in all of Presidential political history. They should isolate her from every possible base of support — maybe say something like this:
“We’d love to unite the party behind us, but Sen. Clinton is persisting in continuing this fight. We’ve made every attempt to include her, but she’s chosen to fight us instead. We want to bring everyone together to beat John McCain in the fall, but she wants to sacrifice our control of Congress and our chance at winning the White House to her desire to win.
“We want to win with her, but no one person is greater than the Democratic Party we all support. Now’s the time for her to unite with us so that we can bring jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and end this war in Iraq that’s sapping our national resolve and draining our national treasure. While the choice is hers as to whether she joins us, the choice is ours as to whether we move on from this primary in order to defeat Sen. McCain and make the promise of American life a reality for those that the promise has left behind.”