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Friday, March 28, 2008

Tick, Tick, Tick

posted by on March 28 at 8:41 AM

Slate launches the Hillary Clinton Deathwatch.

Hillary Clinton is as good as dead. This became the consensus over the past week, when the media awoke en masse to the dual reality that 1) Clinton can’t close the pledged-delegate gap and 2) Obama has her beat in the popular vote. But the Clinton campaign shows no signs of slowing—she said herself she’s prepared to compete for at least three more months. So the question now is not just “How dead is she?” but “When will she realize it?”

In the tradition of Slate’s Saddameter (gauging the likelihood of invading Iraq), the Clintometer (measuring the chances of a Lewinsky-related ousting), and the Gonzo-meter (charting the attorney general’s demise), we bring you the Hillary Deathwatch, a daily update on Hillary Clinton’s dwindling chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

Slate puts Hillary’s chances of winning the nomination at 12%—unfair? Those odds are better than the odds given by a Clinton campaign staffer last week. But Clinton is threatening to stay in the race for another three months—because, hey, if this mehadist can’t have the White House, no one can.

Well, no other Democrat can.

RSS icon Comments


I'm not ready to give up on her! I *knew* she should never have changed her name just to get Bill elected. Damn her DAMN her! Guess it's inevitable though. Black men have always preceded (white) women on the political front. That's got to reflect our puritanical roots in some way. Maybe there's a puritan gene those gay scientists can isolate next.

Posted by idaho | March 28, 2008 8:55 AM

I gave up on her roughly 13 hours before the Washington caucus, but I'm still for her! (And how!)

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 28, 2008 9:06 AM

I think Maureen Dowd was spot on last week:

"It’s impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama’s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams."

Maureen can be a bit much, I think she hits it on the head...

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | March 28, 2008 9:08 AM

I think Maureen Dowd was spot on last week:

"It’s impossible to imagine The Terminator, as a former aide calls her, giving up. Unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama’s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams."

Maureen can be a bit much, I think she hits it on the head...

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | March 28, 2008 9:09 AM

Damn! I blame the new layout for the double post.

And there should be a "but" in my last sentence up there.

Carry on.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | March 28, 2008 9:14 AM

Maybe weeks and weeks of everyone saying she has no chance will slowly acclimate her base to the idea, and they won't feel like they were robbed. Instead of having their dreams snatched away, they can stare at the writing on the wall and like, go through the seven deadly stages of grief or whatever one does when one is getting over shit. Finally bed that campaign staffer you had your eye on but didn't want to distract from the goal.

For that to work Hillary and Obama would have to shift into classy mode and stay there to the end, but it could be done.

Posted by elenchos | March 28, 2008 9:17 AM

that ticking is the countdown to ECB's head exploding.

Posted by Mike in MO | March 28, 2008 9:18 AM

I've been ready for her to quit for well over a year. But she'll drag it out.

Posted by monkey | March 28, 2008 9:20 AM

Whatever haters. This is just the latest desperate ploy by the Stranger staffers. The more you indulge in your odd delusion that Obama might be on the top of the dem ticket, the more confident I become that Hillary will win this thing.

As I've said before, the sups will get together in June and broker a deal whereby Hilary will be on top and Obama will be on bottom. You all know in your heart of hearts that this is true. If there was ever a man born to be VP, it was Obama.

Posted by fluteprof | March 28, 2008 9:23 AM

@1 - Why do we have to attribute it to some sort of "black men preceding white woman?" I, for one, like what Obama says more than I like what HRC says. Many are disturbed by her vote for the war.

She just not the majorities choice (so far) regardless of her sex.

Posted by Mikeblanco | March 28, 2008 9:24 AM

The longer HRC sticks around, the shorter the time frame for the McCain/Obama match, and the longer the Obama-ites have to actually form a real strategy against the Republicans, not just an IV drip of optimism for another eight months. I like Obama (as i like HRC), but I fear I will get tired of the kind of race he runs long before November, and that he runs the risk of descending into non-sequitur-ville before this thing runs itself out. Let Obama rest for a few months while Hillary exhausts herself (while we all rest from chants of "yes we can") and then we can really get on with it.

Posted by el | March 28, 2008 9:24 AM

Everyday, a little bit more of my support for Hillary erodes. I started out for Edwards, then have been kind of agnostic when it comes to the choice between Obama and Clinton. But now I feel like the my choice is becoming clearer.

I especially don't like Hillary's aligning herself with McCain. To me, it shows a selfishness and baseness that weakens the party and puts us in a bad position come the general election.

Posted by ahava | March 28, 2008 9:25 AM

Good lord @1, can't we all just agree, whatever our affiliation, that nobody in their right mind voted for (or against) either Hillary or Barack because of race or gender? No matter what slog trolls or MSM trolls say, identity politics matter less in this race than ever.

Posted by David | March 28, 2008 9:26 AM

I'm stuck in Lovington NM, on the TX border for a few days and had the pleasure of watching Fox News last night talk about "them" (democrats). They were pretty much saying the exact same thing, except, you know, with pizazz. I hate the others.

Posted by catnextdoor | March 28, 2008 9:27 AM

Hopefully the media and everyone else is finally going to wake up to what's been obvious for months: Hillary CAN NOT WIN. The best she can hope for (that %12), is a Pyhrric victory that will send the party down in flames and pave a cakewalk to the White House for McCain. The media, the party, and the superdelegates are all complicit in this because they're all so scared of crossing the Clintons that they've been feeding into the bullshit campaign narrative that this is a back-and-forth, neck-and-neck race, when the reality is that Obama has an insurmountable lead and has had one since February. The biggest example of this is when Clinton "revived" her campaign with victories in Ohio and (I guess) Texas despite the fact that she pulled no closer in the delegate count (or even lost ground). Just because Hillary refuses to accept that she lost doesn't mean that the everyone else has to play along. Only the Democrats could blow this sure-thing election. And I don't want to be too much of a conspiracy theorist, but it's starting to look like Clinton's campaigning for 2012 already. Please, please, make it end!

Posted by Mr Me | March 28, 2008 9:27 AM

Do the Democrats still think they are going to win in November? Even if Hillary dropped out now the party is too damaged and divided to win in November. The damage IS DONE ALREADY!! Start dealing with President McCain.

Posted by Andrew | March 28, 2008 9:33 AM

Bah, this is only going to make the Clintonistas dig in even further. Expect poll data to emerge showing that 50% of Clinton supporters will vote McCain if Obama wins. I just hope the tantrum ends and sanity returns long before November.

Posted by tsm | March 28, 2008 9:35 AM

From Fluteproof @9 -- "As I've said before, the sups will get together in June and broker a deal whereby Hilary will be on top and Obama will be on bottom. You all know in your heart of hearts that this is true. If there was ever a man born to be VP, it was Obama."

Not true for two reasons 1.) No presidential candidate can tolerate being upstaged by their VP candidate -- Obama's so much more articulate and thoughtful than Hillary, the comparison throughout the campaign would be too painful. And 2.) Hillary's VP would inevitably play second fiddle to Bill, and nobody of Obama's talent and stature would stand for that. In sum, re the dream ticket: It Ain't Agonna Happen!

Posted by Perfect Voter | March 28, 2008 9:36 AM

I just wish I knew what precisely she's trying to prove by staying in the race at this point. Does anyone really know? Sven? Erica? Anyone?

Posted by Hernandez | March 28, 2008 9:37 AM

If Clinton thinks she can win. then she should let us know how. Her opponent released a spreadsheet, quite a while back.

Posted by David R. | March 28, 2008 9:42 AM

The only problem with your theory, fluteprof, is that the superdelegates are mostly for Obama. They're going to WIDEN his pledged delegate lead, not reverse it.

Posted by Fnarf | March 28, 2008 9:43 AM

I love Slate, but the last time they had a "deathwatch" for Alberto Gonzales stuck around for so long that they gave up and called it off before he ultimately resigned.

Posted by Curtains | March 28, 2008 9:46 AM

Does anyone else think the phrase "deathwatch" is a bit...harsh? She's not going to be executed if she doesn't get the nomination.

Posted by j4zz3rgrl | March 28, 2008 9:47 AM

fluteprof is in denial.

Posted by McCain/Crist '08! | March 28, 2008 9:55 AM

fluteprof @9: Superdelegates are already supporting Obama right now, and those who publicly supported Hillary are backpedaling. You don't need to make wild predictions; this is happening in the present. There are many articles backing this up. If you're so confident in your presumption, then cite your sources.

Posted by JC | March 28, 2008 9:57 AM

Politico is the left wing Drudge anti-Clinton rag. Most every delegate stealing, underhanded action or any negative Clinton story with unnamed staffers comes from them.

Neither Clinton nor Obama will have won the necessary delegates to get over the top without super-delegates. The supers can vote any way they want witness Kennedy, Kerry and Richardson.

This media buying in to the Obama spin has been a thing to behold.

Without some bad news for Obama he will win the nomination. I will vote against the Republicans no matter what, but this "it's over camapign" by the Obama supporters is damaging the party and his chances. His campaign should have taken the high road for all the months he's had it in the bag.

Since it is a sure thing, why don't Obama supporters just say neutral to nice things about Hil and Bill and talk about bring back all the good parts of their 8 years?

Posted by McG | March 28, 2008 10:10 AM

@26 Oh please! If he were to do that you and all the other Clintonistas would be saying, "If he can't respond to Hillary's righteous critisism how can he respond to the GOP smear machine?"

Posted by Mikeblanco | March 28, 2008 10:22 AM

I'm sure Obama's presence on The View today will seal the deal and Hillary will be out of the race before dinner time.

Posted by Suz | March 28, 2008 10:23 AM

I'm voting for the rapist wombat. Far more principled than Hillary and her hench-goons.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | March 28, 2008 10:25 AM


You know in your heart of hearts that your harping is a sign of desperation and that you are merely pointing the finger at others to deflect attention from your own desperation.

Obama is the nominee. Get used to it.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 28, 2008 10:34 AM

How convenient for you all if this woman, who has spent the past two years of her life and a river of money seeking her party's nomination, would just roll over and die. Because you're sooo tired. Like you've been doing all the speeching, the debating, the pants-suit wearing. You've been slogging, and we all know how fatiguing that can be.

Once again: Prior to the first ballot at the Dem convention in LA (July 1960), no one but Humphrey had dropped out, especially LBJ who went on to take the VP spot with JFK.

It's like the Olympics - Hill and the Big O are speed-swimming (or whatever those cute Speedo boys do): Obama is 3 seconds ahead in the sixth lap. Should Hillary just stop swimming because you all are so tired?

BTW: That is a Rhett Oracle question so I don't expect an answer - at least one that makes much sense.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | March 28, 2008 10:41 AM

until clinton announces she's done, it's not over. it seems that when the general opinion is that clinton is down, she does even better at the next primary.

Posted by infrequent | March 28, 2008 10:49 AM

Keep dreaming, Rhett. You're only three seconds behind! Well, OK, three minutes. And the finish line is only four minutes away. But sure, you still have a chance.

Posted by Fnarf | March 28, 2008 10:53 AM


Now that's just retarded. With Hillary there is an actual time line, not just the whim of an inept chief executive. A Slate death watch is about as risky as a Democrat who endorses the only guy, excuse me, person, left in the race.

Posted by el | March 28, 2008 10:54 AM

Hillary campaign is basically hoping for "Mission Obama Delegate Flake" i.e. when people who are pledged Obama delegates across the U.S. all of a sudden flake out on meetings to allow to move on to the convention, or concede to a higher delegate. This can happen to Clinton delegates too, mind you.

This kinda happened in Colorado in one phase, where Obama lost more delegates this way to Clinton. However, the chances of this happening to such a large degree that Clinton overtakes Obama is really slim.

Still, this may be worth mentioning.

Posted by mackro mackro | March 28, 2008 10:56 AM

Dedicated to all exhausted Obamatrons, angry with Hillary for her wilful refusal to pack it in so that they can get back to regular programming:

I'm tired,
tired of playing the game,
ain't it a crying shame?
I'm so tired,
God dammit I'm tired!

Posted by LILLY VON SHTUP | March 28, 2008 10:57 AM

Yesterday, I was talking politics with someone at a bar, and I actually gave Hillary a 2% chance of winning. So I think 12% is actually a little high.

I don't even know if she has a 2% shot at this point.

It sucks, and I'm disappointed, but at some point you have to throw your hands up in the air, and admit you lost. And I'm woman enough to do that.

I thought Barack did a good job with his speech on race. It definitely endeared me to him in a way that I hadn't felt for months. I don't love him, but I've said for a long time that he was a good second choice.

That said, I think Clinton is certainly entitled to keep running he campaign should she choose. Someone asked why she's still running. Here's my opinion. She's at the point where most of her chips are in the pot. At this point she can choose to go all in, or go home. Now, I, as a donor to her campaign, chose to go home, because frankly I think at this point the chances of her winning are so low that it makes sense for me to send that money to Amnesty International or the ACLU or Planned Parenthood instead. But for her? She's already put so much at stake, that why not just go all in? At this point she has nothing to lose. So she might as well continue until June. At which point Barack will almost certainly be our nominee.

Posted by arduous | March 28, 2008 11:03 AM

i want her to stay in it. i just don't want any more party division to result. so, with such a slim chance of winning, don't quit. but if the only way she thinks she can proceed is to trash obaman, she needs to quit.

Posted by infrequent | March 28, 2008 11:10 AM

@33 - Phnarph: I knew my faulty time-line sports analogy would not fly, but nevertheless, you're saying Hillary should quit now because:

a) she could be a unifying force;
b) she could spend more time with Erica;
c) such a move would show some class;
d) bowing to the inevitable will be good for her character;
e) it would make Swill of Seattle, Ellen Cos and you smugly happy.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | March 28, 2008 11:18 AM

Rhett, your swim analogy is faulty for another reason: your opponent isn't damaged by how you choose to swim in a race. It's more like a boxing match. With another one immediately following it, the result of which we all have a great deal at stake. I don't care to see whomever goes in - and it's almost certainly Obama, face it - going in too bloodied. (Also a bad analogy, but a better one.)

Posted by tsm | March 28, 2008 11:30 AM

Intrade is going 79.5 to 19.4 for Obama over Clinton. Seems like a fairer assessment than 12%.

I feel bad for people that bought shares in Hillary last fall...

#12, I think you describe me pretty well.

#16, you gotta be kidding. Any division--percieved mostly by non-Dems in the form of wishful thinking (case in point: you)--will pass by November. The "20%ers" are just stubborn supporters of their candidate of choice. I'm calling their bluff. Democrats *will* rally around the nominee to stop a third Bush term.

Any "damage" you think has been done will be old news by then. Crazy pastors? Republicans have those in droves. Clinton saying McCain would be a more qualified president than Obama? As if independents use Hillary as their personal political advisor?

Fact: McCain is a schnooze, a flip-flopper, and an admitted economic hack. Fact: economy will be the #1 or #2 issue in this election. The fact that he mentions that he has Greenspan's book is proof that he'll stack his economic advisers with More of the Same (Arthur B. Laffer). Supply-side failed, thanks. Next.

Posted by w7ngman | March 28, 2008 11:30 AM

she's entitled to stay in the race, but she needs to stop pretending there is a way for her to win it that isn't the political equivalent of taking a big fat dump on the democratic process. call me crazy, but the idea of a bunch of "party insiders" over-riding the will of the voting public seems a little corrupt.

it would be nice of her to explain why she's staying in, but of course she doesn't have to. but it would be nice to know what's driving her at this point. i'm curious. aren't you?

Posted by brandon | March 28, 2008 11:33 AM

12 percent?

I would have put it in the 3 to 6 percent range, actually.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 28, 2008 11:54 AM

I would have preferred a clock like the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists over a percentage. It's much more dramatic.

Posted by Dave Coffman | March 28, 2008 12:17 PM

@44: how about a picture with her slowly fading out of it, like in back to the future?

Posted by skye | March 28, 2008 3:33 PM

The only plausible explanation for her staying in the race is she is hoping Obama will implode, because it is inconceivable to her that anyone doesn't have a closet full of skeletons waiting to tumble out. Her only chance of winning is in that case, by default - and she cannot win a general election, because so few Americans can even stand to look at her without their blood boiling. Anyone else would have bailed at this point, but her ambition is so singular and so ruthless that she will not do so until a significant number of superdelegates approach her privately and tell her she is making herself persona non grata with the party powerful by continuing any longer. I think that meeting is about four days away.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | March 28, 2008 4:50 PM

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