I’ve really stayed out of the Presidential candidate frenzy except for a few posts here and there which were critical of both Obama (and his supporters) as well as Clinton (and her supporters) over specific actions or accusations, so it is quite ironic to me that I would feel the need to write a diary about something that one of them said - let alone something that was most definitely not with nearly as much malice or disingenuousness as pretty much every thing that has come out of John McCain’s mouth.
So, while it is not surprising for me to be offering up this "Captain Obvious" observation - I am not going to be doing it with outrage, as both Delaware Dem and Keith Olbermann did over the past day, but with a just as obvious thought.
And while many many people have given their opinion as to why she said this, what she may or may not have meant, whether she actually thought this, or whether her apology should have been more direct or even directed to Obama and his family, it is much more basic than that - so basic that I am not going to even offer up my opinion of her comments or even analyze why she said it, who she pissed of the most and whether the outrage is as deserved as it is.
This is her "Dean scream" moment. This is her "I voted against it before I voted for it" moment. This is, as chiefsjen says below, her "macaca" moment. She can’t recover from this - even if she actually gave the most heartfelt apology and retraction and clarification and innocent explanation that she has ever given.
This is the kind of moment that the corporate media has been waiting for in order to bury either hers or Obama’s campaign. And they now have something that will be the "defining moment" of the final phase for the campaign. Oh sure, she has been built up time and time again (think New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and whatever else I forgot), only to be gleefully torn apart as she faltered (or was even perceived to falter) by people like Chris Matthews and his talking meatstick counterparts.
It doesn’t matter if she said something that was on her mind that never should have been said.
It doesn’t matter if this was more callous, more calculating or more thoughtless than anything else that she or her surrogates may have said or hinted over the course of the campaign.
It doesn’t matter that Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer this week, or that the comment was about RFK, JFK or MLK.
It doesn’t matter if she was truly trying to invoke history and picked a very poor example.
It doesn’t matter if she admitted that she was very tired and that it was an incredibly stupid or insensitive thing to say.
It doesn’t matter, at this point, if her supporters will be alienated by what she said - especially since most of those supporters have already voted and/or donated to her campaign.
What matters, sadly but true, is that she has now been officially declared "done" with the one moment that can be played over and over and over and over.
Sure, her campaign is hemorrhaging money. And sure, superdelegates are committing to Obama over her pretty much every day. And sure, her Michigan and Florida arguments are so patently transparent that even people in Florida know it. And sure, the whole "poplar vote" theory isn’t even being given any credence by anyone who is being the least bit objective. And sure (just for good measure), there are threats (empty, in my opinion) that she better be the Vice Presidential candidate - a sign that her camp knows that the end is near. But after this, even if she stays in past June, she and her campaign will be largely ignored (and quite possibly mocked by many).
Obama will not focus on her. McCain will not focus on her. And the corporate media will not focus on her. And yes, Obama has started to focus on McCain at her expense, just as the corporate media has started to focus on the fact that she can’t win enough delegates to get the nomination. .
Right, wrong or other - this is what will ultimately end her campaign - whether it be a slow, painful end that will never really result in her conceding to Obama or an announcement over the next few days due to internal pressure. She is very resilient and has come back from what may be worse gaffes, worse positions or worse actions by her or her husband or her top aides.
But that is because she was also given the leeway and was allowed to continue for the benefit of her campaign, to the benefit of the media narrative (so they have something to talk amongst themselves about) and to the campaign of the republicans who have a 20 year dossier on her.
There is no longer a need for her campaign in this narrative. She is no longer viewed as a serious and credible candidate at this point in the primary process by those who kept her candidacy alive and pumped up for the past few weeks.
She can realize this and bow out with whatever dignity she has left, or she can continue on and become a caricature of the serious candidate and groundbreaking campaign she set out to run.
But either way, she is done.