When does fighting for the nomination in 2008 end and seeking to sabotoge Obama’s chances in November to keep her options alive for 2012 begin? Doubts about Hillary’s motivation are going to keep on growing with each inconclusive primary. After she loses North Carolina and fails to carry Indiana by any significant margin (North Carolina has twice as many delegates as Indiana), people will begin to wonder out loud about why she is staying in the race. And if she remains obdurate after the last votes are cast on June 3rd, it will become an increasingly accepted presumption that she is running a campaign of sabotage against Obama.
There is a way to run without waging a scorched earth campaign. Mike Huckabee continued to fight for the Republican nomination until McCain reached the magic number to clench the battle and did not attack McCain. He waged a positive campaign and exercised his right to stay in the contest as long as it was undecided without hurting the party’s chances in November. Obviously, Huckabee could have attacked McCain and drawn more votes for his candidacy, but, in the interests of party victory, he chose not to do so.
Why isn’t Hillary making the same choice?
In 2004, it is pretty obvious that Hillary did nothing to help John Kerry beyond giving a speech at the convention and waging a token campaign on his behalf. Bill did even less. Their goal was obvious: they wanted Kerry to lose to Bush so that Hillary could run in 2008. Is she playing the same game now? Only time will tell.