Hillary is attracting the votes of cops, firefighters, construction workers, union members. Are they in love with Hillary? They can’t stand her. But they are terrified of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and the various influences to which Obama seems to be subject. By playing on those fears, Hillary is undermining Obama’s ability to get elected.
This is not a byproduct of her continued candidacy — it is the goal. She, the consummate realist, must know that she has no practical shot at the nomination herself after her numbing loss in North Carolina and her paper-thin margin in Indiana. But she welcomes the opportunity an ongoing candidacy offers to bash Obama and to drive a wedge between him and the voters he must have to beat McCain.
The question is how long Democratic primary voters and the party leadership let her go on hitting their ultimate nominee. Will they bring Hillary up short and speak out about the harm she is doing to their party’s prospects by way of her refusal to recognize reality?
Hillary doesn’t have to pull out. She is entitled to run in the remaining states. But she should curtail her negative campaign and adopt the Huckabee strategy: Maximize your own vote share, but don’t beat up the party’s nominee. Unless, of course, that is her goal all along.