Jonah Goldberg
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No, the real reason top Democrats are desperate to put an end to this thing might be because Clinton is validating all sorts of things Republicans will say about Obama if he's the nominee. For example, she said Obama's not ready to be president "on Day One" or receive emergency 3 a.m. phone calls on Night One. (Clinton's obsession with 3 a.m. phone calls seems bottomless - perhaps because of all those nights she got hang-up calls from Monica? Clinton just released a new ad in which she says John McCain won't be ready to handle a 3 a.m. call on housing foreclosures. My guess is he'll be plenty ready to scream at the idiot who thinks he should wake the president of United States in the middle of the night about something like that).

And when the Jeremiah Wright controversy was winding down, Clinton tried to reignite the firestorm by saying that Obama's choice of ministers is fair game.

This is a wonderful boon to Republicans. Clinton's criticisms of Obama's foreign-policy inexperience and his association with Wright are both perfectly legitimate. But if she weren't making them, Democrats (and much of the press) would denounce Republicans for saying the same things. If Obama had secured the nomination by now, the Democrats would surely be labeling any criticism over Jeremiah Wright as unfair, racist "swift-boating." That's hard to do when Bill and Hillary Clinton are making this criticism bipartisan.

As The New York Times' David Brooks has argued, the Clinton-Obama smackdown is destined to churn up a lot of identity-politics bile and reduce this contest to a race between the Very Liberal Woman and the Even More Liberal Black Guy. And the more Obama is seen as the lefty black candidate rather than the Pepsi candidate - i.e. a politician for a New Generation - the easier it will be for McCain to run as a truly bipartisan figure.

The old adage that if you're going to try to kill the king, you'd better succeed in killing him, applies to queens too. Obama failed to slay her Royal Highness Hillary, and now she's gunning for him. The problem is that she can't kill Obama either. And while one still has to bet on the Republicans losing in '08, the possibility that the Democratic nominee will be fatally wounded is improving with each passing day.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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