Kathleen Parker

Hillary should have expressed herself differently -- we all have our days -- but she clearly wasn't invoking assassination as a campaign strategy. She was suggesting that the race is not over yet. Not only are there three remaining primaries, but the rules committee of the Democratic National Committee meets this weekend to decide whether to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan.

Undoubtedly, Hillary hopes that if delegates from those states are seated at the convention, her popular vote lead could convince superdelegates that she's the more electable candidate against John McCain.

Could anything still happen? That's the operative question, especially when the 30-member rules committee is divided between Clinton and Obama supporters. And especially given that some of those members could have possible conflicts of interest.

Harold Ickes -- former assistant chief of staff in the Clinton White House -- is a paid adviser to the Clinton campaign, for instance. As a committee member, Ickes originally voted to strip delegates from Florida and Michigan for holding early primaries. Now he argues that the delegates should be seated. His first vote was as a committee member, he has said. His position now presumably is as a Clinton adviser.

Which persona will prevail this weekend?

Likewise, committee member Eric Kleinfeld's law firm -- Ryan, Phillips, Utrecht & MacKinnon -- is general counsel for the Clinton campaign. Federal Election Commission reports show payments from the Clinton campaign to both Ickes and Kleinfeld's law firm. Records show that Ickes' voter databank company, Catalist, has been paid by both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

Conflicts of interest are commonplace in Washington, but the stakes this time are supremely high for Hillary.

In a letter to the New York Daily News published Sunday, Hillary said that she's still running "because my parents did not raise me to be a quitter."

What she didn't say is, why should she quit? Because her former subjects want her to? Lest some have forgotten, the queen does as the queen wishes.

Let them eat grits.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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