And what were the Democrats up to when the Republicans were receiving the coordinates of a clear flight path? Heading straight toward each other. The Clinton campaign, defeated in Iowa and nearly in New Hampshire, scraping by in Nevada and expecting a clobbering in South Carolina, faced a choice between losing clean and winning ugly. What is amusing is that so many liberal commentators were surprised when the Clinton apparat, with the unhesitation of a shark, chose the latter option.
Bill Clinton and other Hillary Clinton surrogates got busy playing the race card against Barack Obama. They belittled his victory in South Carolina and profited from her victory in Florida -- Democratic Party rules forbade candidates to compete -- where elderly women, Latinos and Jews, all heavily pro-Clinton (or anti-Obama) constituencies, are heavily represented.
As they will be, to varying extents, in the Super Tuesday states, especially California. Extrapolating from all but one of the Florida results, Clinton will be the big winner there. The exception: Floridians making up their minds at the last minute were evenly split between Obama and Clinton.
Disgust over the Clintons' tactics has been a staple of liberal magazines and blogs and evidently inspired Edward Kennedy's endorsement of Obama. Political history mavens will recall that Kennedy, well after he had lost the 1980 nomination to Jimmy Carter, continued his campaign and bitter denunciations all the way to the national convention.
Will he urge such a course on Obama? Hillary Clinton may be content to win ugly. But she may find, as Carter did, that a crash on the runway is not an appealing spectacle.