Veteran Newsweek writer Jonathan Alter captured the spirit in a column calling on her to drop out before Texas and Ohio. She could "go down classy, with a real chance of redemption." Nothing would so suit her, in other words, like being out of the way.
He's cool; she's clunky. He's a natural; she's workmanlike. He's the hot, fresh thing; she's been "fighting for change" for 35 very long years. For all that, Hillary is a serious person afflicted, as she put it once, with "a responsibility gene." Politicians rightly earn our scorn, but their most admirable quality is to keep going when they are contemned and condescended to, when all the great and good turn their backs.
It is a sign of her diminishment that all Hillary has left are the voters, especially those unglamorous voters who aren't young or rich or independent, but working-class Democrats without the time or inclination to stand so long at Obama rallies that they faint in the middle of his speeches. If Hillary hangs on in Texas or Ohio, it will be because they doubted whether a novice senator who burst onto the national scene the day before yesterday has the experience to be commander in chief and found that Hillary spoke more convincingly to their economic anxieties.
Even if Hillary wins Texas or Ohio, she'll remain behind in pledged delegates and can prevail only if superdelegates become convinced Obama is fatally flawed. But she'll have the standing to stay in the race, as inconvenient as ever.