A friend wrote to me today with the following theory:
Clinton knows/thinks she's gonna lose the nomination but wants to hurt Obama's chances in November. If McCain beats Obama, Hillary runs again in four years, running on the platform that we should have elected her last time. If Obama wins, she basically won't have a chance to run again. She'll be ancient history after eight years of Obama. If Hillary wins in four years, Obama is shut out for at least 12 years.
I said that it seems possible--and that I wouldn't put it past her campaign--but I doubt we'll ever be able to confirm something like that. It is interesting, though. Especially in the context of David Brooks's Op-Ed in today's Times
, which ends this way:
The only question is whether Clinton herself can step outside the apparatus [of her campaign] long enough to turn it off and withdraw voluntarily or whether she will force the rest of her party to intervene and jam the gears.
If she does the former, she would surprise everybody with a display of self-sacrifice. Her campaign would cruise along at a lower register until North Carolina, then use that as an occasion to withdraw. If she does not, she would soldier on doggedly, taking down as many allies as necessary.