A mythic race
Sporting a new beard, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a native of Pasadena, endorsed Barack Obama for president today. It was welcome news for Obama, who desperately needed the beasts in cable television to find something to feed on other than his old pastor's sermons. (The passport breaches uncovered by the Washington Times didn't hurt either.)
But does the Richardson endorsement matter? I don't ask as a way to evaluate Richardson's influence in Democratic politics. I ask as a way to evaluate whether there is even a Democratic primary battle going on anymore.
The boys at Politico call it the Clinton myth.
One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.
Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.
As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.
In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.
At what point does this assessment start to become conventional wisdom within the party? At what point does the Clinton camp hang it up?