Last Rites for Hillary?

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 24, 2008; 10:45 AM

I guess I can go ahead and take that vacation now.

The Democratic race is apparently over. As in history, finis, kaput.

Those of us who keep writing about it are said to be misguided, while the Clintonites staging their daily conference calls are just, I don't know, in denial.

That's the conclusion of some smart political writers: that the rest of us in the media are just pretending there's still a viable race.

This was prompted, I suppose, by the collapse of party efforts to stage do-overs in Florida and Michigan, which might have given Hillary Clinton a chance to make up some ground. And Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama on Friday could be seen as icing on the cake.

Remember when the media wrote off Hillary after Iowa, and again during the 10-state losing streak on the way to Ohio and Texas? Well, this time they really mean it.

Now I'm not going to contend that Hillary has a great chance to win the nomination. She'll clearly finish behind in pledged delegates, and even the delegates with super powers are going to find that awfully hard to overturn.

But what if she finishes the season with a series of big wins, beginning in Pennsylvania? And if more doubts are raised about Obama? Could party insiders have second thoughts?

I like political writers who are blunt and candid, but I'm not sure it's our place to declare a presidential contest over. Maybe they're right. We'll have to see.

At Politico, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen say the media are engaging in make-believe:

"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.

"Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote -- which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle -- and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

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