Still After the Holy Grail

The battle for the Democratic party's presidential nomination continued Tuesday as Oregon and Kentucky primary results flowed in.
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MAYSVILLE, Ky. Black Knight: "I move for no man." King Arthur: "So be it." (Chops off knight's left arm). Black Knight: " 'Tis but a scratch."

It's Day 13 of the Clinton Campaign Death Watch, nearly two weeks since Tim Russert declared Barack Obama the Democratic winner.

When last we caught up with our heroine, Hillary Clinton's plight was compared to the Monty Python routine in which a pet-shop owner insists that a dead parrot is still alive. Clinton loyalists disputed the comparison, while some scholars searched the literature and proposed a different Pythonian model: the Black Knight, who valiantly defends his bridge after losing all four of his limbs.

So let us return to brave Knight Clinton. On Tuesday night, Obama will clinch the majority of regular delegates for the Democratic nomination; he's also pulled ahead in superdelegates and secured John Edwards's endorsement. But Clinton duels on.

The woman who would restore the reign of the Clintons is here in a high school gym that proclaims itself to be "Home of the Lady Royals." She enters the room to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' ": "Some will win, some will lose/Some are born to sing the blues/And the movie never ends/It goes on and on and on and on."

"We're here in a gym," Clinton correctly observes. "It's not enough to play defense. We need to score." But how? She takes a shot. "More people have voted for me than have voted for my opponent," she says, adding in Michigan, where Obama wasn't on the ballot.

She shoots again, this time using the unreal conditional: "If we had the same rules as the Republicans, I would be the nominee right now." She rebounds and fires another: "The states I have won total 300 electoral votes. My opponent has won states totaling 217 electoral votes." If only electoral votes were awarded in the primaries.

* * *

King Arthur: "A scratch? Your arm's off!"

Black Knight: "I've had worse . . . Come on, you pansy." (Arthur chops off the knight's other arm).

In Oregon on Sunday, Obama packed in more than 70,000 people for a rally. In the gym in Maysville, there are 400. The demographics reflect Clinton's base in this race: mostly white, mostly women, mostly old.

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