It seems clear to me that Team Clinton is having message control issues this AM.
What we are seeing here is Clinton camp infighting, I do believe.
Some days, it is almost like many of you have completely and totally forgotten the Clinton modus operandi, and never lived through the 90’s or this campaign. What we are seeing is what the Clinton family does best- create confusion while they figure out what the best deal is for them. Trust me- as a Republican during the 90’s, it was maddening (particularly when you factor in the fact that the GOP was not exactly chock full of honest brokers).
There are several things at play here. First, the reality that Clinton is not going to win the nomination. Second, the reality that this signals the end of Clinton dominance of the Democratic party (though anyone who thinks they are now irrelevant is both wrong and stupid). Third, the notion that the Clintons do not want to cede control. Fourth, the fact that the only real political power the Clinton family has left (Bill remains a popular ex-President, Hillary is a junior senator from New York) is the support of their voting bloc, who have remained quite loyal to them. Finally, the desire to do as well as they can in the elections today to shore up their last bargaining chip.
The Clintons know they will not win the nomination, so they are now not so quietly sending a clear message- we still matter.
They know they do not have the nomination for now, but you need them more than they need you, and, well, things can happen. And, quite frankly, it would be stupid to push the Clintons. Although I get tired of the notion that Hillary is a bomb that needs to be defused (something Hilzoy discussed a few days ago), the Clintons are going to be a major asset to the Obama election efforts, and there really is no need to push them. Don’t be fooled by what is going on today, but there is no need to antagonize them.
While morons in the blogosphere will claim it is up to Obama to unite the party, the person who is really going to have to do much of the leg work uniting the party is Hillary- they know that, and they are letting us know it. Once again, Rahm Emanuel:
“The way the loser loses,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who is close to both candidates but has made no endorsement, “will determine whether the winner wins in November.”
Don’t get too worked up about what Clinton does the next few days, just give them and their voters some space and time.
*** Update ***
Chuck Todd just made an interesting point- notice how team Clinton is managing to make tonight about her, when really, tonight should be about Obama, the nominee.