This Year's Kerry:
There's something transcendently, exquisitely, and pathetically stupid in the fact that Hillary Clinton is continuing her campaign. Really, the only reason it isn't completely over is that she won New Hampshire. Had she lost there, we would have been talking about Obama and unity and more. But she didn't and now her campaign is banking on the quixotic, Giuliani-like late convergence of Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania wins to make her pursuit of the nomination at least appear like it's not coming down to she and her husband calling in all the favors done for superdelegates.

(By the way, Texas deciding the future of the country? Goddamn, sometimes it aches that Molly Ivins ain't here tell us how insane this has become.)

Otherwise, that's all it is: stay in the race until the convention, Obama's momentum and wins be damned while the voters, whether in caucuses and primaries, can go fuck themselves, and then use the superdelegates to, in essence, barge into the convention and stop the democratic process through deals cut on the phone, through the Blackberry, in the nicotine-gum-stinking back rooms. Sure, it's all legit through the arcane rules of the Democratic party's nominating process, but it's a huge fuckin' weasel clause, so very Bush-like, so very Rovean, so very vast right-wing conspiracy.

Ultimately, though, beyond the Democrats' fucked-up nomination manual, beyond the tearing up of the party that Clinton seems to be willing to engage in on the way to the convention, even beyond the conservatives salivating at the prospect of a Clinton nomination or presidency (which they see as a means to re-invigorate a desolate Republican party), Clinton needs to stop because she lost. Because this time Democrats are going with their hearts and not their heads. And you know what? That's what's gonna win the presidency.

Four years ago, we were presented with a stark choice between Howard Dean and John Kerry (with poor John Edwards always the bridesmaid). Dean excited crowds, got young voters behind him, and was seen as a breath of fresh air to the whole process. He would have beaten Bush into the fuckin' ground. But the combination of Kerry's money and the press's evisceration of Dean post-Iowa made Democrats scramble for the safety of Kerry's long goddamn arms. Dean made us hot and sticky in places that were unfamiliar to us. "No, no," we cowered, "Dean makes us come too hard and makes us want to fuck again right away - we can't handle it." Luckily, John Kerry had made us soup to soothe our scared loins. And whether or not you think the 2004 election was stolen, it shouldn't have even been close.

Yeah, it's fucked up in any way to think of Hillary Clinton as the "safe" choice, being the first woman to have a shot at the presidency. But that's how she's portraying herself with her "Tested, Ready" line. She's the one who was in the White House for eight years (although, c'mon, while being First Lady shouldn't exclude one from running for president, neither is it really experience, like being the spouse of a member of the military doesn't mean you know what it means to shoot the enemy. Sorry - unless you're finger's on the trigger and the other soldier's in your sights, you only have vicarious experience) and eight years in the Senate, where her positions have veered from politically expedient to occasionally daring.

Clinton's crusade, and it is a crusade, is seeming less and less about anything other than demonstrating that she can win. What else can it be when she spins Obama's eight straight wins as meaningless? Hell, her ex-campaign manager said as much by using as an excuse for stepping down that she thought they'd be done after Super Tuesday. And when Clinton gently mocks Obama for the indefinite idea of "hope," well, she not only seems safe, she seems like another cranky old person wanting to piss on the party the youngsters are having.

Tomorrow: Sorry, it ain't sexist to oppose Clinton.