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Let’s assume for the sake of discussion, as do most “neutral” observers,
that it is virtually impossible for Senator Clinton to develop an overall lead over Senator Obama in the remaining primaries (she is likely to win them).
What could possibly motivate her to stay in the race now?
Yes, the Clinton’s are fighters, and yes, a great deal of mutual antipathy has developed between the two camps. But that’s not the real story – or at least the whole story.
Remember two key words here: “Tony Rezko” and “2012”.
The Democratic Party has begun to fracture just as victory is within its grasp. The most serious split is not – as many have argued – between the “identity politics” groups (here feminists vs. black Americans). The split is between the party’s “pink” activists (think anti-military “Code Pink” here) and its “true blue” plurality (think of the socially moderate, centrist patriots here). Hillary has appeared on the stage as a sort of neo-Scoop Jackson democrat -- leaving aside the obvious differences, she has staked out a much more robust national security profile than the Illinois Senator has and one at odds with the party’s internationalist left.
I believe that Hillary and her key advisors are thinking along two lines:
(1) Obama is on a pedestal so high that a single, unanticipated scandal could lead to a precipitate fall. It would be foolish in the extreme if Hillary had prematurely taken herself out of the game. The name of that potential scandal is Tony Rezko. [More on that in a minute.]
(2) Hillary and a number of Democratic Party insiders fear that Obama might lose so badly that congressional and senatorial seats will be lost – something like the McGovern debacle is not out of the question. So, in this scenario, Hillary is positioning herself for an “I told you so” rerun in 1012, one in which a John McCain becomes a single term president. An Obama victory in 2008 is not in Hillary’s interests.
For these reasons I would expect Senator Clinton to run this contest all the way to Denver.
Final arguments in a Chicago federal court (that of U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve) criminal trial will be delivered this Monday. The defendant, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a politically connected businessman, an influence-guy with his hands in Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and the state’s Teachers Retirement System Board, is accused of accepting a 3.5 million dollar payoff from an Iraqi born billionaire, arranging kickbacks from people and businesses dealing with the aforementioned boards and other fraud.
Any reasonably astute politician worth his or her political salt knew or should have known that close association with Mr. Rezko was likely to be toxic. Barak should have known better. If the Rev. Wright was Obama’s spiritual mentor, then it seems that Mr. Rezko was the young Obama’s influence and get-ahead mentor.
Although Barak’s name has only indirectly been mentioned in the trial, other reports have surfaced in the Chicago area news media about Obama’s new house. It seems that, as a newly elected US Senator, kindly Mr. Rekko gave the Obamas significant and thinly disguised “help” in that purchase. By several accounts the monetary value of that kindly assistance exceeded several hundred thousand dollars. If true, this would be a clear “no, no” for a sitting U. S. Senator.
I am dead certain that the Clintons have access sources close to the Rezko prosecution. If I were her, I’d not drop out of the presidential sweepstakes any time soon. The Clinton camp is waiting to see if Tony is convicted and whether he sings….