It’s your call, Hillary

Hillary? Hillary?

What? It’s 3 a.m.? Yes, I know that. Look, I’m sorry if I woke you up. But you said you were fine with 3 a.m. calls.

I’m calling because we have a serious crisis on our hands. And I thought of you immediately, because you’re right, you’re the only person who might be able to defuse the situation.

We’ve got a problem with John McCain, Hillary. Remember him? I know, you’ve been so busy lately trying to destroy Barack Obama that McCain probably slipped your mind. That’s why I had to call.


Hillary, listen: This country could be in serious danger if McCain becomes president. His national security policies are a recipe for endless conflagration, especially in the Middle East. Saying McCain’s a “hawk” is an understatement. McCain makes Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld look like cute little parakeets. No kidding. Remember “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran?” Ha ha.

No, no, you’re right, it wasn’t funny. And by the way, McCain says your Iraq strategy would constitute “surrender ... waving the white flag.”

What’s that? You don’t want to see McCain become president either?

Then withdraw from the Democratic race right now, Hillary.


Whoa! Don’t get so irritated. It’s just that the longer you stay in, the more help you give McCain and the right.

Stop being so mean? I’m not trying to be mean, Hillary. Please, get yourself another pillow if you want one. You’re smart and you’re tough, and you’ve blazed an important trail. But at 3 a.m. -- dark-night-of-the-soul time -- we need to be realistic.

Let’s do the math together. Do you want to go find a calculator? No? Sorry, of course you’re good at math.

OK -- so before this week’s primaries, Obama had 1,192 pledged delegates, and you had 1,036. On Tuesday, you won in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island, and MSNBC estimates that after the results have been fully tabulated, you’ll have eroded Obama’s original 156-delegate lead by ... somewhere between seven and 13 pledged delegates.


What? Oh sure, you did manage to regain some momentum. And yes, I probably wouldn’t even have called if it hadn’t been for those infamous “red phone” ads you’ve been running. They’re definitely effective ads, Hillary. By suggesting that Obama isn’t fit to be commander in chief, you do seem to have shifted the dynamic; exit polls suggest that Ohio and Texas voters who made up their minds at the last minute mostly opted for you.

So is that your campaign’s take-away here? That if you go all out to destroy Obama -- suggesting he’s weak on national security -- you’ll be able to eke out a few more victories in the primaries that lie ahead?

That’s what I was afraid you were thinking. Only a few months ago, you were accusing Obama of attacks on you that came “right out of the Republican playbook.” I should have figured you’d be studying that playbook yourself.


For the sake of your country, don’t do this. You’ve got 12 contests remaining before the Democratic convention, and given the complex proportional system for awarding delegates, you’ll have to win all 12 by 20-point margins just to break even with Obama in the pledged delegate counts. It’s not going to happen. (And don’t even think about Florida and Michigan. Trying to change the rules in the middle of the game will tear the Democratic Party in two.)

And as you chase after near-impossibilities, you’ll be running a campaign aimed at systematically destroying the reputation of your party’s front-runner -- the candidate who leads in the overall popular vote as well as the delegate count, the candidate who has shown an impressive ability to win the hearts of independents and even Republicans, the candidate who is attracting new voters in droves, the candidate who voters think stands the best chance of preventing Mr. “Bomb Bomb Iran” from becoming our next president and leading us into a future of endless war.

This week, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh urged Republicans to vote for you instead of McCain in Texas and Ohio -- because “Obama needs to be bloodied up. Look, half the country already hates Hillary. But nobody hates Obama yet. Hillary is going to be the one to have to bloody him up politically.”

You were right all along, Hillary: There is a vast right-wing conspiracy. The thing is, you’ve just become their not-so-secret weapon.

Here it is at last, Hillary, a genuine test of your ability to lead in a dangerous world. It’s too late for you to win the Democratic nomination -- but if you stay in the race, you can sure help Obama lose the White House.

What are you going to do?