Amid the delegate count and the popular vote, campaign debts and wounded egos, the biggest single obstacle facing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is fatigue.
There's fatigue for her and her staff, as a race that was supposed be over two months ago marches wearily forward with no end in sight.
There's fatigue with the Clintons, the Obama-fueling sense of being ready to move on from a first family of Democratic politics that's been less than perfect as a steward of party fortunes.
There's fatigue with the campaign as a whole -- a sentiment that may be spilling into polls and (more importantly) could have a corrosive effect on superdelegates.
And there's fatigue of messaging, as a campaign that's consistently trailed in efforts to inspire voters looks for a way to make the race about something big -- anything to change the discussion in this non-voting interregnum that's looking like a slow, painful bleed.
Those were jokes, of course (and it's good to know she's got the energy to run up those steps), but consider this: Clinton's serious argument for staying in the race when she's down for good in the delegate count is, at bottom, about votes for voting's sake.
"The last time that we were told we'd better cut the process short or the sky would fall was when the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in 2000," Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams wrote in a memo released Tuesday. "But Chicken Little was wrong. What was true then is true now: there is nothing to fear -- and everything to gain – from hearing from all of the voters."
Invoking Florida is "a ratcheting-up of rhetoric in the ongoing debate over whether the New York Senator's candidacy is hindering Democrats' chances of winning back the White House," Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza writes.
"Choosing to compare the pressure Clinton is coming under to end her candidacy with the pressure on Gore to do the same in 2000 is sure to inflame the passions -- for good and for ill."
"In fact, they're the ones who need the imperfect, undemocratic system -- the superdelegates -- to bail them out," Slate's Christopher Beam writes. "Unless superdelegates push Clinton up and over Obama's inevitable pledged delegate lead, she can't win. . . . So really, if the 2008 Democratic primaries are the 2000 Florida debacle, then Clinton is Bush."
"It seems as if the Clinton strategy is to focus the campaign on campaigning," Steve Benen writes at the Carpetbagger Report.
"Given the microphone, Clinton is using it to talk about how important it is that she keep getting the microphone. . . . But that's not a compelling campaign pitch; in fact, it's hardly a pitch at all. There's no reason to keep talking about why the race should continue; the race is continuing by virtue of Clinton's ongoing efforts."
Yes, Rocky got up the stairs of the Art Museum in Philadelphia, but -- as ABC's Jake Tapper (a Philly boy) reminds us -- "Rocky lost." (Also, recall for us again who the champ was at the beginning of this movie? That's not even mentioning the progressively worse Stallone efforts that were the five sequels. . . . )