If these are the waning days of the Clinton era in Democratic politics, there's a certain symmetry to it all. Bill and Hillary Clinton are going out like they came in: Fighting -- vibrant, brash, indignant -- and seeming to thrive on the fact that the world appears aligned against them.
For a quiet end, this sure is noisy: Rounding out your holiday weekend are the RFK comment and its aftermath, Bill Clinton screaming something about a cover-up of polls "they" don't want you to see ("they're" at it again!), and early rumblings in advance of Clinton's last best shot to change the campaign dynamics -- Saturday's to-be-protested DNC meeting in Washington..
It will all be over soon -- we think. "When Hillary Rodham Clinton finally exits the 2008 Democratic presidential race, she will end a decades-long, power-couple streak of unique political energy, savvy ideas, colossal policy flops and raw ambition dressed in pants suits and briefs, not boxers," AP's Calvin Woodward writes. They won't be going far, and yet: "Soon, though, there will be no Clinton running for president or about to. Imagine that."
A week from today, the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee will have already spoken -- and so will all the voters in all the states and jurisdictions on the calendar. Then we count down as the superdelegates either continue their march until Obama's nomination is a mathematical certainty -- or the super-d's wholly and entirely reverse course and hand it to Clinton. (Place your bets.)
Obama is closing in fast on 2,026. "When the primaries end, I think, we'll be where we need to be," Obama strategist David Axelrod tells the New York Daily News' Michael Saul. "We'll be at the number we need to claim the nomination."
Yet: "One week from this evening, what will we be asking?" ABC's Jake Tapper asked on "Good Morning America" Tuesday. "We'll be saying what will Sen. Hillary Clinton do -- but the other key question . . . will be, has Barack Obama achieved the magic number to secure the nomination? Because in all likelihood, there will be a new magic number."
Adds ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "Next week this is almost certain to end. . . . Once these contests are done, you're going to see several dozen superdelegates go his way."
It should all be over soon. This political analysis brought to you by former President Jimmy Carter: "I think a lot of the superdelegates will make a decision quite, announced quite rapidly, after the final primary on June 3," he said over the weekend. "I have not yet announced publicly, but I think at that point it will be time for her to give it up."
Or maybe it won't be. This political analysis brought to you by former President Bill Clinton (tossing meat that's going to be hard to get back from inside the cage): "I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," he said in South Dakota Sunday, per ABC's Sarah Amos. "She will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."
By the numbers: Obama is now 51 delegates away from 2,026 (the current magic number). He is 202 delegates ahead of Clinton, per ABC's delegate scorecard.