Many of us who thought Hillary had the momentum to pull yet another surprise this past Tuesday are perhaps as surprised as the candidate herself that she was finally unable to. It is interesting that once again, as in 2004, as in 1948, poll (in this case, the ones which showed the race narrowing drastically in North Carolina) were so wrong. It appears, however, that even Hillary believed them.
There are numerous opinions on what went wrong for her --some say her support of the suspending the gasoline tax (truly a bit clod-footed for such an adept campaigner) did her in, others that the Jeremiah Wright thing had simply played itself out.
In any event, striding and beaming his way through Capitol Hill the other day, Obama now looks like the candidate, for the first time. Hillary needs to make an exit within the next few weeks, and most people think that right now she should be negotiating for a consolation prize. Vice-president? (Obama does not seem to be dismissing it outright, but a bad idea). Paying off her debts? Lots of opposition there. Making her Secretary of State? Maybe. Or maybe she can just go back to being an effective Senator from New York. Her disappointment must be great, but unlike many, I don't think "the Clinton legacy" will be smeared, either for her or Bill. Their main problem, I think, was an assumption that Hillary was going to be the certain victor. As pasts presidential candidates like Thomas E. Dewey and Richard Nixon (in 1960) could tell her, that is a big mistake.