Worried that the extended primary season is tearing the Democratic Party apart, the Times is all but taking back its previous endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Wednesday's lead editorial, "The Low Road to Victory," ludicrously claimed that she squandered Pennsylvania by not winning by a much larger margin and concluded by commanding her to "call off the dogs" - though it could also be read as a subliminal message for her to get with the program and pack it up so as not to hurt the Democrats in the fall.
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
The Times doesn't deign to specify just what mean things Hillary has said about Obama lately, perhaps because it wants to keep questions about Obama's terrorist friend Bill Ayers or his racist preacher Jeremiah Wright tamped down. Meanwhile, record turnout in Pennsylvania indicates that voters aren't in fact, "getting tired of it" yet. It's strange to hear the Times say that "it's not working" (the screedy editorial is rather vague on what "It" stands for) given that Hillary Clinton actually won Pennsylvania by double digits, the third large state in a row she's won after Texas and Ohio.
In a single-minded quest to drive Hillary Clinton out of the race, the editorial unloaded some truly campaign-worthy spin, downplaying Hillary's impressive double-digit win by saying she should have won by 20.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.
The Times is apparently referencing a single poll by the American Research Group taken right after Obama's condescending "cling" comments got wide play, showing Clinton up 57% to 37%. But that poll was an outlier; others showed a far closer race in the lead up to the Pennsylvania vote, but citing those would make Obama look bad.
The tone turned ominously anti-Clintonin the last paragraph:
It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.