There are times when I’m truly baffled by newspaper op-ed pages. Today’s Financial Times has a trailer on the front page: “Bow out, Hillary. And help keep McCain at bay.” Turn to page 11 and you find a comment from Stephen Graubard, emeritus professor of history at Brown University, arguing for Clinton to do the right thing and surrender now.
Now, I’d like nothing more than for senator Clinton to withdraw from the nomination battle, and leave the field clear for Barack Obama. I don’t think it matters very much right now in the battle against McCain, although it might if this thing drags on to the Denver convention, and it certainly will if the Democratic contest degenerates into a fight about seating Michigan and Florida delegates. I’m reasonably confident neither of those things will happen.
I am certain, however, that there is precisely zero chance of Clinton pulling out before March 4. Depending on the results in Ohio and Texas on that day, there might be a slightly greater than zero chance of her withdrawing from the race before the Pennsylvania primary in late April. Graubard makes an eloquent argument about the greater good of party unity, and Clinton’s opportunity to become an enduring master of the Senate. But it’s truly an academic exercise.
So why do the editors of the FT publish something that is so speculative and meaningless? It’s not as though Graubard is a power broker whose views demand attention. I’m completely mystified.