John McCain needs to write Hillary Clinton a thank-you letter, and he might as well start working on it right now. At this point, there’s nothing he can do to help himself win this year’s presidential election more than what Senator Clinton has already done.

First and foremost, Clinton is trying to get herself (s)elected as the Democratic nominee. Considering that she might be the most passionately hated person in America (not counting terrorists, who presumably do not live in America), there is nothing McCain could do to gain the support of the far right more than having her as an opponent. They’re still convinced that she is just biding her time and plotting her way to creating a socialist state, no matter how lamely centrist she might actually be in reality. The Clinton-haters may be delusional, but they happen to be exactly the same Republicans who are disappointed with McCain. So, McCain can count on getting the moderates on his own merits, and he can count on Hillary to deliver the right-wing votes to him as well. One McCain presidency, courtesy of Clinton.

Second, Clinton keeps praising McCain in her efforts to tear down Obama. People are becoming genuinely concerned that Clinton’s do-anything-to-win strategy is guaranteeing that even if she loses, she will have raised enough doubts about Obama to keep him from winning as well. “If I can’t have the White House, then you can’t either!” says both the toddler and the junior senator from New York. All McCain will need to do is to take the Clinton ads out of the trash, change a couple names, and start running them on TV. Again, a McCain presidency, courtesy of Clinton.

Speaking of doing anything to win, Clinton’s efforts to get delegates any way she can is doing a great job of damaging the Democratic Party’s credibility. I was a little worried back when it was announced that Clinton was the only candidate remaining on the disqualified Michigan ballot. Sure enough, she’s now trying to get the delegates from Michigan and Florida to count. Once again, the only comparison that comes to mind is little kids cheating by changing the rules in the middle of their games. This is politics, not Calvinball, and any attempt to treat it as such will only make the Democrats look like crooks. In turn, this will help McCain win the presidency.

Now there are even rumors that the Clinton campaign will try to get pledged delegates (not the superdelegates!) to switch sides at the convention. Such a strategy is so unlikely to work that I doubt the rumors. However, given everything else we’ve seen from Senator Clinton, perhaps I shouldn’t be so skeptical.

In the end, Senator Clinton just doesn’t get it. She talks about a joint ticket with Obama, which is great if all you want is to get one or both of these people into the White House at some point. However, a backroom deal to settle the nomination is not going to please voters who support Obama specifically because they’re fed up with the current crowd of politicians (including Clinton) and their backroom dealings. The joint ticket idea just seems like yet another way for Clinton to put herself in the White House in spite of losing most of the primaries; and it’s exactly that kind of cynical ambition that will turn off voters in the general election.

So, whether she wins or loses, Clinton’s doing all she can to make McCain the president in 2009. She might lose in August or she might lose in November, but her seemingly limitless drive to win guarantees that sooner or later, she will lose.

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