Hillary, We Hardly Knew Ye…

Hey, MSNBC: Why the remembrance of things past?

Could it almost be…over? Is “our long national nightmare” soon to end?

After a night of nail-biting—“too early to call” morphing into “too close to call” morphing into “this one’s a real squeaker, folks!”—the results of last night’s Possibly Pivotal Double-Header of a Primary leave things, officially, at least…unclear. Yep: our residence in the Hotel California of party nominating contests (you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…) continues. At this point, indefinitely.

Which didn’t stop the good folks at MSNBC—ever the gentlemen to Hillary Clinton’s “fightin’ lady”—from 1) Courteously conceding defeat on behalf of the Clinton campaign, and 2) Waxing nostalgic about that campaign’s demise.

Except—oops!—that campaign is still going on. Camp Clinton still lives. Awkward!

Now, you can certainly say that Obama is, at this point, all but the nominee. You’d be right. But to eulogize Candidate Clinton right now—to discuss “what was” when “what was” still, you know, is—is both inaccurate and insulting.

Perhaps the pundits meant the premature elegies as gestures of respect. Or perhaps they were intended as not-so-subtle hints that it’s time for Clinton to bow out of the race. Or perhaps the pundits were simply filling air any way they possibly could. Like much in this contest right now, it’s unclear. Whatever their provenance, though, here are just a few excerpts from the Epic Elegy that is “Hillary: The Campaign That Was (Though It Still Is)”:

Pat Buchanan, arguing that the Clinton campaign’s true “legacy” will lie in its graceful concession to Obama:

They know this is coming to an end. She was reaching out to take the hand. She didn’t go all the way, and neither did he, but they were moving together, there’s no doubt about it. If the Republican party thinks that these two are going to turn in a Chicago-style convention, or a Goldwater/Rockefeller convention, it ain’t gonna happen. The interests of the Clintons, their ambitions, their legacy, everything, depend on them going all out to help the first African American be elected president, and to be perceived as having done so.

And the Morning Joe duo of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, discussing Clinton’s “loss” (note how Mika, as per usual, is ignored by her co-host):

SCARBOROUGH: If you’re going to lose, I think that’s the way to lose. You know what? She didn’t lose by making a gaffe, she was learning forward—

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I don’t think she’s out yet.

SCARBOROUGH: —I thought she ran a great campaign over the past few weeks.

And Tim Russert, personalizing his valediction:

It was really the most extraordinary campaign I’ve ever covered. Two political heavyweights. It really was extraordinary. My only regret? No brokered convention in my lifetime.

That is regrettable. Likely correct, too. But likely is the key word here. Nothing’s been decided yet. Perhaps Clinton will one day appreciate these early odes written on behalf of her Fallen Campaign. Perhaps not. Either way, it’d have been nice if the fond remembrances of The Campaign That Was could have waited to be expressed until that campaign actually stopped being The Campaign That Is. For all the pundits’ exhortations to Clinton to “end it all gracefully,” it’d have been nice of them to follow their own advice.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.