The New York Times on Tuesday will carry story describing the Hillary Clinton campaign as a death-watch (h/t Drudge). It's worth noting that on January 7, I wrote the Kerry campaign obituary prematurely.
Still, the problems Hillary faces are of the sort that spells doom to candidates, either in their nomination quest or, later, in the general election. Shuffling top staff, borrowing money from the candidate, asking staff to work without pay are all symptoms of a campaign in deep trouble. Ed Muskie went through such turmoil in the 1972, losing to the dark-horse George McGovern. Ford won the GOP nomination over Ronald Reagan in 1976, but his campaign was in tatters by the convention and he hobbled to a defeat in November. More recently, Mitt Romney faced money issues that led him to pull advertising in the South; he was out a week later.
The telling sentance in the NYT piece comes from a Super Delegate who's pledged for Hillary:
"She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she's out," said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. "The campaign is starting to come to terms with that."
Don't count on a Texas landslide.
If Hillary folds after the March 4 round of primaries, the dynamics of the race will change dramatically. Without a brokered convention to draw viewers to the convention, Obama will miss some valuable free advertising. But Obama has an easy road ahead. He'll be running against a Republican candidate that many Republicans, particularly the base, don't like.
My prediction? We'll get to find out what a second Carter term would have been like.