With plans for Michigan and Florida re-votes nearly dead, there's almost no way for Hillary to overtake Obama in the delegate count, nor in the popular vote. The only way she can win is for Obama to withdraw because of a scandal on the order of the Spitzer debacle, or for a mass of superdelegates to take the nomination away from Obama and give it to Hillary in a highly divisive, anti-democratic event that would virtually destroy the party's chances of regaining the White House in November.
So, soon, maybe as soon as the Pennsylvania primary has passed (especially if that vote is closer than expected), it will be time for Al Gore and/or Nancy Pelosi to step forward and broker a deal to allow Hillary to drop out and unify the party in time to win in November.
Here's the kind of deal that not only clears the path for Obama to get the nomination, but also gives Hillary a big consolation prize. And, no, I'm not talking about an Obama/Hillary ticket.
First, Harry Reid agrees to step down as Senate Majority Leader, with the Senate D caucus assuring Hillary she will be able to run for the position in December with no opposition. I'm not the first person to suggest that Hillary would be the most effective Majority Leader since LBJ. If we've learned anything about Hillary in this campaign it's that she' s a policy wonk extraordinaire and tactically brilliant. Plus, she has a stature within the party and the country not seen with any past Majority Leader. Her weakness as a communicator and the antipathy she engenders among large percentages of the electorate simply don't matter for a Majority Leader.
By early June at the latest, Hillary and Obama stand up before the press together, with Gore, Reid, Pelosi and Bill Clinton behind them, to announce Hillary's withdrawal from the race. She announces that she is moving aside in the interest of party unity and because she believes that after a hard fought race Obama has won the nomination fair and square. She will ask her pledged delegates to support Obama. Harry Reid will then announce his resignation from the Majority Leader role at the end of this Congress and the Senate Democrats will support Hillary as the new leader. Hillary will explain the importance of this role and why she is especially well suited for the position, again citing the strength of a unified party. Bill and Al will together offer their blessing. Obama will then close the event with a short speech about bringing American together. Hillary and Pelosi will be sure to give the press a good opportunity to get photos of them standing together as the next co-leaders of the legislative branch.
Two weeks later, Obama announces his VP choice (my favorite is Wesley Clark, a Hillary supporter), again with those Hillary and those other unified party leaders behind him.
Finally, Hillary gets to take a few weeks off, but by convention time, she and Bill are campaigning visibly and passionately for Obama and against McCain.