In 1513 Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his famous essay on attaining and holding political power which he titled The Prince. His overriding principle was simple: Use whatever means necessary to hold on to your power, but, importantly, do it in such a way that no one knows how treacherous you really are. Assuming that Senator Clinton has studied her Machiavelli and is duly persuaded by his trenchant grasp of human nature, here's what I think will happen this summer:
Mrs. Clinton will do whatever she can, fair or foul, to persuade the superdelegates to support her at the convention, but should it become clear at any point along the way that she will lose the nomination she'll suddenly become a team player, drop out of the race, and endorse Senator Obama. Then, behind the scenes, she'll launch a determined effort to sabotage Obama's campaign and promote a McCain victory in November. She cannot do this overtly, of course, because it would destroy her standing in the Democratic party, but she can do it covertly, and I'm quite sure she will.
Why do I think this? Because if Obama wins the presidency he could well reside in the White House for eight years, but if McCain wins he's likely, because of his age, to serve only a single term. Moreover, if Obama loses in November it will likely finish him as a presidential contender, especially if McCain wins big. Having given the appearance of a gracious loser, then, Hillary will have the inside track to the nomination in 2012. It'll be "her turn" and her reward for having "played ball" this year, even though the knife in Obama's political ribs will bear her fingerprints.
If she can't get the nomination this summer, it's in her interest to see Obama lose in November, and I think the smart money would be on her advancing her perceived interest even to the detriment of the interests of her party. It'll work for her, however, only if she can pull it off surreptitiously.RLC