That's right: the winner this evening by Hillary Clinton's likely single-digit margin of victory (now 8 points with 51% of precincts reporting at around 21 00 EDT) is none other than Republican nominee John McCain (who FWIW won the PA Republican primary itself). Why?
Because once again, thanks to race-baiting which played well among Whites (some of whom have behaved in a charming manner), and Clinton-favoring demographics (PA being an older and Whiter state than most of the country-- the two factors that have consistently favored Sen. Clinton in other states), and some the first big misplays by Team Obama (that "bitter thing," and ongoing fallout from seeing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, i.e., White people confronting an angry Black man on t.v.) and the media that Team Clinton keeps complaining about handing her a big one from the all-gotcha-fest debate... [I mean, where's your school spirit, Stephanopoulis?] Obama has been once again unable to drive a stake into the political heart of the Clintons, and the Dems' disarray train (a/k/a the Hillary Clinton campaign clusterf***) rolls on.
OTOH, Sen. Clinton's winning margin is not likely to make a significant dent in delegate counts... or close the overall popular vote lead held by Obama...as if details like that matter. As Kevin has observed, this may be simply the effects of life-support efforts in the campaign ICU rather than any kind of actual recovery or real rally by Team Clinton.
Which is why Talking Dog Election Central has projected Arizona Sen. John McCain as the winner of tonight's Democratic primary. Just the possibility of Sen. Clinton being the Dem nominee-- a uniquely divisive figure who will once again take the Iraq war issue off the table should she somehow secure the nomination-- has got to be a huge shot in the arm for a McCain campaign that can otherwise get no media traction (or fundraising) while the Democratic Titans keep clashing among themselves.
And so the Hillary Clinton campaign lives on another day. As if it even could be killed. The Clintons have always been a hurricane rolling through people's lives-- and now it seems, all of our lives, as they continue their high-winds of destruction through the ranks of their own party. What else is new? I've said it before: never bet against a Clinton. And God help the rest of us.
Update: With about 70% of precincts counted (around 23 00 EDT) it looks like that margin of around 8% is where it is... oops, make that a 10% margin with 83%... make that
86% 93% reporting...; it may come in at 9 or 10%, but that will still leave Obama with a lead of well over 100 pledged delegates, going into North Carolina, which he will almost certainly win and win big, and Indiana, where he might do very well... but it's starting to look as if Indiana might be a must-win for Obama, even though the PA result (given Obama's likely NC win) mathematically eliminates Clinton from winning with pledged delegates. Stay tuned. Hillary is now saying that the purpose of her run is "to fight for you". Where have I heard that before? (Apparently, Bob Shrum can't be killed either.)
Morning After Update: The Unseen Editor sends us this dead-on analysis from Rich Lowry of NRO (yes NRO), referring to Hillary as "McCain's stalking horse," and citing to this Grey Lady editorial all but begging Sen. Clinton to call off the dogs, if not get out of the race, lest she do what she fully intends to do, i.e., destroy her opponent, destroy her own party, and undermine the integrity of the coming election.