First thought: it's worth taking a step back and noticing that the gas tax pander didn't work. At least, it's hard for me to believe that Obama would have come as close as he did to winning Indiana in the face of the flap over Rev. Wright, the possible involvement of Limbaugh Republicans, and so on, if the idea of a gas tax holiday had really caught on.
Senator Clinton gambled on the stupidity of the voters, and she lost.* That is truly worth celebrating.
Second, the NYT:
"Clinton advisers acknowledged that the results of the primaries were far less than they had hoped, and said they were likely to face new pleas even from some of their own supporters for her to quit the race. They said they expected fund-raising to become even harder now; one adviser said the campaign was essentially broke, and several others refused to say whether Mrs. Clinton had loaned the campaign money from her personal account to keep it afloat.
The advisers said they were dispirited over the loss in North Carolina, after her campaign — now working off a shoestring budget as spending outpaces fund-raising — decided to allocate millions of dollars and full days of the candidate and her husband in the state. Even with her investment, Mr. Obama outspent Mrs. Clinton in both states."
This is where the rubber hits the road. If the campaign is "essentially broke", and if she doesn't somehow manage to raise money on tonight's results, then the Clintons no longer get to decide whether to stay in the race, period. They get to decide whether to stay in the race on their own nickels. I imagine this might be a sobering thought. (But why? They can spare the money more easily than most of their supporters.)
Third: as I've said in comments, I think the fact that she has cancelled her public appearances for tomorrow is serious. God willing, she will drop out, and spare us any continuation of this nightmare.
Fourth: it occurred to me this evening that if Obama is the nominee, it will be the first time in my life that someone I have supported in a contested primary has been the nominee. Starting with McGovern in 1968 and continuing for the next forty years, the people I have supported have an unbroken record of failure in primaries. It was almost enough to make me consider coming out for Kucinich or Gravel, just to jinx them. (Though both of them seem to have done a fine job jinxing themselves, without any help from me.)
If Obama gets the nomination, I will scarcely know what to make of it. It will be almost as strange as seeing the sun rise in the west, or cockatiels quoting Proust. These things just don't happen to me.
I hope I have the chance to get used to it. It sounds like fun. ;)
*Footnote: I mean that Clinton lost her gamble, not Indiana.