Night is falling on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
The phone no longer rings at 3 AM or any other time. The accountants are beginning to cast wary eyes at the sofa, wondering what resources might lie beneath the cushions.
People who once instantly returned the Senator's calls are now occupied with other pressing engagements. Even the superdelegates and party insiders who have been loyal to the Clintons for nigh on twenty years are starting to slip away.
The Clintons have thrown their all into this campaign, every fiber of their being. There is no mud left unslung, no bridges left unburnt, no accusation left unmade.
Every possible species of Democrat has been pandered to; no doubt there are at least a dozen donors and minor politicians who have been promised the ambassadorship to France. A rising tide of angry vendors is chasing Hillary around the country, waving unpaid bills and citing empty promises.
And yet it is not enough.
No candidate has ever started with greater confidence or tried harder. A sitting Republican president with approval ratings in the teens? A war opposed by most of the country? The wife of the most popular president most voters can remember, who presided over boom times and a holiday from history?
This was never supposed to be an election, much less a nomination, it was supposed to be a coronation. Have the Clintons finally used up the last of their nine lives?
Let the record note that the curtain is being rung down on them, not by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, but by a young nobody from Illinois who is further left than they.
Having hated the Clintons for so long, it's hardly surprising that conservatives are gleeful at the prospect of their demise. Sure, it would have been nice had it worked out for a Republican hero to be the one wielding the ax, but we'll take our victories where we can get them these days.
It's fun to watch Hillary writhe and flail in the unaccustomed light of bad publicity and (comparatively) hostile media. Ol' Slick Willie has always had a certain roguish charm, but Hillary, the stone-cold evil ice princess, has no such redeeming graces. Her death throes are an unmixed pleasure for her foes.
So why hasn't she finally thrown in the towel and officially withdrawn from the race? Have we so quickly forgotten "the Comeback Kid"? The Clintons have a track record almost unparalleled in modern politics of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
Hillary simply does not know the meaning of the words "give up." With her, while there's life, there's hope; and while there is breath in her body, she'll continue moving ahead. Like the Terminator, if there's just one finger still working, she'll drag herself forward by that one finger.
Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos," in which Republican primary voters crossed over to vote for Hillary just to keep her candidacy alive has given Republicans some of the best entertainment they've had in many years. We stand in awe as the Democratic Party tears itself apart between two candidates, both deeply flawed, that are in as close a tie as could be imagined in our wildest dreams - and with increasing numbers of primary voters saying they'd rather vote for the Republican if their Democratic nominee of choice doesn't get the nod.
There were voices before, though mostly silenced now, saying, "Let her die! Let Obama finish her off first! It's too dangerous to play this sort of game with the Clintons!" We prematurely write her off at our peril.
In The Wizard of Oz, the tornado dropped Dorothy's house on top of the Wicked Witch of the East in Munchkinland. The Witch was a pretty obvious write-off - all that was left was her two stone-cold feet sticking out from under Dorothy's porch.
The Munchkins started to celebrate the demise of their oppressor, but the community leaders wisely held off. "We've got to verify it legally, to see if she is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably Dead."
Only after the Coroner reported, "I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead," could at last the joyous news be spread - the Wicked old Witch at last is dead.
Republicans take grave risks in lowering their guard with even the slightest, most remote possibility remaining of a Clinton triumph. Hillary won't stop chasing the Oval Office until she's six feet under - and even then, she'd better be under six feet of reinforced concrete before I'll sleep easy.