Jon Alter's getting ridiculed for his column urging Hillary Clinton to drop out now. And I have to confess I didn't find it wildly convincing, either. But one thought about whether or not Hillary should stay in does occur to me: her continued presence in the race does help the GOP by allowing for stuff like this Drudge story:

CLINTON STAFFERS CIRCULATE 'DRESSED' OBAMA
Mon Feb 25 2008 06:51:00 ET

With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a "dressed" Barack Obama.

The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat frontrunner fitted as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya.

The senator was on a five-country tour of Africa.

"Wouldn't we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?" questioned one campaign staffer, in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT. 

This is a total win-win for Drudge. Not only does he get to post a photo of Obama dressed like a foreigner (and a Muslim foreigner at that); he gets to attribute the smear to the Clinton people. This, if you'll recall, was the exact same M.O. Insight Magazine used last year to float its B.S. Obama-madrassa story--citing "sources close to [a] background check," which was "conducted by researchers connected to Senator Clinton." ( A good rundown of this whole dynamic, including some stuff I wrote that is gone and quite possibly never coming back to our archives, can be found here.)

So, while I don't think Hillary should drop out before Texas and Ohio, her withdrawal would mean that if the GOP wanted to smear Obama, they'd have to do it without hiding behind her.

--Jason Zengerle