In a group I sang with in college, we had a catchphrase: "Walk off the stage." It could be a protest -- "If you make me beatbox on 'Shadowland' from The Lion King one more time, I'll walk off the stage" -- but also a demand that a singer recognize he is messing up so much he's ruining the show. Making a mistake when you're performing both makes you nervous and gets everybody looking at you, so disruptions often compound themselves -- first a sour note, then a missed entrance, then an attack of the hiccups, until the hiss comes from nearby, walk off the stage!

Reading today's tragic Dana Milbank send-up of a reporters' sit-down with Clinton advisers, the phrase kept running through my head. We have this cheerfully deluded quote from Harold Ickes: "We're on the way to locking this nomination down." We have this ripe-for-mocking line from Phil Singer:

He went on to chide the journalists for their "woefully inadequate" coverage of Obama, "a point that has been certainly backed up by the Saturday Night Live skit that opened the show this past Saturday evening, which I would refer you all to."

Why ... can't ... Clinton's flacks ... just walk off the stage?? I'm not saying they should quit; some of them are probably giving Hillary good advice behind the scenes, and obviously the press aides have to give the occasional quote. But do they have to be so public? Do they have to, daily, float so many different arguments for Hillary's continued viability that so often insult reporters' intelligence?

Now, maybe it's not their fault -- maybe the press has just gotten to a point where they simply can't take a line uttered by Penn or Ickes seriously. The "walk off the stage" axiom still applies. Did the Clinton flacks really think, after reading all the ridicule heaped on their appearances in the media, that a breakfast with Dana Milbank, of all people, could possibly do them any good at this point? Plankers have pointed out disastrous HRC flack appearances here and here and here and here and here. I actually like Hillary, but I feel like all I read about anymore are her damned advisers. For the love of God, walk off the stage!

--Eve Fairbanks