Carl Hulse reminds us in this morning's Times that more of Hillary's Democratic Senate colleagues endorsed Barack Obama than endorsed her, and that counts those who felt they had no alternative but to back her.  This majority for Obama from the party's side of the aisle dispatches all of the stuff about her being well-liked and a leader and the other usual compliments that make for the false vernacular of our politics.

No, Hulse points out, Mrs. Clinton will not go to the top of the list to replace Harry Reid, who has not exactly been a sterling leader, either in the narrowly partisan sense or in the much rarer truly bi-partisan dimension.   Anyway, Reid isn't going anywhere.  The Democrats cling to mediocrity just like the Republicans.

Nor is she likely, being 36th in seniority among the Democrats, to be vouchsafed any committee chairmanship, and certainly not an important one.

This may not be the end of a career.  But it is the end of Hillary's special place in American politics, and with her will go her husband, still hustling with even the hustle losing whatever tarnished luster has clung to it up to now.