John McCain's real triumph Tuesday wasn't snapping up the last of the 1,191 delegates needed to finally convince the dejected far right he's the Republican nominee.
No, it was the many gifts Clinton plopped into his lap, starting with that grating red phone ad she unleashed last week warning that cherubic children will die in their beds if Barack Obama beats her:
"It's 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House, and it's ringing. Something's happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it's someone who already knows the world's leaders, knows the military - someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world."
Who could that be? The answer, dear Hillary, is obvious: John McCain.
Last time I checked, he's the one who can't hold his arms above his head because they were busted so many times by the North Vietnamese. After a more than five-year stint as a POW, he spent 25 years cultivating his foreign policy credentials in Congress.
When did Hillary ever have to pick up the (nonexistent) red phone when Bill was in office? Never. First ladies don't get national security clearance.
So while McCain was boogying down Tuesday, I hope he didn't forget the little lady who seems hell-bent on delivering him a bigger prize in November by mortally wounding Obama.
Of course, Clinton's still a lock to lose.
Confetti-strewn victory bashes over Ohio and Texas rock, but it's all about delegates - and she comes up short. Clinton didn't major in math or miracles (and we saw how well the latter worked out for Mike Huckabee).
So unless she twists the arms of superdelegates to defy the will of voters or makes a rotten backroom deal to capture Florida's and Michigan's invisible delegates, Clinton is toast.
If she does eke out a victory, it'll reek. The starry-eyed Obama kids will stay home - anyone who recalls Richard Nixon's 1968 win after the Chicago Democratic convention carnage knows that.
The crux of Clinton's case will crumble. Once she's on stage next to McCain, whose hair was shocked white in the Hanoi Hilton, all that nonsense of 35 years of experience will crystallize.
Clinton's a brilliant woman whose crowning glory is botching our best shot to fix health care. She'll make a wily Senate Majority Leader someday. Meantime, enjoy President McCain's picks for the Supreme Court.
It's Obama who ultimately will pay the price of Clinton's "kitchen sink" strategy - and she and her multimillion-dollar consultants couldn't care less.
If Barack loses in 2008, guess who makes another run for it in 2012? It doesn't take a cynic to figure this battle plan out.
Team Clinton is doing McCain's dirty work for him. But somehow I don't think Mr. Straight Talk would shade Obama's face to look darker in a menacing ad. I can't see him doing the Texas two-step on Obama being a Muslim like Clinton telling "60 Minutes," "There is nothing to base that on, as far as I know ..."
Wink, wink. Nod, nod.
Republicans like Bill Nowling are lapping it up.
"The big winner is John McCain," the state GOP spokesman effuses. "We're building a national campaign for the White House while the two Democrats fight amongst themselves over who will be the first to surrender in the war on terror."
As Clinton careens down the course to become the most unlikable presidential candidate in recent memory, she has her girlfriends screaming that you're sexist for noticing. Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem are busy browbeating young (and older) women as "gender traitors" for backing Obama, as if the election is some fusty women's studies class at Bryn Mawr.
They never mention Clinton's feminist accomplishments in the Senate (there aren't any) - but assert the jarringly simplistic idea that women are morally obligated to vote for others with ovaries.
As an ardent feminist, it's hard to see my heroines caricature themselves. Their joyless rants feed into the worst Rush Limbaugh stereotypes and are just depressing.
In fact, Hillary Clinton's whole campaign is depressing. (As one Toledo college student told me last week, "She sucks at life.")
Clinton maintains she's a fighter, while paradoxically playing the victim to the press. She's goaded the national media into throwing punches at Obama between her own blows.
She's set the terms of the race from beginning to end. That's why few people dared suggest the Warrior Princess bow out after 11 straight smackdowns, whereas Obama would have been laughed back to the south side of Chicago.
Clinton's slimy strategy of character assassination worked perfectly for the Tuesday primaries and she promises much more to come.
Hillary doesn't mind winning ugly, because she's decided "it's time to put a woman in the White House." But it isn't about equality or the Democratic Party.
In the end, it's all about her.