IT IS NOW crystal-clear:

The Clintons have jumped the shark, left the building, gone over the edge.

And it's time to say buh-bye.

Within the last week, Bill said that the media won't report Hillary's "winning," and Hillary reminded us that assassination can alter a nomination fight.

This disregards truth, as well as the fears and feelings of others.

It is, in short, the Clintons showing their true colors.

They previously mostly showed tenacity, tenacity unmatched in modern American politics, at times laudable if only for its blind force.

No campaign development deterred them.

No campaign target - be it delegate count, popular-vote total, presumed electoral votes, discounted delegations, Puerto Ricans who cannot vote in U.S. elections - was too large or small to aim at, dismiss or claim as proof of pending victory.

But the Clintons have traded tenacity for a state of self-delusion bordering on narcissistic neurosis.

The one who was president (impeached, you'll recall, for perjury) says that the media aren't for his wife and cover up the fact that "she is winning."

He should have added: "If only in the universe where Planet Clinton is the sun."

At campaign stops in Montana and South Dakota, he "quoted" some unnamed force, presumably one running the national political media, as telling its minions:

"Oh, this is so terrible! The people want her. Oh, this is so terrible! She is winning the general election and he is not. Oh, my goodness, we have to cover this up!"

What, the vast right-wing conspiracy morphed into a vast left-wing conspiracy?

His argument is based on some general-election matchup polls showing Hillary leading John McCain while Obama narrowly trails him, and polling in states with the most electoral votes.

It's a specious argument.

Polls for an election five months from now are no more valid than a Gallup poll five months ago showing Hillary 16 points up on Obama.

Today, Gallup has Obama up 6 points - a 22-point turnaround.

Using primary-election outcomes to predict general-election outcomes is simply dishonest. They are different races at different times.

It's like counting electoral votes in May or June - without evidence.

Polls in states with the most electoral votes - California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio - show Clinton and Obama beating McCain everywhere but Texas (where McCain's up), and only Florida going to Hillary and not Obama.

Plus, Bill's self-serving, twisted analysis comes on the heels of Hill's RFK gaffe.

And suggesting that a reason to stay in the fight - despite delegate counts showing she cannot win - is "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June" is at least a gaffe.

Even if you give her every benefit (she was tired, it was a slip, she was only referring to the calendar), no sensate person can think of the assassination of RFK, a charismatic candidate fighting for the nomination of a fractured party, without thinking of the possibility that history repeats itself.

We are, after all, a nation known for slaying inspiration.

Her comment was awkward and tactless.

As is her insistence that all Michigan and Florida delegates count, or that she's entitled to the nomination if she wins the popular vote.

She previously agreed to the sanctioning of those states, and pushing her popular-vote argument ignores the fact that the nomination is won on delegate count, not popular vote.

If the nomination hinged on popular vote, it stands to reason that the Obama campaign would have used a strategy different from the one it did.

But self-delusion knows no reason, and neither do the Clintons.

So, buh-bye. *

Send e-mail to baerj@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to