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Show me someone who hasn't thought through a BATNA
(Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) and I'll show you Hillary Clinton.

BATNA is a term first developed by negotiation researchers Roger Fisher and Bill Ury of the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON). When people in a negotiation or campaign for the Presidential nomination have not thought through a contingency plan if their first one fails, they tend to become more desperate and intransigent on their first position.

The reason people don't let go of their obsessive hold on a losing outcome (or some would say its obsessive hold on them) is that doing so threatens to throw them into a free fall leading to a dark black hole that feels bottomless.

It is like a death. And like a death one needs to go through the stages that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined in her seminal work: On Death and Dying.

Those stages are:

  1. Denial – "I won't accept it, because I can't accept it, because I don't what else I'll do if this fails."
  2. Anger – "I will fight tooth and nail against anyone who tries to make me accept it, because I will be too lost if this doesn't happen."
  3. Bargaining – "Okay, I'm not going to be President, but how about Vice President or something so I don't have to face having nothing."
  4. Despair – "It's all real. It's not a bad dream. I AM lost and don't feel like doing anything else. Everybody, just leave me alone."
  5. Acceptance – "Okay, I guess I don't have nothing. I still have my family, I still have people who believed in me, I still have a job in the Senate, I can still make a difference."

It's time for someone to say strongly, firmly and lovingly to Hillary: "Your campaign is over, your life is not over. You have the opportunity now for poise and graciousness, or for bitterness and despair and it's up to you to choose which one."

Obama V. Clinton: The Smiles Have It!

* I am indebted to Ken McLeod, Executive Director of McLeod & Associates for assistance with this piece.