Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moving On After Hillary's Loss

Hillary Clinton gave a magnanimous speech at the Democratic Convention to rally her troops around Barack Obama. It was a powerful speech that ironically made her look all the more presidential at a time when it really hit home among her many supporters that not only will she not be the president this time but also probably not in the future for the 60-year-old if Barack Obama occupies the White House for the next 8 years.

As moving as Clinton’s speech was, the most moving moment of the evening was a CNN interview with
an emotional Hillary Clinton delegate after hearing her speech in support of Obama.
Hillary Clinton proved to me tonight that she would have made an excellent president…Experience speaks to me. I ask everyone all the time; would they take a CEO of a company right out of Harvard?
In any competition like this, there can be only one winner. The others can only lick their wounds and hope for better luck next time (if there is a next time). But unlike the others who lost pretty convincingly and were able to move on, Hillary not only lost by a very small margin, but she also lost a nomination that by consensus was hers to lose. Given this, the criticism she received for taking a few days after Obama clinched the nomination to give her concession speech was more than a bit harsh.

Hillary has done just about everything that can be done to be a team player for the Democrats since her defeat. She has promised to actively and enthusiastically campaign for Obama and did her best to persuade her former delegates to vote their interests and go with Obama instead of a spite vote for McCain.

But not everybody is going along. This commentary by Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson,
Hillary's Speech Outshines Sulking Supporters discusses organizations like PUMA.
Holding two opposing thoughts in your mind at the same time is essential to belonging to PUMA. What is PUMA you ask? That shows you don't watch cable television, where PUMA -- Party Unity My Ass -- is starring along with sister organizations of the same ilk.

These are women who so love Hillary Clinton that they will abandon her policies to vote for John McCain, who believes in none of them.
Then there were the naysayers that reluctantly agreed that Hillary’s speech was OK but weren’t sure about whether Bill would come out with a strong endorsement of Obama.

Until the beginning of his speech as described in this New York Times article.
“Last night Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama” Mr. Clinton said. “That makes two of us.”

Mr. Clinton proceeded to do precisely what Mr. Obama’s campaign was looking for him to do: attest to Mr. Obama’s readiness to be president, after a campaign largely based on Mrs. Clinton’s contention that he was not.

“I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world,” Mr. Clinton said. “Barack Obama is ready to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be president of the United States.”
And then there was the final reservation about whether the Clintons were really sincere about it all. The main thrust of Hillary’s campaign was that she had more experience than Obama. There were only two ways of dealing with this issue and both are admittedly subject to second-guessing by their detractors. One was for the Clintons to repudiate their previous remarks about Obama’s inexperience. But that would be obviously phony. Or do what Bill did which was to praise Obama’s judgment in picking the experienced Joe Biden for VP to give them an experienced team.

Gail Collins in her New York Times op-ed column The Torch Passes. Really. sums it all up this way:

All week…we’ve been having a long-running and complicated transfer of the first lady mantle from Hillary Clinton to Michelle Obama. “No one has been more gracious and more forthcoming and more helpful to me,”
Michelle said at a joint appearance with Hillary on Tuesday.

Do we believe this? People, it doesn’t matter a whit. The Clintons did everything they were supposed to do here and in politics, like so much of life, feelings are irrelevant to everyone except the persons doing the feeling.

We’re ready to move on. The Democrats in Denver have answered the call for unity…

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