In hindsight, the bar was set pretty low last night for Hillary Clinton. For many Democrats who witnessed the Clinton-Rovian primary campaign and her two non-concession concession speeches in June, we were just hoping for a non-equivocal message of “You are Democrats, this is not about me, McCain can not be President, vote for Obama!”
She did what was required, in the way that only Clintons can.
Clinton provided sharp sound bites which excited hard-core Democrats and sent the convention hall into a frenzy. “No way. No How. No McCain…It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.” Clinton even took the extra step of posing the most important question to her die-hard fans, “Were you in this campaign just for me?”
My faves over at MSNBC including Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddox and Chris Matthews gave the speech rave reviews, as did many other news outlets and Democratic pundits. If you take into account that Clinton was still depressed, upset, and incensed after losing the primaries to Obama, the speech was great. It’s like if a student has always flunked classes and the parents are resigned to having a failing child, then the child turns around, starts making C’s and just barely passes. The parents would be ecstatic.
After briefly listening to Fox News (I don’t know why I torture myself), I finally addressed some lingering, nagging thoughts that previously I tried to ignore. Clinton gave the “dutiful Democrat” speech to show that she was committed to party unity (which again was her MOST IMPORTANT assignment for the night), however, she did not forcefully endorse Obama as a excellent Presidential candidate and a better CIC (because of Obama’s judgment) than McCain …thereby not swaying her hard-core supporters, Reagan Democrats, or independents. Clinton did a good job mentioning the disastrous 8 years of the Bush administration and linked them to McCain. However, the message that will resonate with those who are not true-blue Democrats is “I know Obama is not qualified, but he is a Democrat, so vote for him”.
When Clinton gave the long list of reasons why she ran for President and infused the Harriet Tubman/Underground Railroad saga, I was taken aback because I was trying to figure out where she was going. Although in the end, she brought both points back to voting for Obama, she had already taken it too far and those comments became narcissistic. As a result, she subconsciously riled up ardent “Hilliarites” and hardened their resolve that she was the better candidate, she was cheated, and they should keep fighting to the end.
The actions of Hillary Clinton, since the night of the last primary, have made it crystal clear why Obama could not chose her as his running mate. She could not get over her sense of entitlement which has been transferred to her fans. She could not give Obama 100% support and loyalty. It bears repeating that Clinton’s speech last night was a DRAMATIC gesture, however, had Clinton spoken those same words on June 3, she would have been Obama’s VP.
This leaves Obama to flex his Presidential intellect, ingenuity, and savviness combined with his public service and legislative experience to convince the majority of Americans to vote for him (or to at least get 270 electoral votes). But hey, that is what he is supposed to do.