Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saint Hillary

Has someone ever made you say you are sorry to a person you are convinced doesn’t deserve your apology and, besides, someone you truly despise?

If not, then re-listen to, or re-read, Hillary Clinton’s speech to the Democratic Convention last night. A hostage tape had more warmth and sincerity.

Did she endorse Barack Obama? You bet. Ten times. It is right there, in black and white -- and acid.

As someone who has heard some of the best political oratory of his generation, sometimes in person, I listened to the Senator from Myself do what she absolutely had to do in order to have obtained a prime time speaking slot – and not one thing more.

I waited and waited and started mentally writing the next lines of what should have been the “grand slam” that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann proclaimed almost before Clinton finished speaking. Those lines never came.

Each of the 12 times time she “endorsed” Obama, she said his name with all the passion of a person playing “Mad-Libs,” filling in the blank left open for “insert proper noun here.”

She made a passionate speech for the Democratic Party, against John McCain and, uncharitably, for all the wonderful things she has done and the 21 points of her personal political platform. She shouted out to Michelle Obama as someone who will be a “great First Lady,” but never even gave a thought to saying that for that to happen someone will have to be a great president.
acknowledgement that she while she fought a good fight, the better man won.

Not once did she say anything remotely personal about her opponent. No jokes about “a funny thing happened to me on my way to the convention,” nor an ounce of grace about her opponent nor an ounce of humility about herself. Not even a disingenuous nod to the fact she actually lost the nomination under rules her minions wrote.

Did that speech guarantee that any Hillary die-hard will now vote for Obama in November? At least one: herself -- the person about whom politics revolves.

Hillary Clinton will be back in the Senate in January and so will either Barack Obama or John McCain. I am pretty sure whom she would like to call “my friend and distinguished colleague” during some desultory floor debate. But last night was the time for that.

This was no healing speech, no true endorsement. It was an elegy for her own failed campaign, bested by a man she does not believe is qualified to be president but who, nevertheless, took her and her radical royalists down.

It was also the birth of her next campaign – either for the presidency or for sainthood.

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