Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I realize it was overshadowed by the higher-profile speeches by Obama and McCain, but after all that's gone on, given her proclaimed desire to do what's necessary to win the White House for the GOP, Hillary Clinton, on the night her opponent clinched the nomination, couldn't say one word that helped ease her supporters into her Democratic opponent's camp, for the good of the party? Not one word?

I understand that, after pummeling Obama down the stretch, she wanted to take a bit of a victory lap; I understand that she'd think this wasn't a night to let her supporters down. But her speech tonight was defiant, literally from beginning to end. The opening passages sounded like a winner's kind words to a loser:

New York Sen. Clinton, 60, hailed Obama, 46, and his supporters "for all they accomplished," saying they had run an extraordinary race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Sen. Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved," she told supporters. "And our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result."

And from there it was a campaign speech all the way. She was still getting in digs at Obama, as if there are more states to contest -- the most obvious being a reference to having worked for universal health care not just for sixteen months, but for years. And she was continuing to fan the flames of resentment:

"What does Hillary want? ... I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, no longer to be invisible."

Barack Obama knows now that he has work to do with her voters, and she knows he knows it -- but she's talking as if that lesson still hasn't been learned; she's telling her supporters that they're still being arrogantly dismissed.

She continues to divide. She continues to help John McCain.

People who are tired of my kvetching about Hillary need to understand that my exasperation is due to the nature of her attacks on Obama -- she's attacked him in ways that dovetail perfectly with right-wing memes, and, as a Democrat in a year when Republicans have little credibility, she's given those memes believability that McCain alone couldn't have given them.

I want her to stop doing damage because she's already done a lot:

Hours before the polls closed Tuesday in the final two Democratic presidential primaries, the Republican National Committee began circulating a video of Hillary Clinton questioning Barack Obama's qualifications to be commander-in-chief, and acknowledging John McCain has this important presidential credential.

"Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign, I will bring a lifetime of experience and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002," Clinton says in the one-minute video of CNN's coverage of a news conference she held on March 8...

An RNC official tells CNN to expect to see more of Republicans highlighting Clinton's critical comments of Obama as the campaign now turns to the general election phase.

"We will use it repeatedly," the official said.

And there was more buttering up of Hillary in McCain's speech tonight, along with a Hillaryesque hint that Obama's victory is illegitimate:

...Senator Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received. As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend. Pundits and party elders have declared that Senator Obama will be my opponent. He will be a formidable one....

She has to stop tag-teaming with McCain. Now.

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