Saturday, June 07, 2008


As it happened, I heard nearly the entire speech -- and I it ought to make a real difference. I had my doubts early on, when it sounded like just another speech in defense of the Clinton candidacy (I was screaming at the radio when Clinton talked about having been a fighter for "democracy," and I still think that was a dig she couldn't resist) -- but I have to stop quibbling, because the endorsement and the call for Democratic unit were real, and that's what we need.

I keep thinking back to a speech delivered under somewhat similar circumstances, Jesse Jackson's convention speech in 1988. Oldsters like me hear "What does Hillary want?" and what we recall is "What does Jesse want?" from that year; he won only a few primaries, but he greatle exceeded most experts' expectations, and it was believed by some that he held the key to turnout by voters Dukakis would need. I remember being riveted by his speech, and I just read it over. He began with the notion of reunifying the party -- he used the phrase "common ground" nineteen times in the first part of the speech. But the last part of the speech was a pure Jackson pulpit-pounding sermon, and "common ground" was ignored after that. Clinton's speech started on her ground and moved to common ground -- the reverse of Jackson. These speeches can be effective even with a fair amount of "me" in them -- after Jackson's speech (and his appearance onstage with Dukakis and Bentsen at the end of the convention), the Duke was up in the polls by 17 points. So I won't begrudge Hillary a bit of self-focus, because she really did pass the torch.

I just hope it's enough. I hope it's strong enough medicine in a pure enough dose. Wandering over to what I've called the Clinton-or-death blogs, I see that Taylor Marsh is on board:

Hillary is a better candidate today and all I can do is dream about tomorrow. I stand by her today, tomorrow, anywhere, any time, any year. Today and tomorrow that requires me to do everything I can to defeat John McCain, and make sure Barack Obama is elected president in November. That's exactly what I intend to do.

Er, but she's also chose todat to post an essay called "Hillary Clinton Supporters Ask: 'How'd She Lose to This Guy?'" at, of all places, Pajamas Media. Jeralyn Marritt of Talk Left is also on board -- but she sounds like a kid being forced to apologize in the principal's office:

... As one of her supporters, I am going to honor her wishes. She could not have been more clear.

...To those suggesting TalkLef now will cover Obama all the time, or become a cheerleader for him, that will not happen,

I will be returning to writing about issues, urging Obama and the Democrats to promise to enact some reforms. I will point out the wrong-headed policies of the Republicans and John McCain.

When the Democratic Convention approaches, I will cover that. I don't intend to cover the general election or follow the Obama campaign until after that. If there's something newsworthy, sure, I may mention it. But in general, he will not be the focus of TalkLeft.

...The primary race is over. I really don't have much more to say about it.

And many of both sites' commenters are cheering on McCain (or claiming they'll write in Hillary).

And over in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, Larry Johnson is still insisting the Michelle Obama tape is real, while his partner SusanUnPC is still on the island fighting for Tojo ... er, Hillary:

We have TWO months to reverse this travesty.

Back to work, people!

Those lunatics aren't coming back, and it would be futile to try to win them back. But the disgruntled fans of the less crazy Clinton-to-the-end blogs ... is this enough? And what comes after this?

In my dream version of Hillary's speech, she would have ticked off the issues she spoke about and the groups who rallied to her and said, "Listen to me: Barack Obama will fight for you, too. Barack Obama will champion these issues, too." She would have built a bridge from her rhetoric to his campaign.

She may yet. I hope she does.

You know what else would help? Get these two together not at a political event, but on Jon Stewart's show, or maybe Letterman's or Leno's -- break the tension, dissipate some of the bad feeling with a few jokes. I can imagine Stewart: "Oh, you two kids are crazy for each other -- I can see it in your eyes. You shouldn't be fighting like this! Come on, big kiss." That's the election right there. That's the Arsenio Hall sax moment.

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