Wednesday, August 27, 2008


OK, I'm confused. I saw Hillary Clinton's speech last night and thought she hit a 565-foot home run -- surely not enough to persuade every diehard, but a resounding, McCain-rebuking, PUMA-rebuking show of support for Barack Obama. And now, of course, I'm being told by the usual Democrat-bashers in the media that the speech was a failure -- but they can't agree on why.

The New York Post says it failed because it was too tepid and off-message:

Maureen Dowd says it failed because it was too intense and too on-message:

She added insult to injury by coming out Tuesday night looking great in a blazing orange pantsuit and teaching the precocious pup Obama something about intensity and message....

She offered the electrifying fight that the limpid Obama has not -- setting off paranoia among some Democrats that they had chosen the wrong nominee or that Obama had chosen the wrong running mate....

While Patrick Healy, a few pages back in the Times, tells us the speech was sometimes not particularly intense (probably deliberately!):

Some parts of the speech devoted to Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, in turn, had a bit of a workmanlike quality....

And then, from The Washington Post, we find out that the on-message, off-message, electrifying, sometimes perfunctory speech failed at creating unity, which we know because some Hillary diehards among the delegates were, er, definitely converted...

...John Burkett, a Pennsylvania delegate and staunch Clinton supporter, attached an Obama button to his shirt. A New Mexico delegate said the "H" on his shirt will be replaced with an "O" come Thursday.

"She hit it right out of the ballpark," said Terie Norelli, New Hampshire's House speaker. "I've never been prouder of a Democrat than I was tonight." Norelli said the speech made her want to work hard for Obama. "She said it better than I ever could have: Everything I worked for and that she worked for would be at risk if we do anything less." ...

...and one (1) vows not vote for Obama in November:

..."I'm not going to vote for Obama. I'm not going to vote for McCain, either," said Blanche Darley, 65, a Texas delegate for Clinton. Darley wore a button saying "Obamination Scares the Hell Out of Me."

"We love her, but it's our vote if we don't trust him or don't like him," said Darley, who was a superdelegate for Bill Clinton in the 1990s....

Darley is such a good Democrat, by the way, that, back in May, she was e-mailing false anti-Obama propaganda taken from a GOP congressional candidate's Web site. She also lied to Texas Democrats when, back in June, she (half-heartedly) pledged to support Obama as the nominee. This speech was not for her -- she's unpersuadable. It was for people like John Burkett and Teri Norelli, and it sounds as if it worked.


One lesson from this: The press is not Obama's friend. Any good press he got months and months ago is a distant memory; the press isn't hankering to treat him well again, as it was hankering for the opportunity to treat John McCain well again during the period when McCain seemed like a joke. Obama's going to have to put McCain on the defensive, probably with a negative attack that catches on, before the press will decide he's manly enough to treat as any different from every other Democratic presidential candidate this century. And even then, party disunity and Democratic haplessness are such easy stories for the media that they'll be written no matter what's really going on, unless Democratic strength becomes simply undeniable. Think back to all to those "the public loves Bush" stories that were written as he fell through the 40s in the polls; reverse that and you've got Obama's media treatment from now on, unless he gets out to a double-digit lead.


In comments, Bulworth says:

MoDowd can't say anything about Hillary without mentioning what color her pantsuit, or dress, or whatever, was.

Yeah, but now that Obama is The Enemy, Dowd likes what Hillary's wearing. If Hillary were accepting the nomination in exactly the same outfit, you just know that Dowd would've spent half her column trashing it.

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